Sales is a competitive business, which is why business leaders and sales organizations need to ensure they’re leveraging their team’s full potential. Taking a collaborative approach to sales can help teams become more effective and productive—as long as it’s done in the right way.
You can’t simply tell your sales team to be more collaborative and leave them to it. It’s not that easy.
Sales managers and business leaders, from the chief revenue officer all the way down to the sales department supervisors, need to re-evaluate how their teams work together to foster better sales engagement and achieve business results. It means embedding collaboration into the sales culture and implementing the right tools (both sales tools and specialized collaboration tools), training, and tactics to ensure its effectiveness.
When salespeople have the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with other team members, departments, solution partners, and clients, great things happen.
To understand why sales collaboration is crucial in achieving your business goals, we’ll outline some best practices for transforming sales departments with collaboration. Let’s get started.
What is the meaning of collaboration?
In a sales context, collaboration refers to the act of working together to produce something or achieve a common goal.
Whether you’re a sales rep, sales leader, or sales manager, you’ll likely have a lot on your plate. The sales process is task heavy, and includes prospecting, lead nurturing, sales training, tracking sales performance metrics—the list goes on.
As a sales manager, the task of keeping team morale up also falls on you. One way to do this is to ensure your team is connected and has all the resources and collaboration tools needed to collaborate effectively.
When it comes to collaboration among sales organizations, it’s not just about ensuring the sales team itself is collaborating to achieve business goals. It also involves effectively collaborating with customers to find the right solutions to suit the needs of individual clients.
The act of collaborating with buyers falls under its own subset of collaboration: collaborative relationship selling. Let’s consider the question “What is collaborative selling?”
What is collaborative relationship selling?
Collaborative relationship selling refers to a collaborative approach that involves direct communication and collaboration between a buyer and a seller. With this approach, buyers and sellers build a relationship designed to yield benefits and minimize risk for both parties involved. Collaborative selling is the key to optimizing buyer/seller relationships and achieving sales success.
How do you usually collaborate with other buyers? Do you ensure they’re involved every step of the way? Or, do they take the backseat once the sale’s confirmed? If you’re not collaborating with clients throughout their customer journey, it’s likely the relationships you’re building don’t run that deep.
Collaborative selling involves listening to the customer’s needs and offering advice, guidance, and insight. It’s about more than whether or not the sale benefits you. By nurturing investor relations, your sales department can build stronger relationships with clients based on mutual value rather than just business profit.
For salespeople to feel prepared to engage with buyers and meet their expectations, they need a robust support system in place. Sales isn’t a solo venture. For sellers and buyers to come to mutual agreements, it requires exchanges of information, teamwork, and communication.
What are examples of collaboration?
Collaboration in sales could be anything from using project management tools to organize sales projects and tasks to using video conferencing software to hold sales training sessions, sales demos, or guided tours of products or services.
Today, an increasing number of sales teams are operating remotely. As businesses move away from the traditional office environment, the meaning of collaboration and communication has shifted, and digital sales have become the new normal.
Facilitating remote sales collaboration poses its own set of challenges for sales management teams. Business leaders must find viable solutions that let their sales team collaborate in real-time. Collaborative selling examples involve things like:
- Communication: Sales teams need to connect with each other and their clients in real-time to streamline the sales process and deliver a compelling customer experience. It involves using digital communication tools like live chat, phone, and video.
- File sharing: Sales professionals and clients can share files relating to the sales opportunity using cloud file storage and sharing solutions that ensure shared information is accessible and updated regularly.
- Task management: Sales teams have a lot on their plate. Robust task management is an essential remote collaboration tool for holding sales team members accountable, staying on task, and ensuring customer success by meeting deadlines.
What are the advantages of online collaboration for sales teams?
When it comes to sales success, sales teams need to consider how collaboration can impact their efficiency, productivity, and results. Sales collaboration yields numerous advantages that you simply wouldn’t get with a sales approach that favors silos and a segregated sales culture.
By ensuring your sales teams have the right tools to collaborate among themselves, with other departments (like social media and content marketing teams), and customers, you can bring better organization to your workflows and more context to the customer experience. More importantly, you foster a collaborative culture in which everyone is working towards the same business goal.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some (of many!) advantages of online sales collaboration.
In the modern business world, sales and marketing teams are often dispersed across different cities, countries, and even continents. Online collaboration tools make it much simpler to stay organized. By incorporating the right tools to facilitate real-time online communication, teamwork can thrive in the same way it would in an office environment.
You can easily schedule meetings, plan projects, and organize specific tasks anytime, anywhere when your sales collaboration is on point. Moreover, online collaboration allows you to effectively communicate with clients located halfway across the world via video chat, voice, or messaging—opening up new sales opportunities and facilitating better communication with prospects.
In short—online collaboration is convenient. It enables you to reach out to everyone you need to in seconds. That means no more endless email threads, long-distance phone calls, or communication disconnects within your sales teams. Just smooth and unproblematic collaboration that streamlines the sales cycle.
Streamlined workflows and improved productivity
Online collaboration tools are designed to make collaborating online a breeze. When sales teams collaborate online they’re able to streamline workflows. They don’t need to rely on clunky email chains to get the information they need instantly.
Instead, they can send an instant message to a colleague, schedule a video chat follow-up with a client, or get their hands on the information they need themselves with online data storage.
In this way, online collaboration for sales departments streamlines workflows, allowing sales professionals to save time spent on administrative tasks and spend more time sealing deals.
