5 benefits of applying Agile and Scrum principles in Sales

Attending a two-day Scrum and Agile Master Training recently, I was surprised at how easily the Agile framework can be applied within a sales context. In fact, I noticed we already do a lot of these things in our own sales approach. For those of you who don’t know Agile & Scrum, a very quick introduction of the core concept.

Agile aims to deliver business value in quick, iterative “Sprint” sessions of +/- 1 to 3 weeks. At the end of every “Sprint”, the development team shows the result of their work to the stakeholders of the project and they are invited to comment on the results. The rapid feedback of the stakeholders, and the continuous (re)prioritization of business stories (≈detailed requirements), ensures that focus is maintained on delivering the highest business value in the shortest time possible.

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Some ideas on how you can apply agile to your sales organization

1. Team organisation: how to

  • Organise daily stand-ups to do a quick status check: a 5-minute checkpoint at the beginning of the day with the whole team (can be done over confcall), to go through the list of activities that have been completed, what they are working on and what they will be doing. This creates peer-pressure, but also keeps everyone informed of commercial activities. Keep it to the point: 30 seconds per person is enough!
  • Organise weekly sales meetings to discuss the result of the Sprint (=1 week): Discuss the usual metrics (leads, visits, offers/proposals, deals, etc) and review the quality of these results. Don’t waste time on the process part. In this meeting you only discuss the sales results.
  • Divide your quarterly goals: Sales organisations operate with a yearly target, which are then often divided in quarterly objectives. My suggestion is to continue dividing these objectives in weekly sprints objectives, to have short iterations and allow you to keep good grip on the actions and results.
  • Make it visual: Everyone should be able to see who is working on what at all times. If there is a desire to hide things, by default it’s an indication that something is wrong.

2. Sales process: how to sell more

  • Offer value as early in the process as possible: Content and Inbound marketing is one of the hottest topics today and with good reason: prospects increasingly (up to 80%) do their research online. The customer cycle is well underway before your sales cycle even started and you are able to influence your prospect.
  • Seek to understand before being understood: Don’t assume you’ve understood the complete story. It gives your prospect something to shoot on, build upon and provides you with a deeper understanding of the real issue.

As applied to sales: 5 benefits

  • Prospects are more involved: by involving your customer throughout the process, you increase your chances of delivering something, which is as close to their expectations as you can.
  • Focus and prioritisation of activities: by working with an action list, you continuously prioritize and make sure the things with the highest business value are getting done.
  • You increase predictability of results: by optimizing your funnel and focusing on the right things, you will dramatically improve your overall results.
  • Better grip on the sales funnel: you create an average velocity of sales through weekly result monitoring (accuracy increases as each week passes). It provides you with a baseline on which you can measure your results each week.
  • Enhanced grip on the sales team: as a sales manager you have a better way to coach and steer your team.
#agile #sales #scrum