We tend to think of sales as one person going out, forming a relationship, and earning the sale. It’s often a lot more complex than this though, and sometimes, you need to make use of the expertise of your colleagues to get the deal across the line.
Team selling is the perfect way to maximize the resources at your disposal, and it’s particularly useful for getting those big deals over the line.
Team selling brings together multiple employees with different skill sets to help achieve sales goals. The products and services you sell are multifaceted, and sometimes your sales efforts need to draw on the expertise of multiple employees from different departments.
For example, if you’re selling a highly technical product, your salesperson will have a basic working knowledge of it, but do they understand the nitty-gritty technical workings of it? When you have a huge potential client approaching the buying decision from a technical standpoint, then it makes sense to bring in someone with an engineering background as part of team selling.
This could mean bringing someone from customer success, or R&D on the sales call to handle technical questions. Not only does this mean you can better address your prospects’ pain points, but it also shows how much you value the potential client.
The B2B buying process often involves a buyer committee made up of employees from different disciplines. Each one will approach the process with a strong focus on their particular area of expertise. If you’re a single salesman, this means you will be answering questions from experts in specific areas, and you may not have the breadth of knowledge to do this.
In these cases, team selling can be a huge advantage, allowing you to match the skillsets of the buyer committee with your own team of experts.
Who you involve in your team selling will depend on the makeup of your company.
Larger companies will have a revenue center, made up of sales, customer success, marketing, sales development, sales engineers, and executives. These businesses are ready-made for team selling because they’ve got all the skill sets they need, it’s just about bringing them together at the right times.
For smaller businesses, it’s a little bit more tricky. When you take someone out of the warehouse to help you with a sales call, then you’re taking capacity away from the warehouse. This means you’ve got to be more strategic about when you use team selling.
Since team selling can be a drain on your resources, it’s best to save it for the most important deals. These are the ones where it’s worth offering that extra level of personalization to get the deal over the line, and the future value of the deal is worth the temporary strain team selling might put on your resources.
When it’s clear that you’ve taken the time to bring a representative from your sales, marketing, and customer success teams, then it’s going to make a huge impression on the client.
Your sales development representatives and business development representatives are the first point of contact with clients. Through their outreach, SDRs and BDRs are constantly getting their foot in the door with new prospects and sorting the hot leads from the cold ones.
Often, people in these positions aim for volume, opening the conversation with prospects before moving them on. However, there are going to be times when more prolonged contact is needed, and this is a time when team selling can be useful.
SDRs and BDRs can benefit greatly from team selling, using collaboration to help guide prospects through the customer journey.
A key aspect of this is building relationships with other employees in your business. If you’ve got good relationships with people in other departments, then they’re much more likely to help you out. If you can make team selling beneficial for everyone, then there’s a much better chance you’ll be able to pull it off.
Account executives are perfectly placed to leverage team selling.
They should have a good understanding of the prospects’ pain points and potential value to the business. This means they can quickly weigh up the merits of using a team selling approach for each client.
When you’re met with objections, sometimes the best way to reassure someone is to refer them to the expert. Take software for example. The salesperson may have all the knowledge they need to demonstrate how the client can quickly implement their software. However, the client doesn’t want to hear it from someone in sales, and they can be much more reassured if you patch them through to someone onboarding.
You’ve got to understand that the person in onboarding has their own job to do, so the key issue is understanding when to use this technique. When used well, team selling can be an excellent way to get a prospect over the line by utilizing the expert knowledge in your business.
People, and by extension, businesses like to feel valued. When a VP of Sales takes an active role in a sale, it shows the prospect that you value them highly.
This form of team selling can be particularly effective if a strategic account has fallen out of your pipeline. A VP can use LinkedIn to reach out to a mutual contact within the company and open a dialogue. They may approach it from a perspective of getting feedback with a message like “I saw you were interested in our product but it didn’t quite work out. I was wondering if there is anything we missed in the sales process or anything our sales reps could have done better?”
At worst, your prospect ignores the message, but you will get plenty of feedback, and on occasion, you will be able to use this touchpoint to bring people back into the sales pipeline. Selling is a process, and VPs can use team selling to get accurate feedback about where that process can be improved.
The higher the level an employee has, the more authority they bring to the sales pitch, so it can be well worth bringing a VP in through team selling for the biggest clients.
Businesses bring diverse skill sets together. Sometimes, you need to bring these skills together to make the sale, and this is what team selling focuses on.
Not every client is right for a team selling approach, but when you’ve got a big prospect who needs a little extra to get them over the line, it can be the ideal approach. Team selling can stretch your resources though, so make sure you’re implementing it on a case-by-case basis and maximizing its effectiveness.
Businesses are stronger when their departments work together, and sales is no different.