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Do you believe that selling is a team sport? Three keys to the game.

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Most executives say they believe that selling is a team sport, but many don’t provide the revenue-generating weapons required for the modern sales team to be collaborative, efficient and successful.  Long gone are the days you could walk over to a colleague’s office and expect them to be there between 9-5.  To compete today, you and your sales team need to be using modern communication tools and a modern phone system.  Here are three keys to getting the most of modern communications technologies for sales.

Corporate messaging and phone presence go hand-in-hand

If your team uses a smorgasbord of consumer grade instant messaging apps like AIM, Google Chat and others to collaborate, and every new employee spends weeks learning personal screen names, your team is at a disadvantage.  Corporate instant messaging should be part of your unified communications tool kit.  Before you call someone, check to see if they are on the phone.  If so, send them an IM, SMS or email. Never leave a voicemail, unless your colleague has voicemail transcription.  (As I’ve said before, old-fashioned voicemail is a terrible drain on efficiency.)

The art and science of a warm transfer

How many times have you been transferred from one sales rep to another only to have to repeat yourself to the new person?  Or, you navigate a complicated Auto Attendant or IVR and enter or speak a series of digits, only to get a live agent who asks you to repeat all the information you just entered.  Gurrr!  Modern phone systems are tightly integrated with the business applications that power your sales engine.  CRM screen pops tell the sales rep who is calling so you shouldn’t have to provide much info, if any.  If Salefsorce.com is your CRM, when you transfer a prospect from one rep to another, the customer record or workspace should move with the call so you will never have to ask the prospects to provide any more information.   It’s a simple thing, but your customers and prospects will love you for it.

Your desk phone in your pocket

Unless you’re working at Yahoo!, modern businesses promote virtual work.  They hire the best not the nearest and modern phone systems deliver collaboration and selling tools for the modern sales force. Today, when you hire a new rep, you just ship them a phone for their home office, they download the mobility application on their smartphone and you provide them with a login to your CRM or SFA system.  They are good to go and can work from wherever they happen to be and they are connected via a simple 4-digit dial to the rest of the organization.  This used to take weeks, now can be completed within minutes.

Smart sales executives realize that the time and effort put into understanding how sales reps will communicate with each other, the rest of the organization, customers and prospects will pay dividends over the long term.  Just like any successful team, success often comes right down to the fundamentals.  Don’t ignore the fundamentals.