COLLABORATIVE - Leverages an internal network to sell more and better

COLLABORATIVE - Leverages an internal network to sell more and better

“This award isn’t really mine” said Aarti, Senior Institutional Relationship Manager.

HRL Agro was celebrating the signing of a giant deal for distribution of its crop protection solutions and advisory support services pan India through XYZ Ltd . E- Extravagansa, they called it. Awards and citations had been sent already. Aarti, Institutional Relationship Manager had sourced the account.

Close to a year of work had gone into bringing this deal to closure.

Alok, CEO of HRL Agro beamed at the webcam:

“Let me take a moment Aarti to set the context. We could have met up for a bash, if conditions had been better. That said, things have never been better for HRL than now. We are one of those fortunate companies to have been spared by the Covid induced crisis.

In fact, our advisory services are found valuable by our Customers in identifying strategies to mitigate the disruption caused by the pandemic. It is generally good news all over. Monsoon has been near normal, demand for crop protection products has been strong, minimum support prices have been stable or have gone up benefiting our end Customers. Policy interventions by government offering rural employment guarantee and subsidies for agri inputs have been positives for our sector.

Now the best news of all , we have got into a large distribution deal with XYZ that dominates the Indian market. Aarti made it possible by working non stop with XYZ’ s people over a full year. She became the automatic choice for the HRL Salesperson of the Year.

Aarti, please tell us what it took to make that deal happen”

“Sir, this award should belong to Hashim from Research and Rego from Operations.

It’s only when I started creating a proposal for XYZ, did I realise that I can’t handle this alone. There were so many specialty products and sector related questions for which I didn’t have answers. When I asked Hashim for help, he not only added technical components to the proposal that made a big impression on XYZ people, he even came with me for discussions with XYZ. His explanations for their queries and doubts were so good, I was worried that they may steal him from us.

Then the deal seemed to hit another speed breaker when an all India supply chain had to be created. I was totally clueless. Hashim suggested we take Rego from Ops along with us. Rego heard them out patiently and stitched a supply chain that will deliver seamlessly at all their locations. That was it. They were blown away.

I asked their Procurement Head a few days back what made them go with us. I’ll not forget what he told me – “We have never seen such a collaborative sales effort where people outside sales also jump in. It has raised our trust in you as a company. With that kind of collaboration, we believe you will be not one more supplier but an all weather ally for us”

With Alok Sir’s permission I would like to share this award with Hashim and Rego”

Top sales performers are collaborative and work cross functionally with specialists from other functions to crack large and complex deals. They create, sustain and leverage a network of specialists who can support their sales efforts.

In highly specialized industries and businesses, especially larger ones, building a large internal network, underwrites the success of a salesperson. There are 4 reasons why this works all the time and across all complex businesses –

  1. Collaborative working exposes you to more ideas from across the business, making you more knowledgeable over time
  2. Collaborative way of functioning gets you easier and quicker access to expertise when needed
  3. You have more context about whatever is happening within your company and in the Customer’s place, when you constantly collaborate with other functions
  4. Customers experience a greater degree of assurance and comfort when buying from collaborative supplier teams, rather than dealing with a collection of standalone experts. This was the game changer for HRL Agro in our story.

Top notch sales professionals use 5 distinctive strategies to collaborate for selling more and better:

  1. They prioritize quality over quantity - Quality of the internal relationships would mean more than the quantity and Customers can sense it
  2. They measure collaborative relationship quality with the barometers of frequency and intimacy – To establish a meaningful relationship, you should be interacting not only frequently but also do so in a compact group. Your interactions must be with multiple specialists, frequently on specific, separate issues or threads in order to create a large internal network for yourself
  3. They make time for building a network – Creating an internal network you can rely on takes time and effort.
  4. They seek and get more exposure to senior leadership – Giving yourself more exposure to senior leadership is closely connected to sales success. This also broadens your vision and understanding of issues
  5. They bond with sales support but don’t overdo it – While cordial relationships with sales support is good for positive sales outcomes, excessive dependence on them may not be good for developing your own skills

Collaborative sales professionals are way more successful than their peers as they live by Ken Blanchard’s maxim -“None of us is as smart as all of us”

Action Question: With whom and how can you collaborate to improve your chances of winning the next large deal?

Related Reading:  Mercuri In Essence document 3 Secrets to transform your sales from good to great

About the series: This is the 45th in a series of 100 Posts that purport to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


44.PROSPECTS: Constantly looks for more new Customers to sell to

Are you waiting for your Prospects to show up on your mobiles? Are you reaching out to them proactively? In tough times like this, the winners go all out digging for their diamonds. How?

September 04, 2020Read more


46.SHREWD: Helps Customers make discerning choices through quick hard headed thinking

As a Sales Person, do you match your Customers with your quick thinking and your even more discerning approach? Here's how you can ...

September 04, 2020Read more