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Competition and Teamwork: How to Keep Your Sales Team Competitive and Collaborative

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Team effortThe traditional sales model is often based on competition. Individual salespeople work territories or compete to see who can make the most sales and, in turn, earn the largest bonus. However, the traditional model is not always the best model. This is especially true when you have a small sales force or when you work in a specialized field, such as software sales.

Instead of a competitive approach, sometimes a collaborative approach allows you to develop a better sales force.

Compete as a Team

At many restaurants, the servers choose to pool their gratuities. The argument is that while one server may earn a particularly large tip from a customer, everyone contributes to the success or failure of the restaurant every day.

The same idea holds for sales. Instead of creating individual sales goals, create collective goals for the whole team and connect commissions or bonuses to those goals. When everyone’s success is connected, team members have more reason to work together and encourage each other to succeed.

Leverage Collective Strengths

Some sales team members are gifted communicators with a knack for building relationships with customers, while others are technical geniuses who can walk clients through the minutiae of a product’s features and benefits. Whether they are tech savvy or people friendly, every member of your sales team has their own strengths based on his or her education, background, and personality.

During the sales process, leverage these strengths. For example, the communicator has built a relationship with a client, but he needs help explaining a specific feature to a client. Instead of the communicator running the risk of sounding uninformed, the technical genius can step in to explain. When a sales team works collaboratively, this happens without resentment. When a team’s interests are aligned, so is their willingness to learn from each other and help each other close sales. This approach allows you to create a well-rounded, more effective sales force.

Learn as a Team

A sales team that doesn’t learn is a sales team that becomes complacent. Every day that your sales team works together provides more opportunities for the team members to learn from each other and improve their skill sets. Schedule regular focused meetings so your sales team can share what they’ve learned from their successes and the problems they’ve encountered. This also provides an opportunity for a manager to gauge the strengths of her sales team and see where there is room for further improvement.

A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way

In a strictly competitive environment, a sales team manager is often called upon to motivate the team through praise, critique, or individual incentives. This can be time consuming and emotionally draining for the manager and his team. Instead, build an environment in which team members support, inform, and encourage each other. You’ll find that you can save time and energy and build a more stable, productive sales team.

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Anita Anand
Anita Anand was born, raised, and educated in India as an electrical engineer. She earned a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. She worked as a programmer at CMD Technologies and Printronics, where she rose to the role of Senior Software Engineer. She is currently VP of Sales for MecSoft Corporation, a leading CAD/CAM software solution provider that is now used in over fifty countries.

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