Moreover, it can fuel productivity and speedy decision-making. When your team is empowered with the tools and know-how they need to collaborate effectively online, they’ll complete projects much faster.
Increased advocacy from clients and partners.
Imagine this: You’re a busy B2B decision-maker with a lot of things going on in your day-to-day work life. You’re interested in a product, but you want more information about it. The provider invites you to a collaboration group where you can voice your questions and learn more about the product you’re interested in. How do you feel? Like one seriously happy customer, right?
There’s a lot to be said about how collaborative relationship selling can impact the customer experience. When you invite buyers to collaborate online, it’s showing them that they’re valued.
You can give them answers to their questions immediately. You can invite them into conversations with account executives, business partners, and other members of your sales team to ensure they’re always in the loop. This creates a collaborative culture and fosters a sense of community between buyers and sellers.
The result? Sales relationships are built on transparency, trust, and collaboration. It leads to memorable customer experiences, business advocacy and positive customer stories you can share, and long-term growth.
How to encourage sales team collaboration
Sales collaboration doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an online environment that needs to be coached, nurtured, and empowered with the right tools. Below are some effective sales tips and tricks for sales leaders to encourage online collaboration that leads to sales team success.
Empower your sales team with the best sales collaboration tools.
The majority of sales technology spend goes towards robust business CRM solutions. That’s great; those are integral to the sales process. However, that doesn’t mean collaboration tools should be pushed aside.
Sales collaboration tools are just as important for ensuring your sales teams maximize their productivity, achieve their goals, and boost overall sales performance. You might choose to implement separate tools for communication, project management, and cloud storage—but that’d just be a waste of time.
A collaboration platform like RingCentral Video features built-in automation and other features that streamline teamwork by allowing users to do all the things mentioned above without switching between business apps. RingCentral Video’s your all-in-one sales collaboration solution. It’s ideal for sales teams, enabling teams to:
- Create group chats to bring together marketing and sales teams.
- Video call in HD with colleagues and clients.
- Store an unlimited amount of files in the cloud, and share files instantly within the group chat.
- Annotate files in real-time for better collaboration.
- Efficiently manage tasks with built-in task management, notifications, and reminders.
- Integrate their collaboration software with other essential sales apps like business CRMs (like Salesforce CRM), sales automation software, word processing tools, social media platforms, and more.
We told you it was an all-in-one solution, didn’t we? With RingCentral Video, you can create an online collaborative sales environment to bring your remote sales teams together.
Implement effective training strategies that emphasize a collaborative approach.
Online collaboration in sales is one of those things that’s usually easy to talk about but not so easy to implement. Whether your team is averse to trying new collaboration software solutions, or they’re simply new to the work from anywhere lifestyle, putting in place effective training strategies is a good place to start.
If you’re a sales manager taking a step towards implementing sales technologies for better collaboration, ensure your team is well-equipped to use them. Some collaboration tools come with tricky functionalities that can be difficult to get used to, especially for sales teams that are used to working in an office environment.
You might benefit from organizing weekly training sessions with video conferencing software or creating a resource center where they can go if no one’s available to answer their questions.
Other tools, like RingCentral Video, for instance, really don’t require much training to use at all!
RingCentral Video’s simple user interface makes it easy for even the most technologically inept users to get used to. Everything is in one place, so all your team's collaboration needs are easily accessible via a single platform. No more switching between apps, just simplified team collaboration all day, every day.
It’s also a good idea to create a sales playbook and store it in an accessible cloud storage folder (you can do that on RingCentral Video, by the way), to ensure your team always have something to refer to when they’re not sure how to handle a specific request or deal with a certain type of client.
With the right training, tools, and resources your team will have everything they need to achieve sales success.
Establish an environment where your team members feel comfortable asking questions.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question. This is the kind of methodology you should instill in your sales team. Create an open environment with your team and ensure they feel comfortable asking questions or voicing concerns when they need to.
Remote work takes away the face-to-face element of communication facilitated by colocated environments. Some people find it more difficult to communicate online, as the person they’re talking to is hiding behind an email address.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools you can incorporate into your sales team’s tech stack to facilitate face-to-face communication and foster a workplace culture that encourages collaboration.
First of all, you’ll need to create an online space where your team can communicate and collaborate openly. Robust collaboration tools should offer video conference functionality, to facilitate that all-important face-to-face communication. Users should also be able to write direct messages to sales management leaders or colleagues when they don’t want to ask a question in a group chat.
What’s more, remote workers are likely to be located in different geographic locations or time zones. For this reason, it’s important to choose a solution that offers multi-device functionality and works just as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop. This way, your team can tune in, ask questions, and collaborate wherever, whenever.
Remember, it’s not just your team members who should feel comfortable asking questions. Customers are likely to have questions about the product or service you’re offering. They should be able to answer their questions by contacting sales directly or have access to resources that can answer instead.
Sales leaders can encourage this kind of environment by modeling it themselves. This involves asking team members questions and truly listening to the answers and feedback they give. As a sales leader, you might ask your team about:
- Information regarding projects
- Ideas about future sales-related projects
- Personal recommendations
- Feedback regarding a presentation, training materials, or a project
Ready to crank your sales collaboration up a notch?
Want to see how RingCentral Video can help your sales teams to collaborate better? Get in touch with our friendly sales team to hear more about pricing and view a demo of RingCentral Video in action. What have you got to lose?