How to Win Over a Sales Team & Get Them Engaged in the Numbers as an Advisor
Posted on 28th April 2017 in Advisory
Written by Jane Aylwin
Jane Aylwin is the Founder, and has been the driving force at Added Perspective since it opened its office doors in 2004. She champions providing plain spoken and dependable advice to small business owners. So, in this blog we’ve asked Jane for her expertise in winning over a sales team – and getting them engaged in their clients’ numbers.
Two worlds colliding
As a firm, we love to work in the creative space – we love creative and digital marketing agencies. We especially love working with creative and digital marketing agencies with a young, ambitious and energetic team.
However, for some reason, this demographic just doesn’t seem to want to hang out with your average accountancy advisor – I never got it, I mean why would you not want to listen to us drone on about KPIs and look at lists of numbers a month or two (sometimes even three) old, that we are unable to explain in anything other than the two hour lecture we’ve always delivered… rather than go surfing?
Finding common ground
After more than ten years operating in this sector, we’ve tried many solutions to this problem and few of them have been received with enthusiasm, until we found FUTRLI.
If you read my earlier blog you’ll know that I struggled a little back in the early days with the full functionality of FUTRLI (we’re well over that now), however what we did use it for, and always loved about the software, is the way it integrates with the tracking categories we use in our cloud accounting system.
Very early on we began to see how we could change the relationship with our target clients by offering them a straightforward, visual, real time board where they could see at a glance how they were performing – as a team, in each department, against each other and against the company’s overall targets.
By adopting some basic VAK principles and applying these (in a shamelessly general way) to an industry that is, by and large, highly visual, we were able to create engagement and excitement in people who had barely been able to keep their eyes open in previous meetings!
Creating creative engagement
By building visual boards that had laser focus only on the precise information that was required and absolutely nothing else, and making them real-time so that as sales are made and projects completed the reports show results immediately, we were able to involve the whole team in the numbers and get them excited about it.
The comparison boards are great for generating a keen sense of competition, especially between sales teams – it’s always the sales teams that respond the most enthusiastically to the boards, and having these openly visible in a sales office definitely increases productivity, and of course sales!
One small step for Added Perspective, one giant leap for the accounting profession?
We believe that what sets us apart in this creative space is our determination to not just understand the different ways in which different people process information, but to leverage it to bring teams together and start to feel a little passion, and ownership, about the numbers that are theirs – whatever they may be.
Using the VAK learning principles, and other profiling techniques, even in the very broad-brush way we have done in the past, enables us to understand the needs of the individuals within an organisation, rather than just the overriding needs of the organisation itself.
The next level is to incorporate some profiling within our strategic sessions, so we can be absolutely confident that what we are producing is right for the end users. The trouble with many accounting professionals is that the focus is often on the organisation as a whole, and the traditional reporting styles used rarely speak to all stakeholders below board level (and often not the stakeholders at board level either).
We made a decision in 2014 that we would be different and we would try very hard to communicate and engage with our clients, and the individuals on every level within an organisation, in ways that would resonate and enable collaboration across the organisation. However, that was easier said than done. I was as stuck in my traditional spreadsheets as everyone else and while I could create some charts and graphs within excel that covered off the visual board level reporting we were doing, this was not real-time and it was not available in a live view (I was too scared it would get broken!). It was therefore not available across any level, let alone multiple departments and teams all looking for something specific, simple and above all, useful for them.
Along came FUTRLI
As luck would have it, we were not the only ones thinking this way – it is not just the professionals within the accounting industry that are set in their ways. Traditional software was always very restrictive and didn’t allow for a huge amount of visual output, at least not in a flexible way that delivered exactly the information required, and nothing else.
FUTRLI gives us exactly what we were looking for – clear, visual reporting with choice of display, content and control over who we share the information with. We have the ability to use one set of data to create multiple reports across multiple boards to be shared with the right people, in the right way with the right content – a huge time saver for us and a massive value-add for our clients, and their teams. At last!