How to Establish a Forward-Thinking Sales Team
Do you want to build a sales team that can face the future? You ought to; the future keeps approaching with exciting and terrifying new changes every day. Building up a team of forward-looking individuals is essential to facing this reality. Constant change is, ironically, here to stay. Strangely, the best way to deal with constant change is to change ourselves to be more constant. Here’s what we’ve discovered about how to do it.
1: Unify Around a Shared Strategic Vision
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln said that just two years before being elected President of the United States. During his time in power, he saw the nation torn apart by a fundamental national disagreement as to the morality of slavery. He then used the full force of that power to ensure that one side would emerge victorious. His personal views on the moral issue informed his choices, but it was also because of the strategic danger the divide represented for the country. If the country were to remain divided, it would never be safe from the invasions of other powerful nations around the world. The question was not just one of unity or disunity. It was of unity… or annihilation.
A country divided is a country more easily conquered from the outside. Likewise, your business organization can best succeed in the marketplace if your team is united around your visions and goals. Together they can carry out the plans that will make them a reality.
It’s essential to inspire and require that your team share a unifying ideal, and a company culture that makes it natural. Make sure that the whole team understands the reasons they need unity, and the consequences of discord.
2: Develop Courage, Commitment, and Emotional Intelligence
These powerful personality traits and skills are not inherent in every person. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they can be learned. It may take a great deal effort, but by providing your sales team with training on these matters, it can makes them into far better salespeople.
The reason these skills make teams more forward-looking is because they help individuals look outside of themselves, and become more focused on doing good work. Courage means doing something good and worthwhile regardless of momentary personal discomfort. It’s selfless. The benefits of commitment are clear and related. Sticking to a task when it gets hard pulls the team through to the finish line.
“[People] with high emotional intelligence have the ability to accurately identify their emotions and, most importantly, the ability to control and evaluate these emotions. They are also very empathetic of the emotions of others, making them better listeners, communicators and negotiators.” – thepitcher.org
There are other traits that make for great forward thinkers. These are the ones most necessary for the last piece of the puzzle, though.
3: Consider Wide-Ranging Possibilities, But Focus on Execution
Lisa Bodell, CEO of Futurethink, lays out a detailed guide for “Formalizing forward thinking” in any organization, in an article at strategy-business.com. Among the suggestions she makes, she put special emphasis on the importance of scenario planning:
“To analyze long-term trends and market forces, the following scenario-planning exercises can be useful:
- “Set a time horizon (2025, 2055, etc.) and scope (a specific area of your business, all areas of your business, or the entire industry) for the analysis.
- “Map the key trends and driving forces that could impact your business, including economic, political, technological, legal, societal, and industry-specific trends. Describe each trend, as well as how and why it will affect your organization.
- “Look for uncertainties: wild-card factors that could upend current plans —such as an environmental disaster, vendor bankruptcy, or tighter industry regulation — and threaten your organization.
- “Define two to four scenarios based on the trends and uncertainties you’ve identified. Include a mix of best- and worst-case scenarios.
- “Assess the scenarios. What are your opportunities? What are the threats? How can your business prepare now for these scenarios?”
She also suggests keeping close tabs on new developments coming out of the tech scene and the academic world. Many of the world’s biggest game-changers have come out of those two sectors.
With all of that, though, nothing beats action. There’s no value in doing all that thinking and research if nothing ever happens as a result of it.
That’s why we at Boom Demand focus on execution. We maintain a strong culture of forward-thinking, especially in our sales team, which is at your disposal. We train our sales development representatives to be excellent listeners who also know how and when to push the conversation forward.
Contact us today to make forward thinking an integral part of your sales strategy!