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6 steps to agile sales

Agile Sales
Topics
What is meant by agile sales?
What is agile sales management?
Why is agile sales important?
How to incorporate agile methodology into sales
Final thoughts: Agile sales make you future-proof

Adaptability is the key to successful sales in today’s ever-changing globalized environment.

Sales strategies continuously evolve, and what works one month may become outdated and irrelevant to current trends and customer needs the next month. Agile sales processes ensure that sales teams remain effective and competitive.

Agile sales is an approach designed to keep sales teams flexible and competitive. Let’s look at how this agile sales methodology works and its benefits – especially for sales reps.


What is meant by agile sales?

Agility originated in software development, where rapid innovations and unpredictable developments require teams to react quickly.

Using methods like Scrum and Kanban, teams organize themselves, becoming leaner and more flexible, enabling faster project implementation. Doing so allows them to quickly identify potential pain points and collaboratively find solutions.

Agile sales build on this principle. Although not all methods from IT can be applied to sales teams, some can be very effective. For example, using Kanban boards can improve team collaboration and increase effectiveness. Scrum sales methods are also becoming increasingly popular among sales professionals, particularly in smaller companies, according to Digital.ai’s 17th State of Agile Report.

Percentage of companies that have adopted agile principles and practices


What is agile sales management?

Agile sales management is all about applying agile principles and agile frameworks to the sales process to make it more adaptable, efficient and customer-focused. This agile sales model helps sales teams stay ahead in a competitive market.

It encourages continuous improvement, regular communication and a proactive approach to meeting customer needs, ultimately leading to a more dynamic and competitive sales operation.

Benefits of agile sales management

Agile sales teams offer several advantages that can transform their effectiveness.

By incorporating agile principles, sales operations become more responsive to market changes and better aligned with customer needs, enhancing the overall customer experience. Agile sales techniques provide a structured way to adapt and thrive.

Here are some key benefits of adopting agile sales management and agile sales processes.

Increased responsiveness

Agile sales management allows sales teams to respond quickly to market and customer needs changes, ensuring they stay competitive.

Enhanced collaboration

Frequent communication and collaboration among team members lead to better teamwork and collective problem-solving.

Higher customer satisfaction

Companies can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by focusing on customer needs and swiftly delivering personalized solutions, improving customer interaction.

Improved efficiency

Breaking down tasks into manageable sprints and continuously evaluating performance helps optimize processes and increase efficiency.

Why is agile sales important?

Regardless of your industry, nearly all businesses face the pressure of constantly evolving challenges, demands and customer expectations.

Deep changes at all levels have become a necessity rather than an option. To stay competitive, companies must overcome slow, lengthy organizational processes and implement agile sales processes to ensure adaptability.

The same applies to purchasing processes: customers no longer rely solely on a sales team for advice. They can find information online independently with just a few clicks, discovering alternatives and comparing offers.

The traditional sales process, with its longer preparation times and multiple steps, often doesn’t align with this behavior. Traditional sales approaches must evolve to meet modern expectations. Customers primarily expect two things:

  • Speed. Companies should provide information at any time with minimal friction and respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.

  • Individuality. Customers want to feel personally recognized and taken seriously. They expect products to be tailored to their specific needs.

Sales teams face the challenge of being more customer-centric than ever, empathetically engaging with each person while remaining quick and dynamic. Agile methods are perfectly suited to achieving this balance, providing a robust agile approach and improving the customer journey.


How to incorporate agile methodology into sales

If you want to make your sales agile, there are some principles to consider:

  • Tasks are broken down into short-term, intermediate goals – also known as sprints.

  • All team members exchange ideas and information frequently and regularly to stay motivated, inspire each other and find solutions to challenges, ensuring the sales organization operates smoothly. This collaboration is particularly beneficial for sales reps.

  • Flexibility in adjusting plans is highly encouraged.

  • Decisions are made strategically based on data and facts.

With these guidelines in mind, you can start implementing the first agile sales processes. Follow these five steps for the best results and to streamline your sales cycle.

1. Create a backlog

There should be a kickoff meeting with the entire sales team at the beginning. During this meeting, everyone collectively sets the goal and divides it into subprojects and small tasks. These are recorded and organized in the backlog.

Ideally, a Scrum Master should be appointed – a person responsible for keeping the backlog up to date who acts as a point of contact if any sales professionals face issues.

Next, there should be a decision about which subgoals the team members should focus on during the first sprint. A sprint should last a maximum of one to two weeks and result in a tangible outcome.

2. Implement daily scrum meetings for the team

Once the first sprint starts, the team should hold daily standup meetings – known as daily scrum meetings – every morning.

In these stand-ups, each team member provides a status update, sharing what they accomplished yesterday, what they plan to do today and any difficulties they anticipate.

This fosters accountability, as everyone in the team knows the goals and looks forward to hearing the progress the next day.

3. Track progress

Tracking numbers and data is crucial in agile sales. This allows the team to learn from each sprint and progressively develop better sales strategies, helping sales managers make informed decisions and ensuring constant iteration and improvement.

Keep all goals, intermediate goals and sub-tasks clearly organized, using, for example, a Kanban board. CRM software like Pipedrive can be used to evaluate the individual stages and record insights.

4. Perform a sprint review

A review should be conducted at the end of each sprint. During this session, each sales professional shares their results and experiences, incorporating feedback from customers to improve future strategies.

  • What worked well?

  • Which strategies proved particularly successful and why?

  • What difficulties were encountered and what potential solutions could address them?

5. Stay flexible

Remember why agile methodology is gaining popularity: the world has become more complex and constantly changing in recent years and sales forecasts are often difficult to make.

As a result, things often go differently than initially planned. Prepare for this from the start and strive to react quickly to new situations and data. Embracing agile practices will help your team stay adaptable and responsive.


Final thoughts: Agile sales make you future-proof

By maintaining high levels of agility, companies can quickly respond to new trends, challenges and customer requirements.

This approach fosters continuous improvement and innovation, keeping your sales strategies relevant and effective. Ultimately, it enhances flexibility and competitiveness in an ever-changing business landscape.

Further education of salespeople in agile sales management is definitely worthwhile. Agile sales teams don’t need to replace traditional sales methods but can effectively complement and expand on them, providing sales managers with more versatile tools to lead their teams.

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