Is your sales team a bunch of Cowboys or a single Organism?
Before you answer that question, allow me to define those two terms real quick:
Cowboys – Independent operators who are aggressive, motivated and controlling. Cowboys consider other sales people within their organizations as a potential threat and are not keen on sharing information. Sales Managers are given information on a need to know basis. Cowboys have the latest cars and can’t wait to close that next big deal so they can trade it and upgrade to the newest model. Organisms would call Cowboys selfish with complete disregard for others and no sense of the meaning of the word "team" – all Cowboys care about are points on the board.
Organisms – A coordinated, amorphous team that is sensing and providing feedback in a collaborative and
mutually beneficial manner. Organisms are flexible and put the health of the sales team and company in front of the individual representative. Organisms ooze trust and cooperation. Organisms but a high value on teaming up, consultation and sharing the fruits of the collective labor. Cowboys would call Organisms naive and argue that Organisms are living in some sort of dream world that can never survive in a real business.
Don’t forget about the role of incentives – There is a valid point that the incentive structure defines the type of team. Commissions are often what sales representatives fight for (or share) on an individual (or collective) basis. However, incentives arguably should reinforce the type of team a company wants to encourage, not be the defining aspect of the entire sales organization affecting the day-to-day modus operandi of the sales team. Incentives do play a key role of pushing a team more towards becoming a Cowboy or an Organism and deserve a close look.
We talk to a lot of sales organizations here at PipelineDeals. We constantly try and balance the sales reps need for autonomy with the executives need for visibility. As PipelineDeals evolves, we are looking at ways of how to best serve and empower both types of sales teams via our CRM software. The Internet and Technology can be bent to serve both types of teams. however, if you truly believe in sales teams as organisms you can do some pretty amazing synthesizing of information and you can do equally amazing things to enable the Cowboy. Our customers aren’t shy, so feel free to comment or drop us an email. I am interested to hear if the PipelineDeals customer base of sales teams, from our 1 seat accounts all the way up to our 300 seaters, consider themselves more like Cowboys or Organisms.