There are sales teams, and then there are world-class sales teams. What sets the highest achievers apart from the average Joe? We looked at research around the web and, of the many factors that help a sales team run like a well-oiled machine, we were most interested in one particular finding: high-performing sales, sales operations, and sales enablement teams are better at collaborating. To create a world-class sales team, your organization must capitalize on collaboration within your team (from individual to individual), as well as between teams (from sales to marketing, IT, support, etc.). We're sharing stats we found online that show why your team needs to focus on collaboration if you want to keep things moving "up and to the right." World-Class Sales Organizations Collaborate Within Their Team A yearly study conducted by the Miller Heiman Research Institute reports the best practices of identified high-performing sales organizations versus average sales organizations. We compared results from their 2015 study to the results from their 2013 study to see how the trends in sales collaboration are changing. Sales organizations were asked to rate the performance of their teams based upon the following statements: On collaboration between management and team members: "Our management team is highly effective in helping our sales team advance sales opportunities." World-class teams are continuing to focus on collaboration between managers and team members, as other teams pick up on the trend. On collaboration between top performers and their colleagues: “We know why our top performers are successful.” Building a world-class team comes down to not only HAVING top performers, but also knowing WHY they are top performers so you can educate the entire organization on successful practices. "We leverage the best practices of our top performers to improve everyone else." (only reported in 2013) High-performing teams take time out of the week to teach the winning behaviors of top performers to the rest of the company, so everyone can perform better. World-Class Sales Organizations Collaborate with Other Departments Stats on cross-department collaboration including the sales organization from the same studies done by the Miller Heiman Research Institute: On collaboration between sales and other departments via shared tools: "Our CRM system is highly effective for enabling our organization to collaborate across departments." (only reported in 2015) With the rising popularity of CRM tools, world-class sales organizations focus on adopting a tool that enables collaboration between teams, instead of siloing their information within one team. On collaboration between sales and marketing: "Sales and Marketing are aligned in what our customers want and need." World-class and typical sales teams are both focusing on aligning with their marketing team to deliver better results. And it's not only the Miller Heiman Research Institute reporting findings that cross-department collaboration helps sales teams perform better. Together, Salesforce and The TAS Group reported numbers on the benefits of aligning your sales and marketing teams: Where sales and marketing are aligned on their initiatives and goals: — Sales win rates increase 15% — Company revenue can increase as much as 25% — Salespeople are 57% more likely to be high-performers And if your sales and marketing teams work together to take your leads from day 1 to the end of a sale: — Email marketing has 2X higher ROI than other channels (Direct Marketing Association, via Smart Data Collective) — Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group) Is Your Sales Organization Collaborative? The trends are clear: collaborative sales teams perform better. So how would you classify your sales organization? Are you highly-collaborative, or do you still have room to improve? Share your team and cross-department collaboration wins in the comments, and help other sales, sales operations, and sales enablement teams learn more about what really works. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! If you're ready to improve team and cross-departmental collaboration for better business results, see how Wrike can help with a free Wrike trial.
Imagine a high-value, non-standard deal shaking its way through your sales pipeline. Many stakeholders are involved — sales, operations, legal, and finance. You’re chasing stakeholders for approvals and sign-offs, and you run into lengthy negotiations. Suddenly the deal slows, making the client unsatisfied, or worse, the deal doesn’t end up closing at all. How do you set up your team to prevent hiccups and close deals efficiently and effectively? The answer is a deal desk. What is a deal desk? A deal desk is a centralized, cross-functional team that plays a part in facilitating high-value deals (specifically complex ones) through the pipeline. Think of it as your one-stop shop for closing deals effectively in a reasonable timeframe. What is the purpose of a deal desk? A deal desk’s primary purpose is to ensure that complex high-value deals cruise their way through the approval process and get signed. By centralizing representation from each of the stakeholders, bottlenecks in the sales cycle are reduced or eliminated. The process is not only more efficient internally but also externally from a client perspective. Research shows that successfully implemented deal desks reduce sales cycle times by up to 40% and enhance sales productivity by up to 20%. These productivity boosts are a win-win for the sales team, internal stakeholders, and clients. Alongside efficiencies, deal desks are beneficial because they provide insight, visibility, and consistency across an organization. Financial insights can be collected and provided by the deal desk team and shared among departments for revenue forecasting. In addition, deal desk metrics, such as profitability, average deal size, and win rates, can be measured and reviewed. Standardized approval processes, a professional services contract template, and pricing templates create consistency throughout the organization when managed by one centralized location such as the deal desk. What does a deal desk analyst do? So, who runs the deal desk? Teams are generally made up of deal desk managers and deal desk analysts, though titles may vary. A deal desk analyst is a crucial member, acting