In sales, as in life, communication is everything.
However, things get a little more complicated than that when you introduce entire teams into the mix.
That’s why we’ve decided to outline the tactics you can use as a team to build a pipeline and expand your company base.
Teams have strengths that isolated individuals don’t, and we’re going to show you exactly how to leverage them to close even the most complicated deals.
In this article, we’ll focus on helping sales teams successfully collaborate. That alone will help you get more sales.
What is Team selling?
Team selling is a collaborative approach where you develop a sales strategy involving two or more team members working together. The goal is to utilize each team member’s talents and skills to maximize sales. Team selling is about effective communication that leads to successful collaboration in sales, which is either between team members or between different departments in sales.
For this approach, a sales rep will use the help of another member of the sales team. Their collective skills in analyzing a prospect’s pain points help them develop the best solution for specific challenges.
Let us break down team-based selling even further. When an organization sets out to win an account or a sale, there must be two or more people involved. These people will be deployed according to their specialization. The upside is getting a better chance of closing a deal since there will be a pooling of resources and skills.
Why is Team Selling Important?
Any organization that comes up with a sales strategy must have its reasons. To compete favorably in the sales industry, here are the reasons you need to employ team-based selling.
Team Selling Expands the Reach of your Sales
Each member of the team brings their skills. This means that more people have information about a key account. If any problem arises in the sales process, these team members will contribute to getting the most effective solution.
The team selling approach multiplies the attention given to a specific task, which hastens the iterative process in sales. More people will hear about your products or services.
All the opportunities brought about by the product will be mentioned. For this reason, your team will have a competitive advantage allowing you to have a broader scope.
Team Selling Shows your Organization’s Prowess
The combined effort in handling a client’s pain points addresses the challenge at hand, clearly hitting all the required targets. The results become unmatched since the pain points are handled from all perspectives with different team members’ insights.
When the clients get such high-quality treatment, they will always be pleased with your way of working. As a result, your credibility increases, building trust with clients who in turn refer colleagues with similar challenges to you.
If you keep fulfilling your clients’ needs through team-based selling, you get the praise that sets you apart from your competitors.
Team-based Selling Validates Consultative Selling
If you work as a team in helping a client solve a challenge they are facing, they feel heard, valued, and taken care of.
Clients that trust your company will not walk away easily. Instead, the teamwork will build a long-lasting business relationship which will help you maintain professional relationships for long.
With Team Selling, Problem-Solving Becomes Easier
A sales representative who solves every challenge a client encounters is likely to get burnt out fast. When you have a sales team with problem solvers on board, running sales is much more comfortable. The combination of team members’ efforts will help solve a challenge faster in a more efficient manner.
The institutional knowledge that each member of a sales team carries significantly boosts the win rate. This makes the team selling approach a quicker way of improving the buyer’s experience and how their challenges are handled.
What Team Members Are We Looking At
Every member of a sales team has a specific role that drives the performance and progress.
In this article, we’re going to be dealing with the following roles:
Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
If you want to meet your quota, you’re going to need qualified leads. That’s what SDRs are here for.
They are the key people when it comes to lead generation, qualification, and booking meetings with sales-qualified leads for Account Executives.
Account Executives (AEs)
AEs are often considered as the superstars of sales; they close deals.
However, their role reaches farther. They have to create strategies for customer acquisition and negotiate deals that will keep everyone happy.
Customer Success Managers (CSMs)
CSMs make sure that customers are happy and successful. They handle day-to-day communication and intercept problems with the right tactics.
If AEs are responsible for acquiring clients, CSMs are responsible for retaining them.
Solutions Consultant (i.e., Sales Engineer)
Solutions consultants are the technical counterparts of AEs. They get involved in deals when discussions get technical — for instance, when clients want demos, clarifications, or want to talk implementation details.
These four roles are crucial to a sales team.
How to Select Team Members for Team Selling
If you are to make the best out of your sales team, it needs to be strong. Here is how you select team members that will help you achieve your goals.
Go for the best communicators
Communication is at the heart of every business. Sales demand that you have excellent communicators who have impeccable communication skills.
