Building Effective Sales Teams

Solving customer problems is what great sales people do. World-class sales professionals understand the importance of building effective sales teams in order to meet customer needs.

Today, purchasing decisions are made at all levels of our customers. From executives, to managers, to users, effective sales people need to build relationships, add value, and prove their capabilities with many individuals within the customer organization. The key to managing customer teams is to build and manage an effective sales team.

The first key to selling in a team is to create the team by assembling the best people possible to meet the objectives. Once that team is assembled, you must set clear, attainable and measurable goals and communicate them to the team members in order to maximize success.

To get your team off to a successful start and on the road to delivering sales results, following are some tips you can apply to your team selling efforts:

Identify the customer’s needs – Before the team is selected, the needs of the customer must be identified through in-depth communication such as phone conversations or in-person meetings. Once the specific needs of the customer have been identified, the team members can then be chosen to best fit the components of the sale.

Select the most appropriate team members – The best teams include varied and complimentary experience. When choosing your team it is also important to remember to reach beyond your institution to partners and vendors to ensure the appropriate talent is available to you during the sales process.

To select the winning team, the team leader must look at every aspect of the sale including the discovery, the product components, the challenges within the customer’s company, the deadlines and the implementation, and then choose the people who will help make it happen. The most critical part of choosing the team is to be sure the backgrounds, experience, personalities and even expertise are aligned with your customer and your customer’s situation.

Create a common vision for the team – A team leader can put together the best team in the world, but without a clearly defined mission and goals the team will fail. Once the team is in place, the team leader must, in a clear and concise way, convey the desired outcome and any smaller goals and milestones along the way. In addition to the common vision, each person on the team needs to know their individual responsibilities and specific deadlines associated with those responsibilities. Equally important is to evaluate progress made on individual responsibilities and deadlines to be sure all aspects of the selling process are still in alignment with the mission and goals. As team leader, often your role will be to communicate and test for understanding and agreement throughout the sales cycle.

Carlos has 25 years of experience in the enterprise software industry, including sales, service, business development, creation of partner alliances and business operations. He’s advised companies including Comcast, NCR, Sumo Logic, ServiceNow, and VMware.