Think about the most amazing meal you’ve ever had. You might relive the way a dish tasted or the masterful way the ingredients complemented each other. Perhaps it’s how the plates looked or the beautiful, artistic presentation.
Ultimately you remember how that meal made you feel. You probably aren’t thinking about the kitchen full of sous chefs, line cooks, and dishwashers that made that unforgettable meal possible. But without that team working seamlessly behind the scenes, you’d end up with an average meal at best.
Great revenue teams operate the same way–everybody knows the part they play to win new business and make sure customers are satisfied long after the deal closes. It takes a thoughtful approach to bring the right people, process, and tools together and the stakes to implement a smooth process are significant. Harvard Business Review reported that companies with a clear sales process increase their revenue by 18% compared to companies that do not.
Many teams struggle to get this right (the number of results on the first page of a Google search for “dysfunctional revenue teams” is proof enough). Let’s walk through what goes into building this winning dynamic.
There are many roles on a revenue team. The exact roles and titles may differ, but generally include:
- Sales Development: qualify new leads for AEs.
- Account Executives: salespeople who close deals (new and/or expansion).
- Sales Engineers have a technical background; help to demo more technical products and answer in-depth technical questions.
- Sales Operations: responsible for keeping things running smoothly in the background. Takes care of tools, quote to cash processes, reporting/analysis, territories, and quotas.
- Enablement: makes sure the team has the information they need to do their jobs and are trained to use it properly.
- Other stakeholders not (always) officially part of revenue teams:
- Finance - approves contracts and discounts
- Product - shares roadmaps, analyzes customer feedback
- Marketing - equips sales with messaging and enablement assets
- Customer Support + Success - supports the post-sales process from onboarding new customers to answering questions and helping customers throughout their
With the right people in place, you need a standardized process to keep everybody on track and focused. This makes it clear who is responsible for each part of the sales cycle and how it aligns with the customer’s buying journey. Supporting tools are essential when you’re ready to scale and increase your effectiveness.
- Qualification: Defined criteria to be captured from leads to determine if they should talk to an AE
- Tools: Chat tools; CRM; Email efficiency
- Discovery + evaluation: Questions to ask and information to capture from qualified leads to make sure they will see value from your product; steps to guide a successful evaluation
- Tools: CRM; note-taking tool; call recording software
- Negotiation: Who is involved internally to get contracts approved and created?
- Tools: CRM; e-signature
From the CRM to call recording software to email efficiency tools, choosing the right tools to support the smooth functioning of the team is key. Once everybody understands the process and how their role fits into the big picture, tools are useful to increase the efficacy of each person. For example, armed with a solid email automation platform your reps can automate the outreach to strategic accounts and amplify their reach.
The glue makes the difference
Even with a visionary chef, the world’s best restaurants wouldn’t function without each person operating at their highest level. Revenue teams are no different, requiring glue to keep all of the pieces together, allowing the team to operate with a high level of trust and efficiency.
What IS the glue? The glue isn’t a single person. Rather, it’s the thorough process that binds the team and allows each individual to reach their highest potential that is the ultimate glue when it comes to a high performing revenue team.
The first step is to establish a sales process–the steps that each salesperson takes when working with potential customers. If you already have one, evaluate how it is being enforced and what tools you’re using to streamline or complement it. Pick one area that the team needs to improve on and spend a month really nailing it. For example, spend a month focusing on the discovery process–from which questions customers are asked to the information captured to which internal stakeholders are involved and what tools you have or need to add. As you zero-in on each step of your sales process, measure what is working and what is not so you can adjust accordingly.
When sales teams are functioning on this level, they’re practically unstoppable. With the right people and glue holding them together, it feels like this:
- Every role knows what part they play in the company’s success
- Customers experience an enjoyable, smooth buying process because there is a smooth transition when handoffs occur (i.e. from AE to Finance)
- Information is shared with context to stakeholders and they’re brought into the sales process at the right time
- All data and documents are captured in a system of record (usually your CRM)
- Communication is consistent and clear so everybody knows when changes are made to processes, products,pricing, etc.
You’re constantly communicating about what’s working and making tweaks to improve what isn’t
A few questions to keep in mind to help evaluate how strong your processes are:
- Does everybody know what is expected of them at each stage of the sales cycle? Does each person know how they fit into the bigger picture of the revenue team?
- What do the hand-offs between teams look like––are they defined?
- What does your customer experience when buying your product? Is there a smooth process and a consistent message
Depending on where you fall, there’s always room to improve. What can you do to strengthen your communication strategy or one process that will have the most impact? If you focus on aligning everybody involved in revenue generation with clear expectations, how much additional revenue could you bring in each quarter?
Lastly, consider the tools you’re using and if they support your processes to make your glue stronger. If not, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Momentum is is a sales coordination platform for driving your sales process and deal desk in Slack.