I was doing some work with two different clients in the past week where the concept of the “Red Team” came up in conversation. Rooted in military history, a Red Team is an inside group that explicitly challenges a company’s strategy, products, and preconceived notions. It frames a problem from the perspective of an adversary or skeptic, to find gaps in plans, and to avoid errors. There is very good applicability in our business environments and specifically to sales.

Think about the structure and format of Deal Reviews today. We have built software tools to help solve the large problem that comes from inconsistent process, language and tools used by organizations in Sales Pursuits. Deal Reviews are often viewed negatively depending on the culture because the sales teams come into the proverbial lions den of executives and often get fed to the lions. This may be deserved based on lack of knowledge and preparation, but can be avoided.

There are several embedded challenges. The first is about clarity of expectations, objectives and roles for these types of discussions. In the absence of these elements, you will often get unstructured chaos and conflict. The second is a common structure or set of tools to support the objective. This will help create alignment, consistency and a higher quality outcome.

If you use common tools for the team to tell their story and present their pursuit strategy, then the Red Team can take on the role to ask the team questions to test their understanding of the client, the opportunity and their strategy. This will also help Managers become better coaches as they help teams prepare and then work with the team to filter the advice to adjust their strategy.

Executives take on a more defined and more constructive role. Managers strengthen their coaching skills and Reps learn through the preparation process, the review itself and corresponding strategy adjustment.

Better alignment. Better conversation. Better strategy.

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