as a trusted advisor to the sales team, working as the primary point of contact amongst various departments, and constructing how non-standard deals should work. These roles are non-client facing but serve internal departments. The deal desk analyst works closely with all departments on their respective responsibilities throughout the sales process to contribute to team alignment. This includes ensuring deals are correctly constructed, offering guidance on pricing to maximize revenue, and addressing complexities around the non-standard contract terms while ensuring the whole process is carried out promptly. Process improvement, active collaboration with key stakeholders, operational support, and strategic deal execution are at the heart of this role. Deal desk team structure Here is an example of some of the roles that could be involved in the deal desk: How to set up a winning deal desk Much like anything within your organization, your deal desk’s success as an effective asset depends on how it’s structured and set up. Consider these best practices to set up a winning deal desk — and avoid some of the common reasons why deal desks fail: Clearly define the responsibilities of all members of the deal desk, as well as associated stakeholders. No two deal desks are the same, and the setup and structure may vary across organizations. It’s essential to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all deal desk members, in addition to the expectations of each stakeholder that is going to work with the deal desk team. Keep your customer front of mind throughout the sales process. The deal desk should not only benefit internal teams working with one another, but it should also create a positive experience for all prospective clients. Understanding your buyer’s journey is a critical component of your strategy and processes. Empower your deal desk by ensuring they have the authority and tools needed to get the work done. After you’ve established the responsibilities of the deal desk, make sure the team has the necessary authority to carry out their roles effectively. For example, if you agree that your deal desk can have the final sign-off on a non-standard pricing agreement, let them exercise their authority here. Your deal desk team will also need tools to help them stay organized and work efficiently, so consider using a strong deal desk software, or research what is sales automation software, and which option is best for your team. How to use Wrike as your deal desk software Speaking of tools, Wrike can help your deal desk get more high-value deals across the finish line. Beyond functioning as a CRM, Wrike supports your team in achieving increased visibility and peak efficiency with everything from templates to streamlined workflows. Here’s a quick look at how you can use Wrike as your deal desk software: Create a new project for the specific deal your team is working on, and choose a default view (list, board, table, or Gantt chart) Queue up tasks that need to be accomplished as part of that deal and negotiation Assign team members and deadlines to each task Monitor your progress as you hustle to close that deal As you use Wrike more and more, you can avoid reinventing the wheel by re-using existing workflows and templated documents. Getting clients and customers to sign on the dotted line of a major deal can be stressful, but the good news is that Wrike can take a little bit of the pressure off. Start your free trial today.
Over one trillion dollars are spent annually on sales organizations. That's a 13-figure number, and no small matter for our economy. With so much money going into the field, shouldn't we make sure we're putting in every effort to ensure our sales teams are equipped to do their best work? We asked sales and business leaders for their tips on building a top-notch sales organization. Read on to see what they had to say and learn how you can help lead your sales team to success. 1. Sales boils down to People, Processes, and Systems Sales operations and management are all about putting the right combination of elements together to make your organization successful: people, processes, and systems. The interaction between your sales talent, technology, and management expectations can make or break your goals. As a sales leader, you hire sales people who are goal-oriented, hungry, have great communication skills, and can represent your products and company appropriately. Then you hand them a compensation plan and technology tools to drive and manage their behavior. —Cassie Dennis, Director, SocialRaise 2. Build processes for every possible situation your team will encounter The most important part of building a leading sales organizations is creating systems and processes. You not only have to be able to scale, but you also have to know what is working. You cannot have 10 people selling your product in 10 different ways. You have to build out systems for everything from sales process to handling objections. —Adam Dailey, CEO, funlyevents.com 3. Hold people accountable with KPIs You must have metrics to hold people accountable. You have to establish easily-measured KPIs that the entire team understands and follows. —William Bauer, Managing Director, Royce Leather 4. Continually coach & support your reps Sales management has to be able to oversee what is happening in the sales process to coach and focus the rep's efforts. Creating a system that supports and enables your sales people AND processes can make all the difference. —Cassie Dennis, Director, SocialRaise 5. Address the elephant in the room: fear Fear must be addressed. It is the single most-discussed issue relating to sales reps. The fear of rejection, failure, cold calling, contacting the Upper Crust buyers and sellers, and much more. It keeps salespeople from picking up the phone and going out to connect with buyers and sellers. —Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 6. Teach your salespeople how to develop relationships with customers In the new economy, selling requires individuals that understand they are in the marketing business, can control the discussion, and build a relationship. Customers are smarter today and have more access to information. Today’s sales individual has to be able to develop a relationship, since 88% of consumers will only work with people they know and trust. —Drew