Sell, win, share: How 4 Chicago sales teams balance competition with collaboration

by Alton Zenon III
November 28, 2018

Sales can sometimes seem like a dog-eat-dog world, with everyone chasing individual goals and successes. But when a team of deal closers works together with shared goals, the results can be tremendous. We asked four Chicago sales leaders how they balance that collaboration with their teams’ natural instincts for competition.

 

Cisco Meraki team posing with Chicago flag
image via cisco meraki

Cisco Meraki provides small and large businesses with a variety of cloud-based IT solutions, including endpoint management, security cameras and wireless local area networks. Inside Sales Manager for Latin America Julia Monroy-Gnaedig said collaboration, both within the sales team and across other departments, sets her team up for success. 

 

How do members of your team balance collaboration with friendly competition? 

Transparency, common goals and diverse skills keep my team working together while in friendly competition. Teamwork is our core value, and our daily activities are mostly done in small groups. If that’s not the case, we are constantly sharing best practices. For example, during each team meeting, we have one person share and present a successful activity they completed on their own. The team sees better results when they work together and win together. And a diverse set of skills makes everyone unique and valuable to the team.

The team sees better results when they work together and win together.”

 

What qualities make someone successful on your team?

The most successful members on my team are those who are great team players, organized and hardworking. People who connect with different departments in order to achieve their goals and who go the extra mile are very successful. They understand the value of including cross-functional teams in their initiatives in order to have a positive impact and better results.

 

ShipBob team posing for photo
image via shipbob

ShipBob offers tech-enabled shipping and logistics services to e-commerce companies. Co-founder and Senior Director of Sales Anthony Watson said granting visibility into sales performance statistics encourages friendly competition among members of his team.

 

How do members of your team balance collaboration with friendly competition?

A core value of our revenue organization is transparency. By building a transparent metrics-, data- and results-driven organization, we have the opportunity to have inter-team competition. The roles on our team are unlike many sales roles in that we are collaborating daily with product, operations, merchant success and every other team here to ensure our clients are set up for success. Camaraderie is the glue that holds this place together, and I am humbled daily with the entire company’s willingness to collaborate and get creative to solve some really complex problems.

Ask as many questions as you can and sink yourself into as many problem-solving situations as you can.”

 

What qualities make someone successful on your team?

Humility: The most successful salespeople are humble enough to ask for help and say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I might not be right.’ Resilience: Sales can be a taxing job, but I know the toughest days are where I, the team and the company grow the most. Being curious enough to ask questions, especially when new to a company or position, is half the battle. Whatever role you jump into next, ask as many questions as you can and sink yourself into as many problem-solving situations as you can.

 

Paro team members standing behind birthday cake
image via paro

Paro is platform that links freelance finance professionals like CFOs, CPAs and bookkeepers with companies in need of on-demand work. Jon Repka, director of growth, said his team balances competitiveness with generosity to achieve their goals.

 

How do members of your team balance collaboration with friendly competition?

Individual performance takes a back seat to a single metric the entire sales team rallies around: aggregating new business revenue. Reps consistently sacrifice personal wins to exceed our team goals. In the last month, one rep handed off a $50,000 deal to a colleague before going on vacation. Another senior team member passed off commission on a new deal so a junior rep could close their first piece of business. However, competition still permeates the team, physically manifested in a record board that hangs above the sales teams’ desks.

Reps consistently sacrifice personal wins to exceed our team goals.”

 

What qualities make someone successful on your team?

The DNA for a successful sales rep at Paro starts with the table stakes required to be a strong performer on most sales teams: discipline, persistence, competitiveness, resilience, organization, etc. 

They must also possess two qualities that are more unique. The first is an extremely high business IQ. The second is a creative approach to problem-solving. Top performers embrace the ambiguity inherent in our clients’ problems and use the flexibility of our model to their advantage, crafting unique service-based solutions every day.

 

Tock team standing for team photo
image via tock

Tock serves restaurants, wineries and bars with reservation, guest and table management systems to enhance the customer experiences. Director of Sales Matt Koehne said incentivizing his sales team via intra-departmental matches and a wearable-trophy are important in keeping everyone working as efficiently as possible. 

 

How do members of your team balance collaboration with friendly competition?

We have frequent sales contests on an individual basis, and our leading producer each month gets possession of a championship belt. But we also call out team wins to the entire organization and hold frequent knowledge transfer sessions where team members share best practices. Given everyone is pursuing the same piece of the pie, it’s vital to find a balance.

A positive attitude coupled with a hunter’s mentality leads to success.”

 

What qualities make someone successful on your team?

We focus on hiring folks who have a competitive spirit, yet are willing to help each other to help the company grow. Passion and a winning mindset are key. We look for salespeople who thrive in a fast-paced environment. A positive attitude coupled with a hunter’s mentality leads to success. Knowledge of our industry and a desire to work with the world’s best chefs and restaurants don’t hurt either.

 

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