By Mark C. Layton, David Morrow

Scrum can be used as part of the sales process. Successful salespeople are exceptional listeners and have keen observation skills. One goal is to discover prospects’ problems and then show how the product or service solves those problems. To make this connection, a salesperson needs to establish a relationship based on trust. People buy things from people they know and trust.

Scrum selling is about gaining trust through teamwork. The supporting players may include presales, business development, account executives, field engineers, installers, inside sales and support, and service people. Any combination of these people can make up a scrum team and swarm to synchronize communication, supporting the effort to get the client to sign a deal. Swarming activities might revolve around the following:

  • Preparing for a trade show
  • Following up with trade-show leads
  • Developing time-bound proposals to potential solutions for a sales pitch to out-class the competition
  • Saving an at-risk sale by brainstorming and prioritizing action items

Sales cycles are more successful when a potential consumer or business is pulled toward a product or solution as opposed to responding to a pure outbound “cold call” approach. Pull strategies involve content marketing, webinars, trade shows, and social media marketing.

The scrum sales process is high-touch and commonsense. It mirrors the roadmap to value as follows:

  1. Vision

    Example: Grow gross sales in Dallas by 20 percent this fiscal year by increasing the company’s social media presence and analytics. Follow up with a personal phone call or email to everyone who provides contact information.

  2. Product roadmap (high-level) and product backlog (broken down)

    Example: High-level and low-level lists of changes are needed to make the vision a reality, such as

    • Sales strategy development
    • Acquisition of tools
    • Development of collateral
    • Sales process development and fine-tuning
    • Execution needed for specific deals in the process
    • Assigning key (detailed) social media sites to a team member
    • Finding a tool for tracking sales funnels that the team will use
    • Defining such reporting processes as analytics workflows
  3. Release planning

    Example: Prioritize backlog items by month and/or quarter.

  4. Sprint planning

    Example: As a team, create tasks and assignments for the backlog items.

  5. Sprint

    Example: Hold daily stand-up meetings to coordinate swarming tasks for the day and identify impediments.

  6. Sprint review

    Example: Demonstrate to the stakeholders (such as the vice president of sales) that the sprint is complete (the Facebook page is operational, for example, or mailing lists of past customers are compiled).

  7. Sprint retrospective

    Example: Review what worked well and facilitate knowledge transfer. Service/installation people are learning how new customers are being acquired, for example, which helps them continue the company messaging that leads to the sale.