Stevens, Ph.D. 7. Show reps how to sell to customers from varied backgrounds and situations Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are naturally motivated to buy (and in the case of the sales team, sell) in very different ways. The one-size-fits-all sales and training methodologies, and the singular revenue-based sales management style, are outdated. The sales person needs to be led and taught to connect and sell to everyone, in any generation. —Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 8. Train reps to suit their learning style, not yours You need education that is focused on the learning style of the sales person. If the person is visuals-focused with a hard-charging, aggressive sales attitude, a touchy-feely approach will not work (and vice versa). In fact, it might demotivate them. Too many programs do not modify the process to meet the exact needs of the individual. Most are too focused on soft skills and the "I'm OK, you're OK" approach. Customization to the personal modalities of the individuals' brain is critical to the success of the program. —Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 9. Recognize the success of individual sales personnel using a great CRM tool Successful salespeople want to be compensated for closing sales, but they also want to be recognized. It's not just about how much they're paid, but about the thrill of victory and recognition. To make the most of this drive, you'll want to have a top-notch system where performance can be tracked. The challenge here becomes how to attribute team accomplishments as well as individual accomplishments. You want to enable people to take ownership of their achievements without being too territorial. It's important to set up a dual set of metrics to encourage pride in the team alongside pride in individual accomplishments. Good CRM software is crucial to managing this kind of information. It enables a company to clearly track involvement in different stages of the sales process, and enables you to reward employees accordingly. —Marc Prosser, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Fit Small Business 10. Automate repetitive tasks Don't do your own busywork. Use a third party tool to automate or hand off your repetitive tasks, such as building a list of leads, gathering contact information, researching potential clients, cleaning up CRM data, running drip campaigns, etc. —Joe Leon, Co-Founder, Steward More tips on building a sales team primed for success If you're serious about improving your sales team, the learning doesn't stop here. Read these posts next to see how you can turn your sales team around: 15 Stats You Should Know to Improve Your Sales Team How the Best Sales Teams Collaborate to Get Better Results 5 Challenges Sales Operations Teams Face Today Better teams use better tools Thousands of sales organizations rely on Salesforce to manage their client relationships — but how do they manage relationships with other departments? The Wrike + Salesforce integration allows your sales reps to communicate with other internal teams without leaving Salesforce. See how sales teams are already using Wrike + Salesforce, and then start your free 2-week trial of Wrike.
As a driving force in our economy, a lot of research has been done on the world of sales. What do sales orgs need to do to drive profit? What leads to a successful sale? When is the best time to call someone, and how many times do you have to call? If you're trying to improve the performance of your sales organization, check out these stats on what works (and what doesn't) when you're trying to close a deal. If you want to learn more, check out this post: 26 Sales Process Statistics & Best Practices. 15 Statistics to Help Improve Your Sales Performance What have you done to improve your sales team? You can't only rely on stats and figures if you want to improve your sales org. You also need experience, and a knowledge of how other departments can help your sales department, including how to interpret what are leads in marketing. Share how you've improved your sales team in the comments below, and we can all learn from one another.
Erik Kostelnik is the Senior Director of Global Sales at Wrike. He has 10 years of experience in sales leadership and SaaS software. We spoke with him about his job here, and how our sales organization leverages Wrike to increase visibility and save time. What’s your role here at Wrike, and what does your day-to-day life look like? I’m in charge of the sales side our revenue operations. If you call Wrike and speak with a sales rep, that person falls under my umbrella. That includes our SMB team, our Mid-Market team, and the Enterprise team. My day-to-day can vary quite a bit. I usually spend mornings talking to our international team based out of Ireland, and during the U.S. hours I spend a lot of time trying to bring talented people to Wrike. There’s also a lot of projecting, and developing training programs to make sure our new hires know the product and can provide the positive service experience our customers expect. What’s the biggest challenge of managing that organization? For a little perspective, I came to Wrike a little less than 2 years ago, and at the time we had 4 sales reps — all very talented — but basically in the same position. So adding structure, defining roles, growing the organization, and developing those reps was a big task. Now we’ve got 75 quota-holding reps in 3 offices worldwide, and I think my biggest challenge is making sure our new hires are getting the one-on-one time they need to be successful. How does using Wrike help make that process easier? The value of using Wrike for onboarding new hires can’t be stated enough. We have folders in Wrike that serve as templates for each position. “Account Executive Onboarding” for example. So if we hire a new Account Executive, I can duplicate that template, and assign it to the new hire. Then I get updates as they complete those tasks or ask questions. At the end of the week, I can run a report to see what they’ve done and what they haven’t, so we can follow up if needed. Basically, the big picture here is that we ramp new hires and have them closing deals within 30 days. The standard for sales teams at other companies is 90 days. Using Wrike for training and onboarding doesn’t just save time, it actually boosts production