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Building a Pitch Perfect Team

Sales Executives

With championship season wrapping up, I thought it would only be appropriate to highlight the universal characteristics of a championship team. However, I won’t talk about the underperforming ‘superstar stacked’ Cleveland Cavaliers or even the perpetual championship-winning Chicago Blackhawks (Go Blues!). I’m going to talk about a team that eclipses them both: the Barden Bellas.

If you haven’t heard of them, then you probably aren’t familiar with Pitch Perfect, or the theater release of its sequel Pitch Perfect 2. Quick overview: it’s a movie about an all-woman a cappella group that crushes it. Why is that relevant? Because finding an a cappella group that has members who match each other flawlessly is much harder than putting together any championship sports team, in my opinion.

So, with that in mind, I want to share three characteristics about the Barden Bellas that are crucial parts of building an all-star team:

1. You all must align towards a common goal.

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Too often, people want to put together teams where everyone gets along, “hangs out all the time, or are bestfriends in and out of the office. It’s time to burst that bubble. The likelihood that you will create this team is slim to none. The reality is that your time is much better spent seeking out talented individuals who are eager to learn and are willing to buy-in to a common goal. In sales, this means making group goals and objectives, and creating a sense of ownership within each person on the team.

Tying this into the original Pitch Perfect, the Barden Bellas is a team that doesn’t particularly enjoy each others’ company in the beginning. It is only when they find a common dislike of The Treblemakers that they begin to take their focus off of each other and redirect it towards a mutually productive goal. That is the objective of any all-star team; they all have a mutually agreed upon direction and goals.

2. They understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their teammates.

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An a cappella team requires a full spectrum of voices. You don’t need six people who can all hit the high note. You need one person who can hit that high note and five people who can carry the rest of the tune. In Pitch Perfect, this means having a girl like Lily who can barely be heard but is a skilled beatboxer, a girl with an outgoing personality and a booming voice like Fat Amy’s, having a skilled veteran with a chip on her shoulder like Aubrey, and of course an all around all-star like Becca.

In sales, this means finding people who are high in self-awareness. To find this trait you must ask a lot of situational questions in interviews. This also means doing something that most people find difficult: admitting you need help because you suck at something. It’s one thing to be bad at something, it’s completely unacceptable to not try to get better at it. Leverage the people around you to improve your weaknesses and be open to sharing your strengths with others and you will be one step closer to being on an all-star team.

3. They are always kind and honest with each other.

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Believe it or not, this is the hardest part and hence the most crucial. In Pitch Perfect (spoiler alert), this comes out when their team has reached their breaking point. Fat Amy admits to everyone that her name is actually ‘Fat Patricia’ and Aubrey comes to grips with the fact that her need for control makes her projectile vomit.

As Kevin O’Leary said at DRIVE 2015, great salespeople are “not nice, but they are kind” and “they’re always honest and truthful.” That’s from the mouth of a billionaire salesman himself, so need I say anymore? You must be comfortable telling your team your honest opinions, and at the same token also be willing to admit when you’re wrong or just don’t know. That type of vulnerability builds a culture of trust that supports the first two characteristics and solidifies a championship team.

Chisom Uche