The people you select must know how to listen, understand a message and react to it accordingly. Pick only those who are easy to communicate with and are available when the need arises.
Choose proactive members
For your sales team to be successful, you need proactive people. The activity of every member of your team determines your success rate in sales.
These people you choose should analyze market trends, and design solutions for problems they anticipate will come. Whenever a prospect approaches you with a question, a proactive team will have possible solutions.
Choose people with skills rather than certifications
Don’t get me wrong. Certifications are necessary, but if there are no skills to back these certifications up, then your business will fail. If you hire team members who have no experience or necessary skills, they will slow down your sales process.
Only when they are aligned in pursuit of a common goal can the sales process actually work.
Your Sales Team Is Bigger Than You Think
The majority of salespeople believe that their team is comprised of only fellow sales reps or people they directly work with.
However, teams include more people than that. They’re divided into two groups: internal and external.
The internal team comprises of all the people who are a part of your organization:
The external team is made up of people who don’t work at your organization per se, but they have influence and often work with you:
- Current customers
- Products that integrate with your product
Communities like MSP and John Barrows’ Make It Happen are as much a part of your team as anyone else.
Current customers will not only support your product, they will also advocate for it, whether directly by referring their associates, or indirectly by participating in the case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of your products.
Finally, the makers of products that integrate with your products are on your team, too.
For example, LeadIQ you use for lead generation, Vidyard you use for calls, and similar tools. All of you are fighting the same fight.
TIP: Make a list of the people on your team, both internal and external.
Then, once you know who is on your team, it’s time to talk tactics.
Team Selling Playbooks
Two heads are wiser than one. However, they need to collaborate effectively in order for their teamwork to reflect on sales results.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to joining forces with your fellow team members. And it leads to a lot of mistakes.
Here’s how to get teamwork right.
Working with Your Internal Team
Working with Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
The number-one mistake we see is Account Executives expecting their SDRs to hand them over meetings. In some cases, AEs even treat SDRs like their personal assistants, which is completely wrong. Often, this leads to SDRs feeling like they’re not a part of the team, even if they do the legwork.
SDRs are as much a part of your team as anyone else, so when they get into the organizations you’re prospecting, make them feel like the hero.
Additionally, don’t forget that you and your SDRs should strategize together. Here’s a 4-step process for doing just that.
Step 1: Sit down with your SDR and come up with a list of your top 10 accounts.
Step 2: Create a strategy for getting initial meetings with those accounts. Don’t just reinvent the wheel and call it a day; think of different angles that can be used to get in front of your prospects:
- LinkedIn voice messages
- Meeting in person at conferences
- Getting introductions from executives
- Sending gifts
Cold calls are good, but they’re not all you have.
Step 3: Meet with the SDR weekly to monitor progress. If there hasn’t been any, change your strategy and try again.
Step 4: Rinse and repeat.
Remember, sales development representatives lay the foundations for successful deals.
Strategize with them. You’ll learn plenty about your prospect accounts throughout the process.
Working with Marketing
When you think of marketing, what do you think of?
Chances are, it’s white papers, blog posts, tweets, and so on.
Unfortunately, people don’t have the attention span for that anymore, so you’ll need to be a little more innovative. Here are 5 ways to work well with Marketing.
- Work with marketing on planning events in your territory.
- Create direct mail campaigns for the top accounts you selected with your SDRs.
- Create advertising campaigns on LinkedIn where you’ll target particular organizations.
- Create new competitive collateral that will help you secure highly competitive deals.
- Collaborate with key players in your prospect accounts. For example, if your marketing team runs a podcast, you can invite the key player as a guest. Co-marketing is always a great idea; not only will you be cross-promoting, but you’ll be gathering important information that could help you win the deal.
Remember, Marketing brings innovation and collaboration to your team.
Don’t reduce them to writing blog posts.
Instead, ask them to put their creativity to work to strengthen the relationships between you and your prospects.
Working with Solutions Consultants
You’ll avoid plenty of mistakes related to SCs if you start treating them as technical counterparts of AEs from the beginning. Include them in the deals as early as possible. AEs may be mean negotiators, but SCs have the technical expertise you need for the offer to be truly waterproof.
