Why not add an additional session to your sales coaching program- Learn the Art of Team Selling

Abhishikha Chatterjee
March 14, 2022
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Last modified on

March 14, 2022
Table of Content:

The practice of team selling is not new but is often overlooked and discouraged to promote competition.

Senior leadership regulates competition by supporting lone selling with individual incentive schemes and scorecards. 

However, a lone wolf can no longer survive in a market when faced with highly complex products and lengthy sales cycles.   

Little intervention by team members and cross-team collaboration is helpful because different individuals have different strengths that isolated individuals can’t display. Leveraging each one's power creates a compounding effect.

A good team selling example could be a product manager and AE joining the call with the SDR.

Does your sales coaching program incorporate team selling? Not many can say that. 

The team selling approach isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Introducing entire teams into the mix makes things a little more complicated. 

So, today we are here to discuss the internal complications and how one can leverage team selling to close even the most complex deals;

  • What Is Team Selling?
  • Why Team Selling?
  • When Should You Use Team Selling?
  • Team Selling: 7 Powerful Secrets
  • Disadvantages of team selling

But before we start the discussion, here’s a short team selling example of Anthony Alfieri that clearly states the meaning and experience of selling with a team-

What Is Team Selling?

Team selling refers to the practice of a sales leader appointing more than one rep or cross-team member to win an account. 

The concept of team selling is a collaborative approach that comes into play when closing a complex deal. Each team member’s talents and skills are utilized to boost sales. 

The exact composition of the team depends on the industry and product, and their expertise is leveraged in order to maximize the chance of closing.

Why Team Selling?

Many people view sales as an individual sport, but the reality is quite different.

The SaaS sales cycle makes it nearly impossible to be completely independent. Depending on the situation, you may need assistance from individuals inside and outside your organization.

An example would be bringing in a domain expert from another team to answer a customer's question.

Other times, you may need to ask an AE or an additional SDR to accompany the existing rep to a new high-ticket prospect.

Either way, SaaS and B2B companies are benefiting from the team-selling approach. The idea is to simplify the buying process for your prospects. Whenever a sales cycle looks complex, team selling is a great way to make things easier.

To give a broader perspective on why organizations are inclining towards team selling is listed here:

  • Handle deal complexity- We discussed the complexity of deals earlier, but reinforcing again–situations like a complex engineering product or a sales scenario such as negotiation may need the presence and knowledge of an expert.
  • Consultative selling- Teams working together generally try to fix a problem(adding each one’s strength) and generate a cohesive solution around it. This builds trust and credibility. 
  • Receive better insights- Questions that more than one person asks are generally better and more valuable. A team selling approach leads to more insights as more questions are touched and details don’t slip out of the cracks.

  • Faster resolutions- The biggest advantage of team selling is to respond to questions and doubts at hand with concrete answers. 
  • Builds back-up- The presence of more than one person in a deal ensures anyone can catch up in the absence of one another.
  • Builds confidence- Having a panel of sellers can nullify the pressure from the buyer's team. The more sellers, the better the spirit.
  • Team assessment- While one person is engaged in talking and answering the queries, other team members can read the room and evaluate the best possible next step. 
  • Wake up prospects gone dark- One unique aspect of team selling is that adding a senior leader or a C-suite can wake up dormant prospects. Senior leadership's influence often sends a positive message to the prospect. 

We have covered all the core reasons why team selling is the future.

Now, let’s closely understand the exact scope of using team selling. Because the team selling methods are not necessary and often irrelevant in some situations.

When Should You Use Team Selling?

As discussed earlier, team selling is helpful in any deal but works exceptionally well in complex deals. 

Reps should get assistance from other cross-team members (legal, IT, support, etc.) if the account is too large or difficult to manage alone. An invite is extended to a product expert when the primary account representative cannot handle the product details.

Another burning area is enterprise-level selling–It's an excellent opportunity to utilize team-selling. Often, enterprise deals require up to six months from prospecting to closing, the most extended sales cycle.

However, team selling models work best when all the team members have skills and attributes that are complementary and support the greater goals of the account.

At this stage, you know what team selling is and when a company is likely to use it.

Now, we will get our hands dirty on learning the art of team selling. 

If you are wondering how reps can implement these skillsets, then remember, sales coaching plays a huge role in helping and practicing team selling in a demo environment.

Would you like to learn the art of storytelling in selling?- Let’s get you started.

Team Selling: 7 Powerful Secrets

1. Qualify sales deals

Qualification is a criterion that sales leaders internally need to identify, sales coaching will not play any role here. 

Understand this, not all sales opportunities need team selling. Individual reps can handle first-level meetings. Sales reps can handle simple products and smaller buyer teams on their own.

Qualify carefully which accounts and deals need the involvement of team selling and only then assign resources.

2. Choose people based on expertise

Team members can be from the sales teams(an AE) or cross-functional teams (a product manager). 

The other possibility could be the involvement of senior leaders from sales teams or the C-suite itself. 

Combination of stakeholders is decided on a case-to-case basis. You’ll have to locate:

  1. Best communicators
  2. Proactive sellers
  3. Sellers with leadership qualities
  4. Possessing specific skills like pricing negotiation
  5. Challenger seller traits

Would you like to learn the tricks to close an account with an executive buyer?- Try Now

3. Distribute tasks among your team members

In cross-function collaboration, tasks are automatically known and comprehended by each member, but at times, the members need to know who has authority and where to interrupt.

If there is more than one sales representative, then sales coaching can prepare them in selling together as a team and not as competitors. Both need to highlight their strengths and push each other to improve while avoiding conflict.

4. Clearly define rewards

This stage is crucial. Every sales operation team needs to deal with this stage sensitively. 

The contribution of each member of a team is less evident than in individual sales, and it can be challenging to identify rewards for those who produce excellent sales results. However, if your goal is to motivate your sales team, this strategy will be a great choice.

5. Stay on Top of Deal Intelligence

With so many members involved in a deal, the chances of conflicts and confusions is expected. 

However, your sales analytics software can come in handy at this stage in giving you a clear picture of the deal and the stakeholders involved.

As part of your sales coaching activities, endorse one source of truth mentality. Make sure all call notes and activities are stored in a single place. Ensure even sales conversations are recorded and notes are integrated into a CRM system.

6. Talk to your sales team

Encourage regular meetings within your sales teams and other organizational teams. 

When team members are aware of each other and the icebreaking session has already been conducted, on the day of the meeting, conflicts are less likely to occur.

Would you like to learn how to bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing?

7. Stay a step ahead

Last but not least, as a sales leader, you will be required to take care of metrics and KPIs to avoid conflicts and chaos. 

Your teams may not open up about the day-to-day drama, but you’ll have to keep a tap on it. How?

Again, continuous communication, sales coaching sessions, and sales analytics will play a decisive role in managing team-selling smoothly.

Disadvantages of team selling

Team selling pros and cons are common, and we didn’t want to hide the disadvantages from you. 

Adding additional people to the team definitely makes the selling process dynamic and often confusing. 

  • Every team member wants to drive the process on their terms resulting in confusion and contradictions
  • Conflict arises when one stakeholder is asked to lead the deal.
  • When confronted with more than one seller, the buyers feel overwhelmed and feel burdened.
  • Call data entry and management is another big problem with team selling.

With a professional team, your company can manage and close many deals. Many companies have already implemented this strategy and have enjoyed its fruits.

Hence, always remember you need to find the balance between team selling and the famous saying, “ Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

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