In today’s competitive market, mastering Sales Team Collaboration and Communication is pivotal for achieving success. Effective teamwork and clear communication not only streamline operations but also drive better results.
Many organisations incorporate these principles into their sales training, ensuring their teams are equipped with the right tools and strategies to collaborate seamlessly and communicate effectively.
This blog delves deeper into enhancing these critical areas and provides some essential strategies to help set your team up for undeniable success.
The Importance of Collaboration in Sales
Why Sales Team Collaboration Matters
Sales collaboration is crucial in today’s fast-paced and interconnected business environment. Collaborative teams can best-use diverse sales skill sets, experiences, and perspectives to seize new opportunities, address challenges more creatively, and close deals more efficiently.
Creating a unified approach through effective communication means that the success of one salesperson is the success of all, encouraging a more cohesive and motivated team.
Rather than encouraging a culture of dog-eat-dog competitiveness, true collaboration helps teams work as a unit, dividing up territories, prospect pools, and product lines to maximise revenue and sales.
How Communication Fuels Sales Success
Effective communication within sales teams ensures that everyone is on the same page. All employees are working from one set of coherent guidelines and adopting a cohesive approach. This benefits both employees and customers, who know what to expect and aren’t blindsided by the contrast between reps’ approaches.
It’s not just about sharing information but about ensuring understanding and alignment on goals, strategies, and customer insights.
This alignment helps in formulating more effective sales pitches, addressing customer concerns promptly, and adapting strategies based on real-time feedback.
By contrast, poor sales effectiveness can eat up to 13% of an employee’s day, according to research by communications technology firm Mitel. Leaders agree, with one study, conducted by the Harris Poll for Grammarly, reporting that 72% of executives believing that effective communication had improved productivity, as well as 60% agreeing it had improved employee confidence.
Everything in sales is communication – from the initial cold calls to leads, to the follow-up emails you send prospects, and from the strategy briefings managers circulate in-house, to the reports sales leaders send up to the C-suite.
Tools and Software for Effective Sales Collaboration
We’ve selected the following tools for ease of use, popularity, success, and for how they improve productivity and optimise workflow.
Top Sales Collaboration Software Choices
To enhance sales collaboration and communication, it’s essential to use the right tools. Popular solutions include:
Customer Relationship Management platforms help in managing customer relationships and sales pipelines effectively. In terms of communication, they ensure that all employees have up-to-date information at their fingertips and that all calls and emails are recorded.
This means clients and prospects don’t have to repeat the information they’ve previously given when they talk to your reps.
HubSpot: HubSpot is more than a CRM system. It’s really an entire business ecosystem. From a sales team’s point of view, HubSpot benefits from the basic functions being free, and the platform highly familiar to its 121,000 customers.
HubSpot is probably the best CRM in terms of its integrations, with over 1000 available, so it should slot into your existing tech stack well (and replace quite a bit of it). Having won numerous awards on G2 and Capterra and boasting a 4.5-star score from over 3900 users on the latter platform, it’s a safe bet.
Salesforce: The other monster in the world of sales-based CRMs is of course Salesforce. Like HubSpot, Salesforce has expanded its offering into a whole suite of tools with specialist functions including marketing and sales clouds, and sector-specific versions of its CRM, ranging from logistics to hospitality to retail.
The best advantage of using Salesforce, apart from its status as industry leader, is that it’s maximally customisable to your sector, brand ethos and functional needs.
Their Sales cloud, for instance, has over 150,000 corporate members and can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. This is another essential feature of sales communication – it should be just as easy to stay in touch on the move as in the office.
Zoho CRM: A more recent industry entrant than the giants described above, Zoho is another complex system with features ranging from its contact database to calendar management, content library and appointment scheduling.
It’s a great platform for ensuring you keep on top of those calls, emails, and meetings, while tracking activity and offering an AI assistant to help support hectic workloads.
Zoho also scores highly for two factors which should not be underestimated: value for money and ease of use. Its intuitive dashboards come highly recommended in Capterra reviews.
Pipedrive: British CRM company Pipedrive might be the least well-known CRM here, but it boasts over 100,000 paying customers in 179 countries.
As its name suggests, it’s aimed squarely at sales teams, with lots of features to drive leads down the pipeline towards conversion.
