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One of the major trends in maturing industries is the movement towards consolidation of buyers. These industries have increasing sales, but the sales are in fewer hands. Perhaps your company is moving toward having fewer customers, yet each customer is buying much more.
Another trend occurring in some sales environments is the move from an individual product line sale to a complete system sale. For example, instead of just selling your widgets and being one of the many widget suppliers, your organization may wish to provide a complete widget handling system. You may inventory, manage and distribute your widgets complete with a host of other services; and you may even distribute your competitor’s widgets as part of a complete system for your customer.
Because of these changes, organizations are considering a team selling strategy. Team selling is when an individual, usually charged with completing the sales transaction, is now responsible for coordinating the efforts of a number of individuals all toward the common sales goal.
The team selling strategy requires the sales rep to perform in a non-traditional sales mode. The sales rep needs to do more than present the company’s offering and follow-up. As client organizations increase in size and demand more, the sales rep often has to weave through a series of new influences and decision makers, moving from committee to committee. The sales rep becomes responsible for assembling the appropriate personnel to gain access to, present, deliver and maintain the company’s offering in a profitable fashion. While the sales rep is not officially a manager, much of the rep’s work is managing the work of others. In fact, because the sales rep is not these individuals’ direct boss, much of the skills are about influence. That is why we often dub the sales rep in a team sales environment as the sales leader.
Team selling presents unique opportunities to sellers but also poses potential difficulties. On the positive side, tremendous synergies can evolve between your people and theirs. On the negative, the customer may become confused if you are not presenting a united front.