Four crucial steps to make your sales force agile

The world has never been more complex. The uncertainty in a business environment has never been higher. Still, we need to live and operate in such an environment.

There is a great explanation for this state of the “world”, called the VUCA world. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change. 

VUCA world requires a different mindset.

Volatility – environment demands us to react quickly to ongoing changes that are unpredictable and out of our control.

Uncertainty – environment requires us to take actions without certainty.

Complexity – environment is dynamic with many interdependencies

Ambiguity – environment is unfamiliar, outside of our expertise.

The great examples of companies that responded in the right way were Airbnb and Uber. Airbnb impacted the hotel industry by innovating processes and Uber revolutionized the taxi industry by creating ease of booking. They both had unique models that heavily relied on technology to disrupt the industry.

Complex environments and uncertainty in outcomes were also recognized by the IT industry almost twenty years ago. In 2001, seventeen individuals and software practitioners gathered in the ski resort, in Utah, US. They came up with the Agile Manifesto, a new mindset, focusing on four values and twelve principles. These values are:

1) Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

2) Working software over comprehensive documentation

3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

4) Responding to change over following the plan

Apart from IT, other industries recognized the value of an Agile approach in business. Of course, they must adopt these values to the concrete needs of the business. Even in the same industries, an Agile approach requires customization.

Embracing an Agile mindset, it is now possible to use an Agile approach in FMCG, auto-industry, manufacturing, and even in sales.

There are so many digital product companies that use traditional sales, but also many “traditional” companies that use Agile sales.

The key is not in product, the key to success is in mindset, how we use and implement an Agile mindset in our organization.

To have a successful implementation of an Agile mindset in a sales department or organization we should focus on four Agile values as crucial steps.

1) People matter more than processes and tools

Almost every sales company or department has its own rules, processes, and procedures. Instead of using them persistently, we should listen to the salesmen and their ideas of choosing the right tools at the right moment.

2) Focus on outcomes more than your sales process

Establishing a sales process is a necessity for a sales organization in its early stages. Evolving the sales process along the way could speed up closing sales and bring more meaningful outcomes.

3) Build a relationship with a customer through collaboration, not negotiation

Of course, we need a contract with our customers. The way we make contract with them makes difference. That ignite more meaningful partnership and provide long-lasting relationship.

4) Have a plan and plan changes ahead

Every salesman has their own plan on how to succeed. The biggest frustration comes if something has changed along the way. And of course, something will always happen. Instead of complaining about changes, “planning the unplanned” could boost confidence and minimize stress.

Adopting an Agile mindset is a must. Only then, we can start with phase two, implementing an Agile framework.

The most often mistake that companies make is skipping step one, a mindset shift, and jumping into the implementation phase.

Implementing an Agile approach to sales can be quite demanding, but it pays off. There are so many benefits that could shape the outcome:

  • Fast response to market changes
  • Better understanding of customer’s problems (not needs)
  • Laser focus on results
  • Employees engagement
  • Satisfied customers

It’s on us whether we will accept it sooner or later.

About Srdjan Pavlovic 40 Articles
Srdjan is a professional and agile coach with more than 20 years of experience in the field of leadership, professional and agile coaching. He is guided by the mission of creating synergies between professional and agile coaching, combining best tools and practices. He is Certified Team Coach awarded by Scrum Alliance, Professional Certified Coach awarded by ICF (International Coaching Federation), and Agile Team Facilitator awarded by IC Agile. Srdjan was the first Director of Internal communication at ICF Serbia chapter. His focus is business agility and new ways of doing business. It helps companies develop agile mindsets and processes, different types of leadership, and new business models. In March 2018, he established a people development magazine “Business coaching”. That is his contribution to the best practices and knowledge sharing. The magazine is free of charge and supported by many individuals, organizations and corporations.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.