Sales teams are built to win – unless they aren’t.

So what sets apart the achievers from the also-rans? Here we explore 5 key traits that we believe make success almost inevitable, particularly in the rapidly evolving, data-rich but insight-sparse work environment of today.

  1. CX-centric selling.
    A team that focuses on the customer experience (CX) end-to-end will always have greater success. But what does this mean practically? It means your team, when interacting with the customer, does a lot more listening and a lot less talking, they speak to the identified paint points of the customer, they seek to understand the customers’ business (if only at a broad level), they care about how the business at large communicates and interacts with the customers – from marketing email campaigns to interacting with accounts receivable and beyond. Simply put, they view the business through the customers’ eyes.
  2. Collaboration across teams.
    Sales teams that are serious about success are serious about cross-team collaboration. This means that they’re interested to understand marketing’s overall role and how campaign activity can accelerate their sales cycle, they work with the product team to identify paint points and new opportunities, they align with accounts receivable understand the billing process, and they work with operations to ensure the tools they’re using are being properly optimized and utilized – just to name a few. And moreover, they’re diligent to share customer feedback with the organization as a mechanism for process improvement.
  3. Tools that are a benefit, not a burden
    We know everyone has an opinion on the tools a business uses to manage its customer / stakeholder relationships – especially your CRM system. That said, sales teams that seek to win understand that these tools are meant to facilitate winning and, overall, make the business more effective. A sales team that embraces supporting tools and puts them to proper use will find that their job is easier – and so is the job of the business at large. Moreover, they understand these tools well enough to provide constructive input to vendors or your operations team, eg – “I need a way to automate activity input into my CRM” or “I need sales engineers to also leverage our CRM.”
  4. Measuring what matters.
    Not all measures are created equal. Today, effective sales teams view their sales process end-to-end, asking themselves what activities routinely drove revenue. “How effective were emails I or the company sent?” “How effective were the phone calls?” “How can I make them more effective?” Fundamentally, sales teams are moving beyond siloed metrics to leverage data gathered at each stage of the customer journey. They understand it’s about insights and intelligence, not just quotas.
  5. Accountability every which way.
    What does this mean? It means teams have an agreed-upon commitment – or even a team norm – around taking and holding responsibility. My boss holds me accountable (of course), but I also hold my peers accountable (because we all agreed to log our emails in a central system, for instance), and I hold my internal stakeholders accountable (because marketing told me they were going to activate an ABM campaign targeted at one of my key targets), and most importantly – I hold myself accountable. And my own personal accountability is the bedrock upon which other mutual accountabilities are based.