Pipedrive features lots of automations, to help you avoid missing a vital communication or follow-up call. It’s highly customisable and boasts a surprisingly shallow learning curve.
Zendesk Suite: Used by over 110,000 companies, Zendesk is popular with anyone who needs to communicate effectively with customers at scale, from reps to marketers to customer support staff.
What Zendesk lacks in intuitiveness, it makes up for in power, incorporating everything from call features to messaging and interaction tracking.
Zendesk may be a little pricier than some of the platforms mentioned here, but it’s well-suited to retail sales teams, integrating well with payment platforms like Stripe, and offering subscription administration features.
Project Management Tools:
These tools track sales processes and deadlines. Another vital aspect of internal communication is managing collaborative projects effectively. The following tools are among the most popular for that purpose.
Monday.com: Not only does Monday facilitate collaboration, but it automates much of the process, so that when one colleague submits their tasks, their colleagues are notified and triggered to act.
As well as overview boards for managers, Monday allows for individual task boards, and its aesthetic is easy to read and follow. Users can be tagged in an activity, so that they are immediately aware of what’s happening.
Trello: Trello boards are legendary, with the platform’s card-based system highly intuitive and easy to grasp. The free version may not offer all the bells and whistles you’d expect, but for a start-up, Trello might prove invaluable, with its easy onboarding.
With a 4.5-star rating from over 23,000 reviewers on Capterra, Trello is perfect for a smaller sales team, or a start-up. You might have to upgrade to a more fully featured system once your company grows, however.
Asana: A more comprehensive workflow management tool than Trello, Asana allows for granular task tracking and communication across various levels simultaneously.
It is particularly good for progress tracking and should appeal to managers with complex projects and larger teams to oversee.
The main downside is Asana’s complexity and set-up process, which requires more lead time to implement. However, plan for this and you get a very powerful platform for your monthly fee.
Airtable: Those reluctant to give up on tried-and-tested spreadsheets, might enjoy Airtable, which has a similar approach, but with a more attractive appearance. Its ease of integration scores highly with Capterra reviewers as does the large range of automation.
If you want to avoid overspending on your tech stack, Airtable combines some aspects of a CRM tool, including new customer inquiries and customer service features.
It’s billed as an app building platform because you effectively design your own business app then build workflows to aid collaboration.
Jira: lovers of the GANTT chart, will enjoy Jira, which builds upon that simple project planning concept with work sprints, customised workflows and “scrum boards” to empower collaborative brainstorming.
Jira is another tool which integrates well into established tech stacks. The adjective most used by fans is “agile,” making this a great choice for fast decision-making and small-scale projects requiring speedy communication.
Internal communication enablers like Slack or Microsoft Teams, enable instant messaging and easy information sharing.
Slack: The internal messaging front-runner has a 4.7-star rating at Capterra from more than 23,000 reviewers. It’s effectively a digital “water-cooler” allowing for informal chatter related to work, as well as private conversations, document sharing and other functions.
Popular with employees, Slack is a much preferable alternative to email inboxes or shouting across the sales floor!
Its notifications are harder to miss than texts or WhatsApp messages, and it allows employees to proactively support one another, creating a cohesive, collaborative culture.
Microsoft Teams: Since it comes bundled into most PCs, Teams is an easy best for small companies and start-ups.
It’s often used for videoconferencing in preference to Zoom, and its comparative lack of features could prove a plus if you want your team to stay focused on the task at hand.
Zoom: The daddy of videoconferencing, Zoom picked up the slack (no pun intended) when Skype seemed to drop the ball during the pandemic. Zoom effectively kept us all talking and “meeting” during the COVID-19 pandemic when it was impossible to meet at the office.
While it’s not always perfect, Zoom’s simple functionality is easy to understand. Features such as polls, chat, whiteboards, and break-out spaces make it a great way to keep remote or hybrid teams in check.
Essential Features for Collaboration Tools
With the enormous range of collaborative solutions companies can invest in, it’s important to prioritise before you commit. Most worthwhile platforms offer a free tier, or trial so you can try before you buy (and you should).
When selecting collaboration tools, look for features like:
Ease of Integration: Can the tool seamlessly integrate with existing systems, either natively, or via a Zapier integration?
