Building Great Sales Partnerships

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Building Great Sales Partnerships

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No one finds success on their own in sales.

Whether it’s a great customer success team, marketing department, or even a distribution channel spread across the country, it takes a team to sell and deliver great products and services.

But how do we get folks that don’t report to us ‘on our team’? How do we get them to see themselves (and us) as essential to success?

To learn the answer to that question, we sat down with Shawn Breaux, a sales manager with Central Spine and former Navy Corpsman. He leveraged his experiences in the military and as a sales manager who works with distributors in other companies to show us how we can build great sales partnerships with everyone we rely on for success.

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T-Trigger: Shawn recommended we trigger this system by focusing on the individuals before the sale. If we approach our role with them as a force multiplier instead of someone asking them for a favor, folks will be more likely to want to be part of our strategy.

A central element of this trigger is discovering what their goals are as they define them, and what they’ve tried in the past. We also want to know what their plan is to find their definition of success (if they have a plan!) and where they think they’re falling short.

Each of those elements will allow you to understand what motivates this potential ‘team member’, so that we can work in tandem with them to help them become more successful, and want to align with our success too.

R-Repeatable: To make it repeatable, Shawn says to ensure you start by taking one of the needs of your potential partner and asking what you can do to help them address it. That may be a solution you can provide or connection to someone in your network.

Second, line up the resources you’re bringing to help your partner. Keep in mind you may have to create some of these resources from scratch, so allow yourself the time to coordinate their creation so you can efficiently deliver them to your potential team member.

Third, work with your potential partner to build a plan of attack to use the resources you’re created or compiled. Like a great coach, you’re not doing the work but instead preparing your partner for the highest level of success.

Fourth, establish the accountabilities you can with your partner so you can ensure they’re committed to walking the journey of success with you. Depending on your relationship, the accountability may be as firm as quotas and activity or simply check-in appointments to see how you can help down the road.

I-Improvable: To improve the way you’re building great sales partnerships, Shawn says to assess whether you are interacting with this potential partner and their team in the way you want to. If this person sees you as a resource that’s in their corner, that’s great! However, if they’re perceiving you as a distraction from their success, then you’ll want to re-assess your plan and redirect your efforts to your partner’s actual version of success.

M-Measurable: While you can absolutely measure how successfully you’re building sales partnerships with standard metrics like closed business and quotes issued, Shawn said partnerships are better measured by how much you’re motivating your partners. You can use the same metrics you use to track sales activity such as conversations, activity and engagement to determine if you and your partners are truly on the same team.

Even if you’re not managing everyone partner on your team, you can still be a critical part of their (and your) success!

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