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  • Stephanie Lewis-Bennett - Guest Blogger

Agile Sales Team Management and Leadership

Our last blog post in our Agile Sales article series introduced the Agile Sales Manifesto created by Adnova Group, steps for preparing to adopt agile sales, and the benefits and challenges of agile sales.

In today’s post, we introduce the Agile Sales Team concept, why Agile Sales Teams are beneficial, and tools for managing Agile Sales Teams.

What is an Agile Sales Team?

ScrumAlliance defines three roles that make up a product development scrum team: ScrumMaster, Product Owner, and Development Team. An agile sales team's positions do not align one-to-one with those of a Scrum team; however, they can benefit from Scrum's values, structure, and best practices to help the team adapt, improve, and continuously iterate.

The agile sales team – which includes sales team leads, SDRs/BDRs, account executives, account managers, sales operations team members, and sales engineers – is what drives an organization's sales efforts. They take on repetitive, planned tasks daily – generating leads, making sales calls, follow-ups, and demos – that can be organized, measured, and prioritized to achieve optimum performance and acceleration.

The agile sales team takes the traditional structure of a sales team and takes it to another level. Agile sales teams are cross-functional and high performing. They encompass everything from lead generation, closing deals, post-sale service, and technical sales tools and systems into one matrixed team. Doing this enables a sales team to use agile values to increase success and improve both their team and its culture.

What is Agile Sales Team Management and Leadership?

Agile sales team management and leadership incorporate agile methods to improve the sales team’s traditional management model. Agile sales management and leadership provide a flexible, collaborative framework for solving problems and meeting goals.

Agile sales management and leadership is a collaborative framework, set of values, and culture to create a sales team’s long-term success.

Benefits of Agile Sales Team Management and Leadership

Companies realize the benefits of adopting agile practices to improve many aspects of their business. Gartner’s Agile in the Enterprise survey found that 63% of companies said they currently plan to use agile methods in business activities outside of software development.

When applying agile to sales team management and leadership, the same positive benefits happen. High amounts of attention are on the activities that help close sales instead of only focusing on the larger goal. Additionally, more time is spent with frontline staff to help uncover and remove obstacles and provide coaching and training.

Tools for Agile Sales Team Management and Leadership

Many agile tools can be applied and adapted to sales team management and leadership. Incorporating an agile mindset using the following tools will improve efficiency and accelerate sales operations and performance.

Program Backlog

A program backlog is an agile tool that management and leadership can use to organize, prioritize, and track sales campaigns, deal progression, and sales operations enablement efforts. A Kanban board allows the entire organization to see the current priorities. It also illustrates where various initiatives fall in the funnel, which improves communication both internally and externally.

This transparent structure allows all departments to add value through their feedback about different sales projects. A well-managed program backlog drives quick and constant improvements to help sales drive revenue and reduce customer churn.

Team Backlog

The team backlog is a smaller section of the program backlog used within each of the different sales teams to organize, prioritize, and track progress on work assigned to the sales team for a Campaign or Sprint.

Using this to evaluate processes or outcomes and make optimizations quickly allows sales to capitalize rapidly on things that work well and move on from things that do not. Additionally, it provides better visibility and transparency for sales and the entire organization.

Sprints and Daily Stand Up

Before getting started, planning occurs with the highest value items in the program backlog assigned to the team first. These high-value items become sprints. Since sprints are timed-boxed intervals, it encourages better organization and execution of the work assigned.

Each day, a 15-minute stand-up meeting occurs, where each team member reports on their progress and holds other team members accountable. The daily stand-up is critical to quickly uncover issues hindering the sales process so that management and leadership can resolve them. Clearing obstacles and barriers quickly allow the sales teams to spend more time with their customers, which drives revenue and growth.

Next Step

To further aid in adopting agile sales in a company, it’s essential to have a trusted partner to help your teams through implementation and process improvement. Ryan Bennett and Stephanie Lewis-Bennett of Adnova Group are passionate about helping turn teams into high-performance agile organizations. Visit Adnova Group’s website to download an introductory guide that addresses specific needs for adopting agile sales.

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