from reps. How do you leverage Wrike’s Salesforce registration? The Salesforce Integration is a big part of our workflow, and makes it possible for our sales team and consulting group to work together. It gives reps visibility into each consultant’s workload, and allows them to delegate services to the person who has the best availability. If we didn’t have this in our toolset, we’d probably need another operations manager. The fact that it relays updates back to the reps in real time, without the need for them to leave Salesforce, helps them stay focused on selling. It makes everything really easy. How does your use of these tools benefit our customers? Anytime we can eliminate delays from our process, we’re able to serve our customers faster. Whether it’s scheduling a training or consultation call, or helping us follow up with a support ticket, the speed on our side makes us a more effective service and sales organization. How would you recommend other sales leaders use Wrike? In addition to onboarding reps, I recommend moving your legal and contract process into Wrike. Wrike’s revision tools for documents can show you who made what change and when. So if we’re redlining paperwork with counsel or reps, it’s easy to make sure you’re all looking at the most recent version. I also recommend creating a feedback channel between your sales and product marketing teams. Your sales reps spend more time talking to customers and prospects than anyone, and giving them a place to pass and discuss that feedback is a good way to ensure your product development is in line with the market. How is Wrike different from other companies you’ve worked at? I think the visibility we have here makes this company very different. If you want an answer, you can search Wrike and find it. We don’t waste a lot of time waiting for permission to execute. Everything you need is right in Wrike. Also on the sales side, our culture is amazing. Those 4 reps I mentioned earlier are all still with the team and in leadership roles, and having that kind of backbone keeps us all grounded. It also doesn’t hurt that we have an amazing product, because the value we offer to our customers is very real. What’s in the future for the sales organization at Wrike? Good times! More hiring, more opportunities for our reps to grow professionally, and more chances to make a big difference in the lives of our users. The future is very bright! If someone would like to join our sales team, where can they learn more? Our Careers page has a lot of listings for people at all experience levels, including recent grads. We’re hiring in Dublin (Ireland), Mountain View, and San Diego, and would love to hear from you. Check out opportunities to join our sales team on Glassdoor!
If the marketing field has a golden rule, it’s this: know your customers. And not just in a vague, “females, 18-29 years old” way. You need to know what kind of job your customers have, what their goals are, the daily challenges they’re facing, what they find funny and frustrating — all the details necessary to connect to them on a human level. Only then can you offer an effective solution that will attract their attention and convert them into happy customers. Getting to that level of detail and familiarity can be trickier than it sounds, however. Painstaking market research is time-consuming and difficult to maintain on an ongoing basis, especially with so many emerging channels and trends influencing buyers in new ways. Here are our tips for building an accurate and effective customer profile that’s unique to your best prospects — and keeping it accurate as your market and customer base continue to evolve and you continue to embrace conversion rate marketing. As it turns out, the best resources are right at your fingertips — members of your own team! 1. Talk to sales. Find out the central problem most buyers are looking to solve using your solution, the one question they ask time and time again, and the most common misconception about your product. For instance, if you find that many customers are unaware that your software has a certain feature, maybe add a brief video showcasing that feature to your website's home page, or write a blog post highlighting its functionality and use cases. 2. Consult with customer support. They can offer a treasure trove of insight into your customers’ perspectives and ongoing problems. What common issues are your customers struggling with? How can you make it easier for them to adopt your solution? What resources can you provide to improve their experience with your product and recommend it to others? 3. Keep an eye on online communities. Browse LinkedIn groups, Quora, Reddit, and popular review sites to see what conversations your product is inspiring. How are people discovering your product? Are they using it in conjunction with another tool that you could partner with, or in unexpected or innovative ways you could highlight on your blog? Use these conversations to inform a deeper understanding of who your customers are and shine a spotlight on members of your community. 4. Monitor your analytics. Which pages of your website have the most views? Which blog posts have the highest number of comments or social shares? What kinds of search queries or keywords most often lead people to your site? The more specifics you know about what your customers are looking for and the kind of content that catches their eye, the easier it is to optimize your campaigns. 5. Go straight to the source. Spend an hour or two each week picking up the phone and talking to a few current customers, or sending a handful of personalized emails. Establish and maintain genuine relationships with people who actually use your product, listen carefully to their experiences and insights, and then keep them top of mind when developing your marketing materials. Applying the Power of Marketing Ops to Your Business Once you’ve nailed the buyer persona and attracted a potential customer’s attention, how do you create a marketing strategy that will convert them into paying customers and continue to grow your business? Download our free eBook, 5 Steps to Transforming Marketing Operations for Maximum Growth, for tips on delivering an exceptional customer experience, selecting the right tools to support your marketing efforts, and the key metrics you should use to fuel your success.