Why Team Selling is Table Stakes in a Hybrid World

As deal complexity grows, revenue teams are doubling down on alignment to satisfy buyers and seize new markets.

Conceptual view of the roles involved today in enterprise and B2B team selling.

What is team selling? 

Alignment has long been top of mind for revenue leaders, but it’s notoriously difficult to get right. 

The modern sales organization spans multiple time zones, departmental functions, and an ever-changing product landscape. Distributed deal teams orchestrate an increasingly complex enterprise sales process that includes upwards of 20 stakeholders and 3x as many deliverables. 

Nearly gone are the days of the lone-wolf rep, hunting down a signature. Today, any deal cycle where internal resources beyond an account executive (AE) are getting involved is an act of “team selling.”

While this complexity may be rare in SMB sales or consumer markets, it’s become standard in enterprise and commercial selling. Teams such as technical presales, revenue operations, product, engineering, security, and legal are now critical in progressing deals toward closed-won.

Examples of buyer proof points and actions needed in today's enterprise sales cycle.
Examples of buyer proof points and actions needed in today's enterprise sales cycle.

Main drivers of deal complexity

In recent years, a number of social, technological, and regulatory factors have added complexity to the modern enterprise sales cycle. The result? Multi-threaded layers of buyer proof points and validation events that require a growing team of internal specialists. 

  1. Technical Products - Whether on-prem, hybrid, or in the cloud, enterprise tech requires sales engineers (SEs) and solutions architects (SAs) to run evaluations, such as a managed trial, proof-of-concept, custom demo, or other specialized event.
  2. The Rise of SaaS - While the cloud simplifies user adoption, it also breaks IT’s stronghold on procurement, leading to a broader range of buyer types, purchase journeys, and stakeholder approvals along the way.
  3. Mixed Deal Formats - With the rise of product-led growth, enterprises must manage new high-velocity sales channels in addition to their white-glove approach, while coordinating consistent motions to upsell users into subscribers.
  4. Security and Privacy - The flipside of connected SaaS is cyber risk: to mitigate vulnerabilities, and ensure compliance with the latest data privacy laws (e.g., GDPR, CCPA), buyers increasingly need to conduct specialized legal and security reviews.
  5. Multiple Product Lines - As competition intensifies, companies are adding horizontal tools and expanding their portfolio through acquisitions of point solutions; sales teams increasingly need product or industry specialists to sell these complex solutions.
  6. Selling to Enterprise – In general, selling into large organizations has become a complex marathon requiring a robust team including deal desk, legal, finance, product, engineering, the C-suite, and beyond to get deals across the finish line.

Why team selling isn’t going away

Most companies don’t yet have a systematic approach for leveraging deal resources. Revenue leaders are still migrating siloed request workflows and ad-hoc approvals into more centralized, trackable systems. The longer this journey takes, the more time competitors have to beat you to the punch. Team selling is quickly becoming necessary for a few key reasons: 

  • Meeting Buyer Expectations - Every year, B2B journeys are looking more and more like B2C. According to Gartner and McKinsey, enterprise buyers increasingly expect a frictionless experience, and every internal touchpoint or deal deliverable can become a weak link in your go-to-market execution.
  • Aligning Your Revenue Teams - As hybrid work patterns endure, it's become harder to align your various deal teams, who may span multiple departments and time zones, as well as how those reps engage external stakeholders throughout a deal.
  • Pivoting to Success - Whether it’s new regulation, technological advancement, or a change in market-buyer behavior, enterprises need the ability to pivot revenue-generating teams on short notice to capitalize on greenfield opportunities.
The broken status quo: ad-hoc selling increases the risk of deal slippage.
The broken status quo: ad-hoc selling increases the risk of deal slippage.

Fixing the broken status quo

Reality often falls short of what’s required for today’s complex sales cycle. More than three-quarters of B2B buyers describe their most recent purchase as “very complex or difficult.” That muddled experience begins with the ineffective use of internal deal resources. 

As enterprises scale globally and expand their product portfolio, existing GTM systems and processes inevitably experience growing pains, and teams fall into ad-hoc, siloed selling motions.

AEs are never quite sure when to loop in the right deal resources. SEs are tasked with running a number of technical demos or complex proof of concepts on the fly, but given only half-baked templates in docs and sheets, with no tracking or tie-backs. Deal Desk teams chase Legal and Security approvals over email and messenger, while RevOps leaders try to wrangle all these people and processes from a “web of chaos” into a rational, orchestrated motion. 

The first step to selling better as a team

With all the moving parts and processes involved with team selling, you want to review your tech stack and make sure teams have the data and agility they need to execute. Disjointed tools, including those deemed the latest and greatest, can actually inhibit team selling even if your process is well-defined – due to lack of cohesion amongst resources. To start:

  • Review your CRM and audit the quality and granularity of your deal support data. Can you trace the full cycle and internal bottlenecks around each opportunity?
  • Use conversational intelligence platforms to record sales calls, socialize best practices across reps, and maintain a real-time pulse on account health.
  • Standardize deal execution with a purpose-built team selling platform that supports multiple use cases and drives granular team interaction data back to your CRM and key software.

With team selling, revenue orgs boost productivity and efficiency across every stage of the deal.
With team selling, revenue orgs boost productivity and efficiency across every stage of the deal.

De-risk your deals with team selling insights

As deal complexity grows, there are a few key steps you’ll need to take to evolve from ad-hoc selling to highly-aligned deal execution.

  1. Drive consistency across your deal lifecycle with standardized, repeatable sales motions for everything from internal deliverables to buyer evaluations. Without standard processes and data collection, it’s hard for revenue teams to know why one deal failed while another succeeded. 
  2. Leverage automated people and process tracking to drive accountability, surface bottlenecks around project delays, and optimize team utilization for maximum revenue impact. Without real-time visibility into deal activities, GTM teams are taking shots in the dark and relying on gut calls.
  3. