B2B Sales Mentors Book: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. To learn more: http://top1.fm/b2b
In between the regular interview episodes, we’ll continue to release sample stories from the book like this one. You can either listen to the episode and hear John read his story, or read the full text below.
By: John Reidelbach
As salespeople, most of us are autonomous by nature. We function best when we are left alone to handle our customer base. We know our territories best and have been working with our customers for a long time. If we need to bring in a resource, we know who to call. So why would we need to interject others into the sales process?
Take it from me, you can save a lot of time and increase your effectiveness if you form a team of sales peers and work together on strategic pursuits. You don’t need to utilize this approach for all of your pursuits, but I would venture to say that you would be able to sell even more, and be more effective if you were to reach out to others in your corporation who could help you.
If you work for a large company like I do, you probably have different divisions, business units, maybe even different companies within your parent company. Keeping track of the sales folks in other business units can be a daunting task, especially with frequent reorganizations and people leaving the company. I am here to tell you that if you invest the time to build these sales teams, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
In larger companies, there are typically other sales teams selling complementary products and services into your same accounts. This is a great thing because you can reach out to your peers within the other sales teams and share information. The three main benefits I have found by working in sales teams are sharing information about your common customers, sharing contact data with the members of your team, and collaborating on sales pursuits. I will go into a few examples of how I was able to use a team approach to advance my sales efforts.
If we are honest, we probably do not spend as much time as we would like in front of customers. If only we could duplicate the amount of time we could be in front of customers or potential customers. This is actually possible if you leverage the people on your sales team. These individuals are probably calling on different individuals at your customer locations, maybe at different levels in the organization. They are getting different perspectives and are hearing information that you are not privy to. Why not compare your account feedback with your peers to get a better understanding of the needs of your customers?
Have you ever reached out to a contact only to find out they no longer work there? By sharing information with your sales team, you can better keep track of who has been promoted, who has been transferred, and who has decided to leave the company or retire. Having this second source of information has really helped me stay on top of my key accounts and how their organizations are changing.
Coordinated sales calls
This is the most important benefit of working in a sales team. Once you have found a group of your sales peers that share a common customer, and you work to align your products to add even greater value to the customer, it can really help position your product or service to be the best solution.
I was able to leverage team selling on one particular pursuit in which the customer told me that they had already made up their mind to go with the competition. In this case, I had to think creatively and think fast before the competition got the order. I was able to bring plant management into the discussion and show how the benefit of using my product, and my company, was much more valuable than the competition. I was able to show this by bringing in the sales folks from other business units that sold related products and letting them display how going with our team was far more valuable than the competition. Thus, by offering a complete solution, we were adding value that our competitor could not. This approach was successful and we won the order. I don’t think I would have been able to win the order had I not been able to make a broader value proposition with the help from the members of my sales team.
Invest your time in team selling. I say invest because you may not reap the benefits immediately. However, over time the relationships you have built within your team will pay dividends.
In the beginning of working with your sales team, you may feel like you are giving more than you are receiving. Stay the course, and you will be able to pick up some information that will help you add value to your customers.
If you don’t work for a large company, network with others who may sell complementary and non-competing products. You may find you can share contact data and get to the decision-maker faster than if you were trying on your own.
Want more from John Reidelbach? He was the star of episode 51: John Reidelbach – Senior Account Executive at Emerson