Why Sales Must Transform to Collaborative Sales Through Ecosystem Enablement
November 11th, 2021 | From our CEO
Cold calling is dead! The B2B sales function must transform to succeed! Sales must transform to Collaborative Sales!
I still hear Chief Sales Officers saying that they just want their sales people to be ‘out there’, but they are fewer and fewer. I also see a new sales broker role materializing. Where sales acts as to go-between between the organization and the outside world.
Just the other day a sales director said this to me:
“No other function needs to be as well-connected INTERNALLY as the sales function”
No talk here about measuring ‘time on the road’.
Collaborative Sales is, however, not the holy grail. World class companies are already talking and very few executing on the next level – Ecosystem Enablement.
Pistol Sales is Where Most Come From
Pistol Sales still exists. Where salespeople are measured on the number of cold calls they make or the number of meetings they have. Regardless of the quality of the relationship. I tried that myself twenty years ago in a company that suddenly struggled with sales growth, and where this was the only metric, the new sales director could come up with.
Was it successful? – No, people found ways to work around it. Called their mom 3 times per day and so forth. Incentives were at the individual level, trust in others was low. Nobody wanted to help their peers.
That type of sales, still exists unfortunately. Maybe more in some industries than others? Personally, I think the world has outgrown this type of sales.
Collaborative Sales is What Great Organizations Aim For
In the last decade, we have seen a move away from Pistol Sales to Collaborative Sales. Where your sales people work together as a team as they swarm the targets.
Innovisor has analyzed sales performance data together with sales network data, and we have seen a clear step-change. When salespeople freely share contacts and leads with each other, and can ask each other for advice and work together on proposals, performance goes up. Especially if incentives are allocated at the team level and trust between team members is high. This is why sales is transformed to Collaborative Sales.
Pharma, Manufacturing and Professional Services transform to Collaborative Sales
We have documented the relationship between coherent sales teams and superior performance across industries, such as pharma, manufacturing and professional services. There is no doubt a coherent sales team sharing knowledge and information, helping, and collaborating fluidly performs better.
Collaborative Sales also allows you to build trust with the client by orchestrating every single interaction you have. Making sure you use the expertise and knowledge available inside your own organization to the advantage of the client. In your interactions with the information providers, the influencers, the blockers, and the decision makers.
The below image shows why you must transform your sales to collaborative sales.
Part of building trust is creating a personal brand and company brand by sharing your expertise freely on social media. Social selling is certainly alive and well.
In Innovisor, we have run our sales in a similar process with huge success. Allowing us to get in contact with and win clients amongst the most sought-after brands. We called it Swarm-the-Target.
Article regarding the Innovisor Swarm-the-Target sales process:
A lot of companies still have a lot to gain from getting to this stage of their B2B sales organization development.
Ecosystem Enablement is the Next Level for World Class Organizations
Now, a new step change is happening.
World class organizations move on to Ecosystem Enablement. From what I have seen especially within pharma. Like expressed by Hemerson Paes of Roche in a brilliant interview with Hilton Barbour:
When I think about how we’re identifying and leveraging those internal connectors to accelerate change, my hope is that, in time, we’ll be able to do that externally too. Find the connectors across the healthcare ecosystem, the one’s that can really move things forward, and get them working with our connectors. That’s the dream. We do that and, maybe, I can consider we’re at the finish line.
Notice that I call it enablement and not sales anymore!
It is a different breed of people that work with this. It is not about the number of cold calls anymore – it is about the quality of your relationships and your expertise. How you work together with and help your ecosystem of partners become successful. Incentives are now at the ecosystem level.
Building and maintaining trust is of paramount importance across the ecosystem. To do that you need consistently to be there to help your partners in the ecosystem and to share your expertise and wisdom without constantly asking for the sale. You need to orchestrate and discipline interactions across the ecosystem, connect the right people together, and make sure all players can make sense of what you are trying to achieve.
Get Your House in Order to transform Sales to Collaborative Sales
Are you ready to move on from Pistol Sales to Ecosystem Enablement? You cannot skip the step ‘Collaborative Sales’ and move directly into ‘Ecosystem Enablement’. If your internal collaboration and trust is not working, it will not work in an ecosystem either. So first step is getting your ‘house in order’.
If, however, you have achieved that then maybe Ecosystem Enablement is for you?