A rockstar team beats a team of rockstars

We tell sales people 'Don't lose alone'. It's time to add 'Don't learn alone'.

Anna Britnor Guest

Why rockstar sales teams not solo sales rockstars?

  • The pace of change is faster than ever. Companies, teams and individuals need to adapt, flex and pivot more than ever. Moving 'as one' to achieve this is usually much more effective than moving individually.
  • We live in uncertain and ambiguous times. When we're dealing with a lot of complexity and constantly moving goalposts, we are constantly learning, evaluating and assessing. Sharing our knowledge, experience and problem solving together means everyone moves forward faster.
  • Companies looking to scale or deliver on hypergrowth targets need consistency and structure. If everyone is going about things their own way, there's no common language or consistency in approach or reporting. Creating a common framework and language for the team ensures there's common ground to discuss and learn. Everyone grows and performs as a result.
  • A team that learns together, supports each other and shares accountability, takes some of the day-to-day pressure off the sales leader so they can focus on the big picture and the longer term.

The challenge today

We have long set up sales teams as anything but a team:

  • We hire 'self-motivated self-starters', give them an individual sales target and create leader boards to pit salespeople in competition with each other.
  • Salespeople are often working remotely in their territory with few interactions with their sales peers, especially the spontaneous 'watercooler' moments. Sales meetings are usually focused on company updates and forecast presentations rather than sharing and learning.
  • Nobody likes to be seen to be weak or underperforming so individuals can be closed to sharing and tackling problems as a group.
  • There's little or no sense of shared accountability for the team's overall performance.

As a result, there's little incentive for salespeople to help each other, to share learning or to collaborate on deals. In fact, in hyper-competitive sales environments there may be dis-incentives.

Take action to create your rockstar team

What you can do now:

1. Change your team meeting formats

Instead of everyone presenting their forecasts etc, do these in 1:1s. Focus team meetings on collaborating to problem and solve and learn together. Pick a topic for the team to discuss, have someone else in the team lead the discussion. Topics might include a specific opportunity, competitor tactics, proposition messaging, objection handling, why things get stuck or specific 'how to' sessions.

2. Get laser focused on team-based win-loss analysis

Create a template if you don't have one (or ask us for ours). Set an expectation for a win/loss analysis for every deal that meets specific criteria. Build in ways for the team to work together and share learnings so it doesn't all fall onto the sales manager to drive.

3. Create a sense of shared accountability

Set up buddying or peer mentoring within the team. Create a sense of shared responsibility to ensure everyone is at least close to target in order for the team to be successful. Demonstrate, constantly, the importance of the overall team target to the business goals so everyone has clarity of the vision and combined objectives. Tools like PRISM and Squadify can help teams to understand and work better together.

Scroll down to request our checklist to build your team now.

What you can plan for:

These are the things that will take a little longer, require some funding or may require wider stakeholder signoff. But all are achievable within a medium term timeframe.

1. Reward team accountability

Adapt targets, commission plans and bonuses. Include an element of team target and accountability. Focus on rewarding the team behaviours and outcomes that will deliver sustainable growth. Take that sense of team responsbility to the next level.

2. Implement a common framework and language

To truly collaborate, you need a shared language and methodology. Consistency that doesn't cramp individual style, as we like to put it. Implement a shared framework that tracks the customer's buying journey. Be clear on how you define each step in the pipeline (again from a customer perspective not a sales activity perspective). Use common frameworks for stakeholder mapping, for qualifying, for articulating your value and competitive strategy development. That way, the team has a short-hand to help them to analyse, learn, act and feedback together. If you need help, ask us about our sales framework, training and coaching.

3. Double-down on the things that make a difference

You'll learn what works best for your team and where to target your energies and efforts to optimise these. Find the blocks to sharing, learning and acting together and drill down into the causes. And then extend your approach to the teams you work with through the customer lifecycle.

Your next step?

Ready to build your rockstar team? Download the checklist for specific examples of how you can enhance team working in your team today.

Listen to the We Not Me podcast: Three things sales teams needs to do to be more effective.

If you'd like to talk through your team's goals and get some personalised recommendations, book a free 5-20-5 conversation where we'll get up to speed with your situation, spend time exploring and proposing some options and then define some immediate steps.

We Not Me podcast: Three things sales teams need to do to be more effective

Pia Lee and Dan Hammond of Squadify interviewed Anna Britnor Guest for their We Not Me podcast, exploring how to really create a sales team that boosts results.

Download our guide to creating your rockstar team

Create your rockstar sales team
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