Are your Sales Calls 2-Legged or 16-Legged?


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Is Selling a Team Sport? I think so, and so much so that I wrote the eBook, Lean Engagement Team.  In the book, I concentrate on the development of a sales and marketing structure that can support customer engagement through out the organization. This structure will be self-organizing at times and provide for customer touch points deep within the organization. Service Design, Open Innovation, Design Thinking and Lean provide a framework for organizing the sales and marketing teams.

As many of you know, I am a big fan of Matt Dixon’s work, book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation and put my thoughts about the book and its findings in the blog post, Lean Salespeople are Challengers, not Problem Solvers. I had the pleasure interviewing Matt and split the interview into parts. The first one, Need Customers, Create an Effortless Experience was about his latest book, The Effortless Experience and the second will be next week concentrating on The Challenger.

Below is an excerpt from the Challenger podcast,  where I asked Matt, “I think in today’s world we have moved into team selling. Is the Challenger Sales Person a lone wolf can an organization do team and collaborative type selling, the challenger way?

Sales Team

Lean Engagement Team

Matt Dixon:

We wrote a post recently for HBR, a blog post, where we talked about that, how sales is no longer an individual sport. It’s exactly Joe what you’re talking about. Many of the companies we’ve worked with have said, “Over time we’ve seen the sales call go from a two-legged sales call to a 16-legged sales call as more people get involved in it.” It’s a team sport today, and it takes a lot of collaboration, and certainly that’s what we found. It used to be way back when that sales was the domain of the individual performer. Today what we’re finding is best salespeople actually they’re not just challenging, but they also are differentiated by their ability to work with and to leverage the network inside the supplier organization, so to work with their team, to work with their peers, to work with colleagues across the business to help bring solutions to the customers. Certainly sales is a team sport.

Now it’s interesting when you talk about, “Well would we want a sales team made up of all challengers?” Often we say, “Well maybe, maybe not.” You may not want that only because they might end up spending all their time challenging one another and debating endlessly without actually making headway with the customer. It may be that you actually want the person who is facing off with the customer, the person on the pointy end of the spear; you may want that person to be a challenger. They may be well supported by people who have some of those other profiles that I mentioned before because they’re many roles on the team, not just the role of the challenger. We haven’t studied it specifically about what’s the optimal composition of the team, but that’s my gut sense having worked with a lot of sales teams before. There are roles on the team for many different types of sellers. In today’s environment, you probably want the customer facing person, the leader on that team who’s engaged with the customer, especially at that senior level, to have more of that challenger approach. But that doesn’t mean that everyone on the team should necessarily have that profile, as well.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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