What is team selling?
Team selling is a sales strategy that involves two-plus members of an organization working together to win business. For example, Marketing, Sales, and Sales Support may collaborate to close a major account. Team selling is a fundamental aspect of account-based sales.
Would you be interested in a skill that could accelerate your sales knowledge, improve your confidence, and double your closing percentage? I thought so.
Lots of salespeople pride themselves on being lone wolves. They think of themselves as a rogue cowboy or astronaut who goes out into the wild alone and brings back deals alone. It’s a hard, lonely road but someone has to do it, and maybe you think you have the motivation, skills, and experience to execute your deals by yourself.
But guess what? Sales isn’t about you. Inbound sales is all about the customer, and the sales process works best as a team sport. Every modern salesperson should be taking advantage of team selling.
What is team selling?
Team selling is working with a colleague -- a BDR, a customer support rep, your manager, a coach, or an executive to help close a deal.
Why does team selling work?
Two salespeople are always better than one because collaboration creates more options. Would you rather do your calculus homework alone or in a group setting? It's the same with sales. Getting multiple people to review the process, understand the current situation, and work together towards a positive outcome has huge advantages.
How does team selling work?
Understand that your company doesn’t pay you to run the closing process by yourself. It pays you to bring in business, and if having someone on calls with you helps you bring in business faster, you should do it. Here’s how.
1) Identify the part of the sales process you’re going to tap your team for.
Different parts of the sales process are suited to different roles. Here’s a breakdown of each step of the sales process, along with a role you could tap to team sell with:
- Prospecting: Sales development representatives
- Discovery calls: Salesperson or your manager
- Demo call: Sales engineer, salesperson, or your manager
- Closing call: Sales engineer, salesperson, or your manager
There is no set definition of who to bring on and during which phase. The idea is to select a team selling partner who will deliver the relevant message most effectively and in a way that accelerates your relationship with your prospect.
2) Define the role each of you will have on the call.
In most cases, you want one central person to lead. This person is dictated by the goal of your call and your expectations of the prospect. For example, if it’s a technical call, your sales engineer might lead. The person who acts as a leader sets the agenda, asks the questions, and controls the call. The supporting person can participate on certain questions when their expertise is relevant, but should generally remain in the background.
The supporting role can listen, takes specific notes, chat ideas directly to the lead, or just act as an extra set of ears to make sure the prospect is on track.
3) Pull together an agenda for the call.
Just like you set agendas with your prospects before sales calls, set an agenda with your selling partner before you get on the phone. Define who will say what -- from the introduction to rapport-building. Outline your goal for the call, the scheduled length of the call, and how the prospect relationship is going. Brief your teammate on the personalities involved, where the sale is currently at, and any subjects to stress or avoid.
The night before your meeting, send a quick briefing update with the link to the prospect’s LinkedIn, company website, any notes in your CRM, the goals of the call, and the agenda. Make sure your teammate reviews the information before the call.
4) On the call, follow your agenda.
First, introduce your team member at the top of the call. You should have already determined who will provide your team member’s 30-second summary of their background and relevance to this call.
Then, explain why you’re bringing someone else on, if your teammate won’t be a silent helper. Highlight the reasons why this will be good for your prospect (a special area of expertise, for example).
Finally, follow your agenda.
5) After the call is complete, recap the call internally.
Discuss what went well and poorly with your team members. Take advantage of the multiple perspectives you have at your disposal to formulate next steps together. Copy everybody in your follow-up recap email to your prospect so they can reach out directly if they have questions and your whole team is looped in in the event you need to have subsequent calls.
You ignore team selling at your own peril. Your colleagues are some of the best assets you have, so you shouldn’t hesitate to use them. Never lose alone again.