The sales world is changing fast. The tools and tactics that got the job done 10 years ago don’t stand a fighting chance of enabling sales or closing deals in today’s market.
Staying competitive in sales means understanding changes in the customer journey and adjusting strategy accordingly. This methodology is what agile sales is all about.
“The move to agile means that accountability and transparency are back in and talking trendy nonsense etherial sales concepts is out!”
— Mike Weinberg, speaker, consultant and author of two #1 Amazon Bestsellers
Let’s talk about what it means, how it works, and how to implement it.
Agile methodology defined
The agile method originated in the software world as a means to streamline the software development process. Because of the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of IT, traditional “waterfall” processes were proving ineffective.
The agile movement was designed to respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences and empirical feedback.
To understand this concept more clearly, take a look at the main differences between a traditional “waterfall” sales process and an agile process:
Agile sales management explained
So, how does agile management relate to sales?
On a fundamental level, the agile approach helps teams work more quickly; minimize waste; and deliver better, faster results. For a sales team, this means zeroing in on smaller, more immediate goals; addressing feedback and issues in real time; and adapting to evolving needs.
This agile approach of constant iteration uses real-time, empirical data to analyze and improve sales-team processes. As a result, reps maintain the flexibility to use targeted and personalized sales tactics to adapt to a changing market and stay competitive.
“When applied to sales, core agile principles like accountability, measurement and continuous iteration can up-level not only sales performance but also organizational stability, effectiveness and contentment as a whole.”
— John Barrows, expert sales trainer and advocate
Ultimately, the results speak for themselves, with data showing that agile projects are 2X more likely to succeed than those managed using waterfall approaches. Not to mention, the agile approach has been adopted by a number of leading organizations, including State Farm, Airbnb, Google, Microsoft, Bank of America, Xerox, Amazon, and McKinsey, just to name a few.
The benefits of agile sales management
Sales has changed drastically in the last few years. Today’s sales professionals — along with their customers — grew up with the internet and constant access to information. Agile sales allows reps to adapt their strategy to meet those customers at the right stage in their new buying journey.
“Because any process that includes human beings is non-linear, it’s more important than ever to view our sales processes as non-linear, and to use a dynamic, agile process that serves both us and our clients in making change.”
— Anthony Iannarino, international speaker, author, and owner of The Sales Blog
Additionally, customer relation management (CRM) software has created an enormous opportunity for sales teams to problem-solve and meet goals faster and more efficiently. CRMs are used to document every customer interaction (good or bad) in detail in order to expedite learnings and discovery to support the release of rapid, data-driven optimizations.
The rise of agile sales
Agile sales is rapidly being implemented in more and more teams as an alternative to outdated traditional sales tactics. In fact, a recent agile survey of more than 2,000 professionals found that nearly one-fourth of respondents using the agile approach came from industries outside IT, including sales and marketing. Additionally, 87% of survey respondents agreed that agile methodology is improving the quality of work life for their teams.
Implementing agile sales management in your organization
While not every component of agile may work for your sales organization, it’s worth investing the time to identify ways that agile values can move your sales team forward.
In partnership with Ambition, LeadGenius, and LearnCore, the following guide explores 10 key agile management principles to help guide you when adapting and implementing this methodology across your sales force, as well as some strategies you can put into place to facilitate the transition.
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