Real-time Communication: Are there features for quick information sharing and decision-making?
Data Analytics: Does the platform offer insights into sales performance and customer behaviour?
Multichannel Communication: Can you manage emails, texts, video, and audio calls in one place?
GANTT Charts: These allow you to see the progress being made in multiple work streams at once. Trello-style boards are a good alternative too.
Task Tracking: Can the system track progress for individual workstreams, and trigger automations or notifications when something, or someone, falls behind?
AI-Support: A relatively new feature are the AI assistants that help individuals remain organised. These can help new employees feel empowered and prevent anything being overlooked.
Document Sharing: Can multiple people collaborate on one document or share it easily with one another? Does the system allow for approvals and document signatures?
Templates and Forms: Do employees have access to readymade templates, ensuring consistency and improving speed and efficiency?
Strategies to Boost Sales Team Collaboration
Implementing a Collaborative Culture
By “collaborative culture” we mean a workplace in which it is considered important to work alongside other colleagues, rather than in competition. That doesn’t mean you abandon your leaderboards and incentive programs, but simply that you consider incentivising sales collaboration too.
Create an environment where collaboration and communication are valued and rewarded. Encourage team members to share knowledge, support one another, and celebrate collective achievements.
If you want to combine leaderboards with teamwork, consider letting teams compete. Do be careful that this doesn’t simply scale up into a different form of competitive insularity, though.
It’s important to have regular departmental meetings, catch-up and social events to encourage convivial collaboration.
Even if these are heavy on news and light on decision-making, they are good for morale and help everyone feel like a valued member of the team.
Tips and tricks for implementing such a culture might include:
Implement internal communications via a platform like Slack, so that employees get used to communicating regularly, both formally and informally.
Recognise team performance: celebrating teamwork, highlighting specific instances where everyone has pulled together to hit a target or deadline.
Hold regular, empathetic one-to-ones: Managers need to catch up with employees regularly, to ensure they are feeling supported, and aren’t feeling isolated.
>Provide ongoing training, including leadership and teamworking skills. Not everyone is used to working as an engaged member of a team. Training can help bring those more insular workers into the fold.
Communication Best Practices for Sales Teams
Here are just four tip tips for best practice in internal communication:
Develop clear communication protocols. Make sure everyone knows how they can communicate (preferred platforms and methods), how often they should, and in what tone. Not all workplaces will appreciate the “spicier” conversation style of some sales environments!
Regular meetings, including full team meetings, are vital to share information, tips, developments, and leads. They prevent anyone feeling left out and help new employees get up to speed.
Concise email updates, or newsletters, can be useful ways of disseminating information. Keep these updates brief, easy to read, and to the point. Ensure that everyone can assign regular time to read these missives.
Hold open forums for discussion to make sure all employees are informed and engaged. These can be in the form of message boards, virtual suggestion boxes, or brainstorming sessions.
Unlike the more informative meetings to exchange news, forums are safe spaces to offer up ideas in a non-judgemental environment. Make sure such get-togethers are properly minuted and actioned.
Overcoming Barriers to Sales Collaboration and Communication
There are several factors that can limit or spoil effective internal communication.
Here are a few of the most common:
Siloed departments: while your own department may have great internal communication, does it feel isolated or in active competition with related departments like customer support, marketing or creative?
Unclear roles: has your HR department designed the roles for clarity and feasibility? If job descriptions are not clear and uniform, then there will be miscommunication, with employees uncertain who is supposed to be fulfilling any given role.
A lack of trust: this is often prompted by a lack of faith in leadership, or a culture of excessive, cut-throat competition. As we’ve discussed, encouraging friendly team rivalry is often preferable to individualistic competitiveness.
Leaders need to be inspiring, hands on and empathetic, to help build trust. Colleagues need to have one another’s backs too.
Creating an open and inclusive culture can help overcome all these obstacles. In other words, the solution to poor communication is more, and better, communication.
Enhancing collaboration and communication within your sales team can yield significant benefits.
With the right tools and strategies in place, barriers to communication can be overcome, and your team will be set up for success.
To improve your sales team’s performance, consider MTD’s comprehensive selection of training and assessments. Our range includes Selling Skills Training and Telesales Training both designed to enhance collaboration and communication skills.