No sales person in an organization is an island. The concept of team selling has become the trend in today’s business environment because it is successful. Team selling utilizes each sales person’s strengths, enhances one’s contribution, increases productivity and reduces turnover. Success in sales happens as the result of planning and effective execution. Careful coordination o f many resources are required on the selling side and the customer’s side throughout the sales process. The goal of team-selling is establishing enduring profitable relationships between people, product and companies. Team-selling provides a fitting process for sales managers and specialists to work together to serve the customer. “The place and time to use team-selling is when customer solutions is more important than price” (Dalrymple et al 2006).
The Case StudyImaginative Staffing Inc. is a temporary services firm, formed in 1990 and has grown to $17 million in revenue. The CEO, Angie Roberts, is unhappy with the length of time it takes to close a sale once a prospect has been identified. Ms. Roberts has found the average length of time to close a sale with a major customer is six months. Ms. Roberts believes this six month time frame is unacceptable. Ms. Roberts met a marketing professor at a party and discussed the concept of team-selling. She now believes team-selling is just what Imaginative Staffing needs; she put it on the agenda of a meeting with the executive committee (Spiro et al 2003).
Imaginative Staffing is new to the temporary services market and relatively unknownMs. Roberts believes the sooner the sales force gets the potential customer comfortable with Imaginative Staffing the sooner the customer would come to trust and know the company. Ms. Roberts asked the sales director, Susan Borland, to set up a plan for training and creating a sales team. Susan agrees that team selling is a good idea for Imaginative Staffing. She has people in mind for the team, and understands training will be necessary for all team members. (Spiro et al 2003).
Team-SellingThere are many reasons to use team-selling. These reasons include providing a strategic advantage, meeting the demands of customers more effectively, and establishing long-term quality relationships with customers.
Team selling is cross-functional selling, involving getting people to work together from different areas within the company to sell and service a customer. One important aspect of team selling is choosing and training people who are team-oriented and know how to get others from different areas of the company involved for the long term with the customer.
Team MembersThe team from Imaginative Staffing, Inc. should include Susan Boland, two account managers, two of the top performing salespeople, and someone to offer technical assistance, if needed. The customer does not need to deal with too many people, but there should be enough staff available in case one person is not on hand. All employees involved with the customer should the customer history and be able to assist the customer. An inside sales representative is needed for the customer to be able to call in and place an order.
Needed TrainingTeam selling is the current trend in today’s business world. Waterhouse Groups (2007) stated, “The goal of team selling is to establish a deep, lasting, profitable relationship between people, products and companies”. Many companies are using team-selling to increase sales and profits. It is necessary to provide training when a sales force is asked to change the way they do business. Salespeople who are going to be working in a team-selling atmosphere need to develop the skills needed to be successful. Since salespeople are solitary people, essential training is needed so each member have the ability to collaborate, inform, have a consciousness and openness to others ideas, be aware to the needs of others, and place the success of the team first. Focusing on these fundamentals will build sensitivity and trust among team members (Spiro et al 2003).
Planning PresentationsSales presentations should be simple with information so the customer will be able to remember. According to Huisken (2007), the real goal of a sales presentation isn’t to make a sale. The real goal of a sales presentation is to develop personal trade, repeat business and referral business. A presentation needs to be relevant and make a connection with the product and the potential customer. In a team-selling environment, one person gives the presentation, while another can answer questions, or however the team decides to set up the presentation. What should not take place is each person gives their own presentation on the same product; so as not to confuse the customer. All team players should be clear on roles and responsibilities. A team should be together so the same answers and information is given to the client.
Selecting and RecruitingThe set of qualifications and a job description with the duties should be established before a company hires a sales force. Many organizations use outside agencies to screen and find the best candidates, with some candidates working on a temporary basis. A potential sales person needs to have time, organizational and territory management skills. Recruitment sales person are detailed orientated, follow through, willingness to fight should be a continuous activity, allowing for top applicants (Saterfiel & Associates 2003). Traits to look for in a sales person include market awareness, knowledge of product or service, imagination, and negotiation (Dalrymple et al 2006).
