There’s no “I” in TEAM
My favorite sports movie of all time is the 1986 basketball classic “Hoosiers”. The main theme of this ‘David vs Goliath’ story is that the team is what matters the most. It’s the commitment to the team that will carry any group to victory.
When we think of a sales career, all too often it is measured by how an individual performs over the course of a month, a quarter, or a year. If the individual makes their goal or exceeds it, he or she wins; if they don’t they lose. And in some businesses if you lose you are fired. That kind of environment is one where the ‘players’ only focus on what they do from an individual perspective. They really don’t care about what everyone else on the team is doing, and that kind of environment can only get you so far. As an organization the goals that you achieve will fall short of what your maximum potential is or could be as a TEAM.
“Hoosier” Coach Norman Dale breaks a style of individual thinking that he inherits and replaces it with a full commitment to the team. He commands of his players to understand the concept – “Let’s be real clear about what we are after, Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team – no one more important than the other.” What a team can accomplish verses a bunch of individuals is vastly different. Coach Dale knew that all the players were different from one another, and he also knew that he needed a superstar in order to win. But he was not willing to sacrifice the team for any one player. All parts of the team were needed in order to accomplish the ultimate goal. In the end the team had to rely on its last player to convert the crucial last second free throws to reach the Indiana State Finals.
On your sales team you will have all kinds of players. You may have Account Managers, Solution Architects, Vertical Market Specialists, Hardware Specialists, etc.. You will have rookies, veterans and yes, you will need the superstars. The key is to foster a culture of TEAM. When we achieve our sales and profit goals for any measureable period it is because of the team. And when one of our team members is struggling with overall sales or an individual client we all come together to help. Remember, we may all have different roles, different strengths but we are all equally needed and important.
In any team sport you need chemistry to be successful. Chemistry is always born from players who are willing to play for one another. The key ingredient is trust. You must trust someone before you can believe in them. Once you have a team that believes in each other they are a tough force to stop. A sales TEAM that believes in one another, believes in the company objective and the overall mission of the organization can achieve greatness.
How do you get the most out of your salesforce? Create a culture where they put the needs of their team over the needs of themselves. If your coin operated sales reps will never buy into that, you might need different sales reps.