Aligning Customer Teams™.

Collaborate, Coordinate, Execute.

How do you deliver outstanding customer experiences through your sales process? You make sure members of your sales and sales support teams yoke together at every level. When sales team members collaborate and coordinate effectively, insights are shared, team members are engaged, and creativity flows unlocking the full potential of your organization and delivering a differentiated customer buying experience.

RED BEAR

Aligning Customer Teams™

Selling is a team sport today. Gone are the days of “a man way out there in blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine”. Now selling is the calling of a team who must coordinate their efforts across product lines and geographies—even when there is no formal sales team. Aligning Customer Teams™ is the glue that holds sales teams together, stimulates collaboration, and provides them with the skills and “know-how” to deliver for your customers.

Elegant employee explaining financial data to colleagues

Aligning Customer Teams™ Toolbox.

What if your cross-functional sales teams were aligned on goals, communicated openly, and were comfortable turning on a dime? Imagine if these same team members excelled at “situational teamwork”. This is what Aligning Customer Teams™ does – it equips your cross-functional sales teams with a unique set of skills, tools, and behaviors that will enable them to collaborate, communicate, and innovate—bringing your company’s solutions to customers faster, more efficiently, and more profitably.

Our team collaboration model is built on the idea that to building effective sales team engagement is a process that begins by maintaining the mutual esteem of those they are working with, maximizing information flow so that everyone on the team is informed, fostering creative solutions to generate more differentiated customer solutions, and serving the higher business purpose, ensuring that the needs of the people on the team, the organization AND the customer are met.

These four principles are the “rules of engagement” that guide team members on how to operationalize the RED BEAR team collaboration model. They govern “how” people should work with another and provide teams with a common language, approach (guidelines) for working with one another and help to ensure everyone is contributing to deliver the best possible outcomes for customers. 

These four behaviors are used to create an open and free exchange of ideas and information. When used in support of selling and servicing customers, they help ensure everyone has the right information, and that when differences of opinion on the approach or solution exist, they can work through these productively. By applying these behaviors, team members are able to quickly raise issues as they come up, identify and gain agreement on possible solutions, and build conviction and cooperation for the best approach to meeting customers’ needs.

This practical tool is a visual representation of how we typically behave in conflict. It enables people to quickly gauge if they are in the zone of “Creative Contention” or excess conviction/cooperation—both of which are detrimental to effective engagement and collaboration.

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There are four communication “styles” that describe how people prefer to communicate and engage in calm and stressful situations. The Mok Survey is administered to participants and provides them with personalized insights into their preferred communication style under calm and stressful situations. Armed with this awareness, people learn how to identify others preferred communication styles as well as adjust their own personal style in order to support more productive teamwork, ensure their ideas are heard and build collaboration within the team.

Share Information

Effective communication is the heart and soul of any high performing team. This all begins with getting your points across and being receptive to hearing others point of view. In Aligning Customer Teams™, participants get actionable data and insights about their own communication and engagement style, learn how to plan for interactions with others who have different styles, and develop strategies for maximizing the flow of information throughout the team.

Build Skills

Through real-world practice and extensive feedback, participants in Aligning Customer Teams™ gain a “gut level” understanding of how to apply the skills, tools, and behaviors they learn during training to critical sales team interactions. They practice how to engage with one another, identify potential roadblocks to team effectiveness, and develop strategies for avoiding these, ensuring they and their team operate cohesively and satisfy customers expectations.

Avoid Pitfalls

Aligning Customer Teams™ is more than just training. It provides participants with practical tools like the “Styles Meter” and “Team Action Planner” that can be used in real-time to help team members plan for and engage in more productive team interactions. When challenging team issues arise, they can use these tools to ensure they stay in the zone of “Creative Contention” allowing them to develop strategies for working through these issues and in turn, ensure that they and their team operate cohesively, and satisfy customers expectations.

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As sales leaders move from having a team of generalists to one of “specialists”, each with their own unique set of skills, cross-functional sales team coordination has become even more critical. Information must flow between team members, coordinated planning needs to occur, and each team member must understand their roles and responsibilities and how these fit into the big picture.

This is certainly true for companies like Autodesk. Autodesk like many software and technology companies transitioned from the generalist model to one comprised of specialists—all with distinct roles in the sales process. Despite doing so, challenges still existed—people were still operating in silos, customer information remained compartmentalized, and individuals were focused on their own parochial interests. As one sales director put it, “I’ve got my own numbers to hit and it’s easier for me to just do it all myself”.

This mentality was particularly challenging due to the way that potential customers often evaluated Autodesk: an RFP. Responding to an RFP required coordination between multiple stakeholders in sales, marketing, product development, and engineering. That meant lots of back and forth, numerous meetings, and often times contention about who was responsible for what. The whole process could take multiple days and countless rounds of emails just to set up a meeting.  

Recognizing that something had to change, Autodesk implemented Aligning Customer Teams™ across its sales and services organizations. The goal of this initiative was to improve the sharing of “tribal knowledge”, decrease the amount of time it took to respond to customer requests, support innovative solution generation, and gain better alignment on roles and responsibilities between sales team members.

The results? Eight months into the initiative, Autodesk’s’ VP of Global Sales and Customer Success put it best “We no longer have twenty chefs in the kitchen. We now have a highly integrated, cross-discipline team of sales and service professionals, each with a clear understanding of their roles and absolute certainty about how [and when] they must contribute to each sales opportunity. We work collaboratively, with [a] shared vision of what we want to accomplish, and we execute with a sense of urgency”.