You should also communicate with your SCs and get their feedback on your plays. They’ve worked with a lot of account executives, and they have a pretty good grasp of tactics that work.
Finally, if you’re running a trial of your product, bring in the SCs to help you run it. They can get information from end users, champions, and decision makers — the information that will be crucial for winning the deal.
Remember, solutions consultants bring expertise to the table.
Whenever they’re near you in a deal, you’ll get more and more credibility with each passing second, making your prospects say, “This team really knows their stuff. We can trust them.”
And if they can trust you, they can buy from you.
Working with Executives
You and executives have one thing in common: You both want to win the deal. This is what makes them more than willing to help you close it.
For example, if you’re trying to get into an organization, go on LinkedIn and see what mutual connections your executives have with executives in your target accounts.
Chances are, they have a few mutual acquaintances.
For example, if you see that your CEO knows the CEO of your target company, write a note that your CEO can send to the key player in the company you’re trying to close the deal with.
When recommendations and introductions come from high up, everyone involved in the deal will be more likely to give your offer more attention.
If the company you’re trying to close the deal with is public, read over the annual report and see if there are any key risk factors your executive can reference.
Another point of connection can also be your investors.
If you and your prospects have mutual investors, ask an executive to reach out to the investor and ask for an introduction.
Remember, when you’re working with executives and investors, connections are everything.
Working with Your External Team
While it may feel like your internal team is all you’ve got, that’s not completely true.
Yes, they bring alignment to the organization and they’re there every second of the day. However, you have strong partners in your external team, as well. It’s all a matter of finding shared values and goals.
Working with Current Customers
People trust other people more than companies. This is why a glowing recommendation from current happy customers can go a lot further than any targeted advertising campaign ever could.
But you don’t have to stop at reviews. Here are 4 ways you can leverage your existing happy customers to win new deals:
- Select happy customers who have been using your product for months with high adoption rates.
- Reach out to the customer and ask them if they’re open to sharing their experiences with the prospect.
- Introduce your prospect to the customer, using the customer as a reference.
- Use LinkedIn to find connections between your current champion customers and your prospect accounts. If you find connections, ask the champion to introduce you to the prospect.
Again, people trust people. If you’re leveraging the connections your executives have, you should be leveraging the connections your customers have, as well.
Your happy customers set a precedent for prospects’ success.
Your customers are your best means of showing new prospects that your product works for companies similar to theirs.
The more similar your customers are to your prospects, the better.
Working with Partners
Every organization has a person dedicated to working with partners. Your goal is to befriend that person, as they’re typically very connected.
They’re friendly with your partners, and you want to leverage their knowledge.
Then, analyze the tool stack your prospect is using. Are they using any tools that are partners of yours?
If they are, reach out to your internal head of partnerships and ask them to introduce you to the POC at the partnering company. You can then ask the POC to introduce you to your prospect.
Remember, the strength of your connections will define the magnitude of your sales success, so keep your prospects close and your partners closer.
Finally, communities are your biggest allies. They’re objective and trusted by many prospects who fit your buyer persona.
What that means is: The approval of communities is the approval of your prospects.
For example, I’m very fortunate to have built a great relationship with Sam Jacobs of Revenue Collective and Max Altschuler of Sales Hacker.
Whenever I see a prospect connected to them (which is most of my prospects), I can reach out to Max or Sam and have them make an introduction.
However, that didn’t happen overnight.
If you want to connect with the leaders of communities your prospects are a part of, you have to engage them:
- Attend their events.
- Join their email lists.
- Listen to their podcasts.
- Reach out to them every once in a while expressing interest and admiration for their projects (because, most likely, they’re pretty freaking awesome).
- Offer to help out with their community.
Not only will you be reaching your target audience by way of community leaders, you’ll also be forming partnerships of your own — so whenever you need help, you’ll also have someone who can make the introduction and help your team close the deal.
It Takes a Village
Getting to closed-won is hard, and it’s impossible to do alone.
To up your game, find your team and work together to create more wins.