The very best ballet companies, theater groups and concert orchestras have one thing in common. They achieve greatness because of the collective brilliance and collaboration between the individual dancers, actors and musicians and their choreographers, directors and conductors. Greatness is rarely achieved alone. It takes the combined experiences, efforts and talents from a variety of disciplines bringing their collective expertise to focus on a common goal, be that the synchronizing of movement for dance, coordination of actors on stage or the syncopation of rhythms in music.
Collaboration is a defining attribute of World-Class Sales Organizations. They distinguish themselves from their competitors with their ability to quickly deploy and focus resources on a customer. They utilize common structures, frameworks, language and terminology when they strategize about the customer. They are able to leverage common messaging and value statements to align capabilities with the customer’s concept when they engage, and they rely on a shared knowledge base to bring insight to the customer’s needs.
The day of the individual, stand-alone lone wolf salesperson has given way to a complex, team-selling environment where the collective capabilities and knowledge of the team are required to carry the day. We’ve all experienced the 10-legged sales call where five disconnected individuals meet for the first time in the customer’s lobby and pretend to be a team when in front of the customer. Meanwhile behind the scenes it’s a chaotic series of emails, voicemails and ineffective meetings while they scramble to get their act together.
Collaboration is the currency of highly-successful sales organizations. As social technologies begin to permeate the enterprise, internal chat, discussion forums and subject matter expert pages are beginning to gain traction. The social sales community is beginning to form, building a shared knowledge network for all to leverage and contribute to. A collaborative culture captures and shares customer experiences, competitive intelligence and market insight with its community. Collaboration is more than being a team player; it requires active participation in a “give to get” social sales community.
The results of the 2013 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study
identified having a collaborative culture as one of the three dominate attributes of World-Class Sales Organizations. The other top attributes are having the customer at the core of everything they do and being calibrated for success. To learn about the behaviors, attributes and performance of World-Class Sales Organizations, I invite you to download the Executive Summary