Leading the Sales Force of the Future: The Ultimate Guide to Agile Sales Management

Sales is changing – and fast. The tools and tactics that got the job done just ten years ago don’t stand a fighting chance of enabling sales or closing deals today.

Yet despite these new trends and pivotal drivers, many sales teams are still being managed using the “same old” values, frameworks and methodologies. Tracking a sales process in Excel simply won’t cut it when data should be aggregated and analyzed in real-time. Similarly, asking a Millennial to repeat the same call script time and again without giving him the power to make adjustments probably won’t go over so well.

As is often the case with sales, a solution to this challenge can be found within the highly progressive approach of another department – in this case, IT and its use of Agile Development.

Although the term “agile sales management” does not yet have the same traction with B2B sales teams as “agile product development” has with programmers and engineers, it soon will. In fact, a recent agile survey reported that nearly ¼ of respondents came from industries outside of software development and IT. What’s more, 87% of survey respondents agreed that agile methodology is improving the quality of work life for their teams.

So what’s it all about?

Agile Management Explained

According to agilemethodology.org, “The Agile movement seeks alternatives to traditional project management. Agile approaches help teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences and empirical feedback. Agilists propose alternatives to waterfall, or traditional sequential development.”

The ability of agile teams to zero in on smaller, more immediate goals, address feedback and issues in real-time and adapt projects to evolving needs enables them to work more quickly, minimize waste and deliver better results.

Ultimately, the results speak for themselves, with data showing that agile projects are 3X 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.

How Agile Applies to Modern Sales Management

By now you may be wondering: how does any of this translate to sales? Sprints, scrum and iterative development make sense for software, project management and even marketing teams, but they’re not even close to being aligned with how an elite sales team works, right?

Not exactly, if we’re to take advice from today’s top sales management minds:

“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

“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

“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

At the end of the day, agile sales management is simply the core tactics and strategies that define elite, modern-day sales leadership packaged into a single philosophy. It sets forth where to apply flexibility in your management strategies, where to set hard-and-fast ground rules and where to test, measure and refine for lasting improvement.

Implementing Agile Management in Your Sales 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, our new guide explores 10 key agile management principles to help guide you when adapting and implementing this methodology across your sales force, and some strategies you can put into place to facilitate the transition. Download it now for free by clicking the button below!

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