Every summer athletes hit the field and practice agility drills. They tiptoe through ladders, zig zag through cones and jump over various hurdles. But why?
The purpose of these drills to is to improve their performance on the field. Mostly, they gain muscle memory that allows them to respond quickly to the changing environment during the game. Soccer players learn how to turn away from opponents trying to steal the ball. Football players learn to juke the defense. Baseball and softball players learn how to quickly change their direction if they plan to steal a base but instead return to the bag.
Agility is essential to sports, but will the same strategies help your sales team improve their performance? We think so.
But don’t worry, we’re not implying you take your sales team to a local summer camp to run up and down the football stadium stairs.
What Does it Mean to be Sales Agile?
Agility refers to movement. In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adjust to new competitors or disruptive innovation is essential for success. So, the same agility needed to perform well in athletics is now needed to have an effective sales team.
Agility in sales comes down to three characteristics: speed, flexibility and awareness.
1. Sprint Toward Smaller Goals
Does your sales department have a “pie in the sky” goal? Great, but you should consider dividing the objective into bite-size achievements. Sometimes massive goals seem to be more overwhelming than motivating, which is why smaller, faster checkpoints are a more effective strategy.
Stop thinking about the marathon your team must run to reach this year’s objectives, and instead focus on incremental progress.
How do you do this?
- Conduct daily stand up meetings to improve accountability.
- Divide annual goals into monthly, weekly and daily checkpoints.
- Leverage the right technology.
Hold quick morning meetings average between 5-15 minutes (not any longer) to discuss the previous day and any adjustments that need to be made to the present day based on feedback.
A lot of teams do this type of meeting while standing up because it holds everyone accountable to the limited time frame. It is just short and simple meetings for everyone to drink their coffee and eat a snack and get ready for the day.
By stating “sprinting toward your goals” doesn’t mean we’re arguing you finish your big goals faster. Instead, we believe it helps to know what daily action or weekly achievement will help you get to the big goal.
Do you want your team to have laser focus on the next big objective? Then start counting the successes today, and not just at the end of the quarter or year.
Think about writing a book for a moment.
Every book has chapters and pages that are written one at a time. So, if your goal was to write a book, then sprint goals might be 7,000 words per month or even smaller 350 words per day. A lot of people say they want to write a book, but then they don’t because it feels like too much, and it is, unless, you look at the goal in smaller chunks.
Another way to improve speed is using the right technology. If you aren’t already using a CRM, then consider trying Hubspot. Their CRM is free for small businesses, so there really isn’t an excuse to at least explore how it could help reduce the amount of time your sales team spends searching for leads and documenting data.
2. Adjust Your Tactics Real Time
Agility means being flexible to a rapidly changing environment. Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t always go the way we want them to, but do you know how to respond to unexpected events?
It’s no longer enough to adjust your approach to sales on annual or even quarterly basis. The most successful team can change directions and make micro-adjustments on a daily or even hourly basis.
Flexibility means giving your team the tools and training to quickly make important decisions on how to approach a problem or customer. This new authority will increase your chances of a sale because our team is equipped to make the right moves faster than your competitors.
Essentially, your giving your team accurate data through a CRM and teaching them how to respond accordingly.
Awareness begins with preparation. Sketch out worst case scenarios with your team, and talk about responses to those environments. Explore ideal environments too and how you plan to maximize everyone’s effort.
Talk about the potential for legislation to affect your industry, and how your company would pivot. Discuss how you’d address a new competitor in the market or a product that challenges the usefulness of your brand.
Ultimately how will you bend and move with an economy that can change overnight?
3. Create Situational Awareness
Knowing where the team is and what they are doing gives not just you but everyone on the team a reference point. If someone is falling behind, resources can be pulled to bring them up to speed. If someone found a shortcut to speed things up, that method can be shared and refined by the team.
Again, a CRM is crucial for a sales team to improve agility.
Accountability is a key component of awareness. Both through a CRM and daily stand up meetings you’ll give your team accountability and support to stay focused on the sprint.
Awareness also depends heavily on accurate data and measurement tactics.
- How will you determine success?
- How will you measure success?
- Where will you store your data, and how will you ensure consistency?
A good way to employ situational awareness is on social media platforms. You’ll know pretty quickly what’s performing and what isn’t doing so hot. Give your team member in change of the platforms the authority to make decisions on how to approach the post based on previous post performance.
Another way situational awareness will help your company increase the chances of a sale is by finding team members who are under performing and who need more coaching. You can find team members who are dominating their tasks and have them teach the team their strategies.
If you have any questions about agile sales strategies set up a free 30-minute consultation with our team by calling us at (405) 928-3395.
Creating a rockstar team doesn’t happen overnight. It requires everyone to put in the work. If your looking for more resources, then download our free guide on How to train your team to minimize speed bumps.