B2B Sales: It’s a Team Sport
By nature, most salespeople are “individualists”—they like to take control of their own destiny and assume responsibility for the results of their work. That’s a good thing, but B2B selling is typically a complex process that requires numerous players to produce a successful outcome.
Very successful salespeople realize that—they put together a “playbook” for a particular sale and then assemble the appropriate players. If it’s football, they are the quarterbacks and their sales managers are the coaches.
Quarterbacking a sale requires you to still lead the way, but it also means coordinating and utilizing human resources that are essential for your success.
Assuming that you’ve already finished your playbook, here are some key tips:
1. Figure out who needs to be on the team to make a specific sale.
Since every sale tends to be a little different, your team for each one should reflect that. In addition, you may have the same players in different roles, depending on what’s needed to make the sale.
For example, one deal may require just a small piece from market research, while another may call for your player there to make a live presentation to the potential client.
Spend serious time on this first step so that you have a clear idea of what you need from everyone.
2. Recruit your needed team members with a clear statement of their individual purpose.
If you want the best out of your various support people, then tell them exactly what you need. After you lay out your specific request, ask them if they have a clear understanding of it.
Don’t assume that they do—you’re not the center of their world.
Being specific will allow them to be more efficient with their own time and deliver to you in a timely fashion. Nothing’s worse than having someone wonder what you wanted in the first place.
3. Don’t micromanage the needed work of your designated team members.
We simply must control our inner control freak. Just because you’re not doing all of the work to make a sale doesn’t mean that you’re not in charge of it.
If you truly respect the talent and experience of your designated team members, then let them do their thing. If you don’t, then just one question—why did you select them for the task at hand?
Have you met anyone yet who enjoys being micromanaged? More than likely, you’ll need to work with the same people on future deals and being known as a control freak will only hurt your cause.
4. Publicly recognize and thank every member for the work they’ve done.
Maybe this seems obvious or even corny, but it’s not.
When it’s “glory time”, salespeople often forget to mention and thank those who helped them get the deal done. It’s back to “all about me” and it shouldn’t be.
Like we said earlier, you’ll need these same people again and again. Being perceived as the prima donna is not a winning strategy. The bigger the win, the more you need to express your gratitude to those who helped make it happen.
Taking this approach to B2B sales is also great preparation for becoming a sales manager. Thinking collectively instead of individually takes real practice. Assembling and running a team for every B2B sale puts money in your pocket and prepares you for your next career step!
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.