In the Cloud Age, Sales Is a Team Sport

Author: 
Tim Deluca-Smith

Sales is stereotypically thought of as an extremely individualized occupation. The clichéd salesperson of popular lore is a competitive, single-minded loner who is constantly out-of-pocket chasing deals on the golf course.

The reality is, of course, very different. In fact Salesforce recently found that high-tech companies generate 55 percent of sales through inside sales – a sales model that thrives on team collaboration.

The world has become digital, and buyers increasingly no longer expect (or sometimes even want) in-person meetings. That means sales teams must operate in the virtual world – remotely running presentations, conducting demos and preparing proposals from a distance. Inside salespeople have also realized that success comes from sharing knowledge, best practice information and collateral with the wider team.

Even field salespeople (who still play an important role by overseeing major deals) benefit from collaboration and the ability to share knowledge and expertise with subject matter experts across the business.

Sales simply isn’t a single-person sport anymore; here’s how cloud collaboration technology is helping today’s sales teams be more successful.

Staying Grounded With Home Base
Organizational knowledge is difficult to amalgamate. Teams can be dispersed across different locations and offices, making it hard for sales individuals to track down relevant domain expertise or reference materials. Using cloud collaboration means that every organization can maintain a central resource base where sales reps can easily exchange ideas and share documents.

Smoothing the Contract Volley
Contract negotiation with a new customer can be a delicate process, with many iterations back and forth between multiple stakeholders. That used to mean reps spent hours editing contract clauses while juggling conference calls with the customer and the internal legal team. Cloud collaboration eases that process by allowing salespeople to control versions as the contract passes between stakeholders.

Mid-Court Pivoting to Keep Up With New Materials
Salespeople have to keep up with new marketing collaterals, changes to pricing sheets, updated order forms, and revised contract clauses. Sales teams rely on access to accurate and relevant information, but poor document management practices means that this fundamental need can be a challenge. All too often, document revisions get lost in email, copies of copies get stored on reps’ C: Drives, and outdated versions shared with prospects and customers. At best, it’s embarrassing. At worst teams could be putting their employers at risk by sharing outdated legal and pricing information. Cloud collaboration mitigates this risk.

Tag Team for a Balanced Perspective
When working large global accounts, regional teams often find themselves struggling to create an aligned strategy and a united front. Meeting notes go unshared, and knowledge silos start to grow. Cloud collaboration knows no geographical boundaries, helping to build virtual teams of reps from around the business. For global customer accounts, cloud collaboration makes it easier for teams from multiple regions to come together, share ideas and unify their account strategies.

Call a Playback for Deeper Insight Into Sales Activities
When work gets digitized, it also gets documented. Sales projects hosted on a cloud platform keep track of account activities, so that managers can see if certain team members are overworked or underutilized and re-assign tasks accordingly. Like a playback during a football game, teams can also go back and review past versions of their work to understand how projects evolved over time and make informed decisions for the future.

In the digital age, everything has become more connected, including sales organizations. Cloud collaboration toolsare empowering that change and all the benefits that follow.

Tim Deluca-Smith is vice president of marketing for Huddle, a provider of secure cloud collaboration for government and enterprise.Tim has nearly 20 years of marketing experience spanning startups to Fortune 500 companies.