The evolution of collaborative selling
The truth is that, although technology has been used as a driver to accelerate its implementation, the concept of collaborative selling is not new. Behind the scenes, teams responsible for managing procurement processes have always relied on other professionals to respond to supplier RFPs, get approval for a special pricing policy or even close a deal.
The difference is that today,
the resources used in the sales process are increasingly customer-focused and require a multidisciplinary effort involving different fields, from presales engineers to IT experts. As the adjective "collaborative" suggests, this is a model that focuses on joint decision-making on concrete actions.
It is no longer just another strategy to increase sales: according to a recent Salesforce report, 79% of enterprise customers find it extremely important to interact with someone who acts as a trusted advisor and adds value to their business. This is why sales teams need to take on this guiding role, bringing both parties involved in the transaction to a mutually beneficial point of agreement.
Finally, listening to customers' needs, responding to them and offering solutions, even if they are not always profitable for the business, builds strong relationships that make users feel they have value, beyond their money.
2. Collaborative sales teams improve the customer experience
Another benefit of collaborative sales teams is that they increase the recognition a company receives from its customers and partners. For example, if a potential buyer asks a question in a group made up of different professionals, he or she can receive an answer from the different experts in the same conversation, creating a sense of community and establishing a connection at the beginning of the buying process that can continue in the later stages. This collaboration also improves the customer and partner experience by strengthening the sales process and building trust.
Thus, such coordinated working patterns accelerate the pace and volume of users moving through the conversion funnel from user to customer to buyer.
3. The ingredients of the collaborative selling model
While many companies are already implementing some form of collaborative strategy in their sales department, there are a number of key elements to consider in order to make the most of this model and deliver a good customer experience. These include ensuring that employees have an ecosystem to work in a coordinated way and share information, and ensuring that sales, marketing and customer service teams are all connected and processing the same metrics and data.
However, the basic pillar on which the whole structure rests is technology. Having the right tools in place is essential for collaborative sales professionals to work in a coordinated manner. In this sense, new CRMs, such as the one offered by Salesforce, allow vertical and horizontal management of business processes through integrated workflow management.