Sports analogies work well in business since teamwork is essential for success in both. Effective teamwork can make the difference between life and death for a company. In sports, as a rugby fan, I know that while death on the pitch is unlikely, a broken bone or two isn’t out of the question.
Selling is pivotal to overall success, and technology is migrating the responsibility of sales from just one team to the entire organization. Today, companies of all sizes in all industries have the potential to boost sales power without making additional hires. All it takes is encouraging each and every team member, regardless of title or department, to adopt a “sales mindset.”
Bending the company culture toward sales is easier than it sounds and more uplifting and fun than most nonsales people might expect. Given that over the last two years so many aspects of business have changed, there’s no better time to redefine this term and invite everyone in your company to take part. Sales is all about solving customers’ problems, meeting customers’ needs and being rewarded with revenue—who wouldn’t want to do their part to help accomplish that?
Here are six tips to help your business adopt the team sport ethos across your company.
1. Each employee can (and should) be a sales ambassador.
In B2B sales, it used to be that the salesperson was the face of the brand to the customer. These days, buyers have an average of 27 interactions over the course of a buying journey, many of them self-guided. The number of interactions and the number of contacts influencing those interactions continues to rise. Each and every employee engagement affects how the company brand is expressed, shared, displayed and personified. Every employee must consider their role in the sales process.
2. Remote work enables an influencer mindset.
Up until two years ago, company headquarters gave businesses a physical footprint and natural lead source from word-of-mouth. This is no longer the case with fully remote and hybrid teams. The gain is that each and every digital touchpoint—email, text, Zoom, social media—opens a potential connection between your company and customers. As employees begin to increase their local mobility, help them become geo-distributed ambassadors, possibly with localized messaging, local communities and events or simply encouraging them to don logo-branded swag.
3. Executive teams must set the tone.
Your company’s executive team is invaluable in demonstrating a culture where sales means more than asking for an order. Executive teams that effectively and organically deliver the company’s story and messaging will set the example, not only to audiences outside the business but to your employees as well.
When product developers see the general manager of engineering sharing feature updates on social media or CPAs observe a vice president of finance telling the company story at a conference, the message is two-fold: It’s everyone’s responsibility to tell the story and to tell it well. Only when every executive knows the elevator pitch can you expect it from all employees.
4. Human resources is second in line to the sales team.
The human resources (HR) team has more outside contact than any other functional role in the company, with the exception of sales. HR’s most obvious impact on sales is its role in recruiting for open sales positions, but it’s more nuanced than that. Candidates whom the company doesn’t hire may become customers down the line. No one has a better opportunity to make a great company impression on a stranger than an HR professional interviewing a candidate for a job.
5. Superior customer service = word-of-mouth = more sales.
Customer experience is everything. It’s no surprise that renewal and expansion of an existing customer base is the most efficient way to grow a business. The best contact to sell to is one who is happily buying from the company and will spread the word as a satisfied customer. So, while existing customers are not part of your company, they are still a crucial part of the sales “team.”
6. Marketing and sales alignment makes or breaks the organization.
Some of the best marketers have been in sales roles early in their careers and vice versa. Companies where sales and marketing are aligned experience 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability. With the growing popularity of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), many B2B marketers are either piloting or launching full-scale ABM programs to target and engage buyers. Within the ABM framework, sales and marketing professionals work in steps to identify target accounts, monitor accounts for in-market signals, provide relevant content recommendations and conduct timely outreach. Ensuring that real-time metrics are shared, preferably on the same platform, is necessary. With ABM, now more than ever, marketers are in a sales mindset.
By committing to a sales mindset and the notion that it is the responsibility of every employee to wear their sales hat, businesses will be better positioned for growth and profitability. The bottom line is that every interaction should be treated as if it is a sales call—regardless of whether or not your job description includes the word “sales.”
I’ll close with this quote from one of the best, Zig Ziglar:
“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.”