Appropriate TrainingAppropriate training is needed to make the move to team selling. With proper training productivity will be increased and turnover of sale people will be reduced. Customer relations will be enhanced, morale for the employee will be higher, time and territory management will be exceptional and more efficient (Dalrymple et al 2006).
Training has to be viewed as an investment. According to Dalrymple et al (2006) planning for sales training involves three processes, “assessing sales training needs, establishing specific objectives for the training program, and setting a budget for the program.” All salespeople, including those who are new and those who have been with the company for any length of time need to attend training. With the new team-selling approach salespeople have new skills to learn.
The next step is who, where and how the training will take place. The size of the budget determines where the training will take place. The training can be centralized, decentralized or take place out in the field. Outside specialist, sales managers or staff trainers can conduct the training (Dalrymple et al 2006).
Once needs are accessed, goals set and the budget determined, the next decision to make is how will the training be handled and who will do the training. The topics to be covered in training vary and may include product knowledge, selling, improving teamwork and customer information. The training can also be done using alternative methods; these alternative methods can be very valuable and less expensive (Dalrymple et al 2006).
MotivationWhile most companies speak about the importance of teams, many continue to recognize and reward the individual rather than team results. This is true in the sales sector. Imaginative Staffing, Inc. needs to be committed to the team-selling approach and understand the tools for motivating the sales force. Motivational tools include self-management, incentives, quotas, and recognition. What may motivate one person may not be the same for the next person.
Sales managers have to know what each individual needs and how to fill those needs (Dalrymple et al 2006).
When setting quotas it is important to remember goal theory. Dalrymple stated (2006), “This theory proposes that difficult goals, will lead to higher performance than moderate or easy goals or no goals, such as “Do your best.” This means that management must know what constitutes a difficult goal for a particular salesperson versus one that is easy or impossible” (Chap.11, p. 312). Feedback is critical for improved performance though goals. Salespeople have to be committed to the goal, the person who does will be resolute in meeting the objective (Dalrymple et al 2006).
Incentives are designed to motivate salespeople to perform to higher than usual levels and provide rewards. Greater incentives lead to greater inspiration. Recognition programs are based on two principles, generate enthusiasm and motivation plus get feedback from the salespeople to enhance performance possibilities (Dalrymple et al 2006).
Team selling dominates the marketplace today. It is so important for each sales member to receive the proper training by the company in order to be credible in the eyes of the customer. Sales professionals need to coordinate with their company’s service, technical support, finance, marketing and operational personnel in order to sell, negotiate and assist with customer solutions. An organization can greatly improve the productivity of its sales team and ensure the best innovative and cost-effective decisions are made for the company and its customers.
Dalrymple, D., Cron, W. L., DeCarlo, T (2006). Sales Management (9th ed.), [UniversityOf Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. McGraw Hill, 2006, Burr Ridge IL. Retrieved September 21, 2007 from University of Phoenix, Resource, MKT/469 Sale Management Website; https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.aspHuisken, B. (2007, May 7). The real goal of a sales presentation. Expert Business Source. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.expertbusinesssource.com/blog/1270000327/post/1060009106.htmlSaterfiel & Associates (January 2003) Recruiting and Hiring Effective Sales People. RetrievedSeptember 21, 2007 from Website; http://jobfunctions.bnet.comSpiro, R., Stanton, W., & Rich, G (2004) Management of a Sales Force (11th Ed.)[University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. McGraw Hill, 2003, Burr Ridge IL. Retrieved September 21, 2007 from University of Phoenix, Resource, MKT/469 Sale Management Website; https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.aspWaterhouse Group. (2007). Retrieved September 21, 2007, fromhttp://www.waterhousegroup.com/services/teamselling.html