Assembling good people onto the wrong team can be costly — to budgets, to your company’s chances to win other opportunities, and to your own reputation.
Putting together great selling teams requires you to play the role of Recruiter. And, as a recruiter for a team pitch or sales meeting, you are faced with three basic questions:
1. How Many?
3. How Will You Ask?
For meeting attendees, the easy answer to the first question is: you should bring a comparable number to the customer stakeholders who will be attending your sales meeting. For example, to meet with three decision makers from a buying organization, you might aim for a selling squad of three. Taking too few people risks being unable to address significant areas of interest for the customer. Taking too many can cause your customer to question individual competency and cost structure.
There is a subtler answer to this important question: limit participants to those who will play a significant role in your sales meeting. What does significant mean? At a minimum, each member should be addressing capabilities or answering questions for 10 minutes or more during the meeting. By setting this threshold, be prepared that your team may be unable to answer every question that may arise, and that you will be leaving qualified and interested people at home. Bottom line: bring the people necessary to address your customer’s priority issues, advance the sale, and meet your objectives.
There are two basic roles on a selling squad: leader and contributor. Let’s look at each:
Leader: Not always the most senior, the leader’s role is to take primary ownership of the team’s work together — before, during, and after the sales meeting. The ideal leader has customer knowledge and is confident enough to take center stage with colleagues and customers, yet humble enough to yield the floor to others to gain their input during team and customer touchpoints.
Contributor: The contributor supports the leader in accomplishing the team’s mission. Examples of contributors to sales meetings or pitches are senior leaders, subject matter experts, and technical experts. The most effective contributors are committed to your mission, willing to invest time in proper preparation, and bring — in addition to their expertise — the ability to give and take feedback that strengthens the team’s meeting execution. Some selling squad contributors will attend your sales meeting or pitch. Others will instead support the team in its preparation and follow-up activities.
HOW WILL YOU ASK?
Once you are clear on your team’s size and who should play what role, it’s time to ask. One common misconception is that others will automatically share your interest in closing the deal. This is often not the case, so be prepared to leverage with your colleagues those great persuasion skills you usually reserve for customers. Consider: how will joining you on the sales call or pitch advance their interests?
THE BOTTOM LINE
Creating great selling teams is more art than science. To be an effective recruiter, take the time to think through how many, whom, and how to ask, and you will have taken a solid first step toward conducting a successful team sales pitch or meeting.
Sound daunting? Leading a team in an effective sales call is straightforward when you approach it methodically. This eBook will show you how playing each of these five roles effectively can help you win more deals when teams are required.