What do hyenas, lions, wolves and coyotes have in common? All of these successful predators, when hunting large prey, hunt in teams. Are you missing out on the benefit of team selling?
Selling to larger, more complex accounts often requires a multi-dimensional approach because there are multiple decision makers and influencers. It’s easier to meet this challenge with a team selling approach.
An agency sales team can be horizontal, with two or more producers working on the same account, or vertical, involving different levels of staff functions such as account managers, account marketers, etc. While multiple people within an agency are involved in closing all sales indirectly, team selling brings those people from the background to the forefront and leverages their personalities and expertise for maximum effectiveness. Here are some of the advantages to team selling:
- A more relaxed, confident presence
The mere fact that a comrade is along will reduce the stress associated with a selling situation.
- Learning more about the prospect
Involving others in the sales process increases the possibilities for gaining helpful information. One team member talks and listens while another takes notes. Comparing notes later allows you to engage in creative brainstorming on how to move forward in the sales process.
- Greater chance of relating
Sales training emphasizes the importance of adjusting selling style to a given personality. With a team approach, there are greater chances to match buyer and seller personalities in a natural way, including common interests and experiences. One selling partner may offer insights to the prospect that the other lacks.
- Mentoring inexperienced producers
Newer producers will have a learning experience and seasoned producers may benefit from the fresh enthusiasm of a developing disciple.
- Obtaining peer feedback
A selling partner may be able to offer constructive criticism to help improve sales skills.
- Signal depth, status, and stability
Involving others in the selling process conveys that the agency has resources, is willing to commit them to the prospect and will not miss a beat in the event the lead producer is out of pocket. This can be a great source of differentiation over competitors not employing a team approach.
- Lower overall selling time and costs
Despite having more people involved, anecdotal evidence suggests that the team approach can be more cost-effective with shorter selling time and higher hit ratios.
Some things to consider before embarking or experimenting with a team-selling approach:
- A minimum account threshold
Compensation will have to be allocated somehow among the selling team members, even if there are only two. Reserving the approach for accounts with enough revenue will make that chore easier.
- Who to bring along
This will require understanding a little about the buying process of the prospect and developing a strategy before going out. Outnumbering prospect personnel by too many could be intimidating to the buyer.
- How to split success proceeds
This will depend on the roles. In most agencies using the team approach, a lead producer is designated and the commissions allocated accordingly. Some experts even suggest having some sort of “prenuptial” understanding of what happens if the team is not working out down the road and changes are necessary.