Own The Outcome
By Alex Johnson
One of the most critical behaviors I encourage in my team is to take ownership of their successes and failures. This starts with you. You’re going to face challenges, in life, as a field seller and as a SaaS Sales leader. By taking full ownership whenever faced with a hurdle, you can control your ability to make a change, as can your team. When you encourage your team to take ownership of their situation, you put them in the driver’s seat of the outcome. Without taking full ownership, they relinquish an element of control, which means they also can’t take accountability. Without accountability, it’s impossible to reflect, learn and grow.
I remember when I was a field seller and felt I had a compromised territory without enough opportunity. I wanted a bigger territory, but I wasn’t able to get what I wanted for a variety of different reasons. Ultimately, I had to make the best of what I had.I realized that, while I didn’t have control over which territory I got, I had the ability to do the best I could with the territory I had. The key lesson was to make the best of the opportunity in front of me whilst avoiding focusing on the areas I had control over.
To empower your team to take ownership, work with them to map out the elements of their personal and professional life that are truly within their control versus the variables that aren’t. You can then build a plan of action and a prioritization matrix that empowers them to stay true to the aspects of their life where they can move the needle.
Play The Quarterback
To drive results, your sellers need to be the quarterback of their business and territory. This means making the right sales plays at the right time. One way to do this is by pursuing executive alignment on a deal. I learned this lesson on the biggest deal I ever did as a field seller with one of the largest food delivery companies in the world. After multiple discovery meetings and demonstrations, I had an opportunity to either press ahead flying solo or to loop in one of our regional executives to add value to the deal. In the end, that’s exactly what I did. It was one of the critical components of advancing the deal and ultimately driving it towards a close.
To empower your team to become effective quarterbacks of their own territories, encourage them to deep dive into deals and their territory to identify opportunities to get you and the wider executive team involved. This entails running an end to end territory audit where you collaboratively map out key stakeholders along with assessing each personas propensity to buy. This approach has almost no downsides, so work with your team to engage internal stakeholders early and often.
Connect & Collaborate
Fostering internal collaboration within your team can make a big difference in their success. By building working relationships internally, your team can more effectively delegate tasks and mobilize internal teams to move deals forward (see above). For example, think of an RFP, where you receive a set of predefined questions from a customer to help them evaluate you as a vendor in a standardized way across a specific set of criteria. Now, you can never solve an RFP alone, not as a sales leader or as a field seller. Encouraging your field sellers to spend time weekly strengthening relationships with internal partners helps them build the muscle memory and rapport to solicit help when they really need it
Collaboration not only helps in specific situations such as RFPs, but also in building personal brand within your organization. By consistently connecting with different internal teams and partners, your team can establish a personal brand and internal network that they can rely on when they have particular deals in play and beyond.
I encourage you to schedule weekly sessions and do something every single week to connect with both a partner and someone new internally. When you meet at least one person or one partner, consistently, week in week out as a part of your operating rhythm, over time, it compounds.
Empowering your sales team to outperform themselves requires you to encourage behaviors that promote ownership, playing the quarterback, and collaborating internally. By taking ownership of their successes and failures, being the centerpiece of their business and territory, and building working relationships internally, your team can set themselves up for sustainable success.
As we move into next week, I plan to evolve our talk track into more data centric topics to enable you to make effective use of your companies’ stored information to drive best in class forecasts whilst empowering data-driven decisions.