Team selling – more prevalent, more important and as difficult as ever

Team selling

Team selling

In major accounts there are a number of different strategic situations where a team sale is preferred.  The salesperson might want to bring along someone from top management either because of the purpose of the meeting or because of who is attending from the customer’s side.

Another common situation is when the salesperson is engaged in a long sales cycle and given the call’s agenda brings a person with expertise in a specific area such as: technical support, manufacturing, or customer service.

Do these situations sound familiar? These types of situations are becoming increasingly more common because the customers are looking for their suppliers to provide the expertise need to creatively address their challenges.

The growth in team selling comes not only from customer demands but also from the increased complexity of the sale, as well as, customers using teams. Customer teams often take the form of buying committees or purchasing teams.

The classic trap in situations like these is not having a team attending the meeting. Instead, it’s just two people who happen to be in the same room at the same time.

To avoid this trap, we’ve found these eight best practices to be helpful:

  • Successful teams have a compelling clear vision of the sales team’s purpose that is shared by everyone on the team.
  • Everyone must believe there is benefit to the company – and to them personally – for working as a team.
  • All of the roles to succeed are represented on the sales team and each team member is clear about their role in the team and the expectations.
  • The sales team members recognize talent alone does not guarantee team success. Attitude is critical. Positive attitudes can lead to a sales team performing at its peak; bad attitudes can rip a team apart.
  • There is a team leader. Without a leader, all teams can lose their way.
  • Sales teams often struggle making poor decisions, no decisions, or decisions by edict – led by the loudest voice – because they have no processes in place.  Successful sales teams adopt or create their own team processes that guide how they operate.
  • Successful sales teams adjust, adapt, and keep track. They make effective strategic adjustments as the sales team’s collective knowledge grows and insights are gained from the customer.
  • Last, without trust, the team members don’t believe they can count on each other. Sales teams like these cannot possibly achieve their shared purpose. Trust is not something that automatically happens automatically.

Want to take a deeper dive into team selling? Take a look at this Team Selling

Team Selling Infographic

Team Selling Infographic

Infographic from The Whale Hunters for more best practices around team selling in major accounts.


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©2014 Sales Momentum®

About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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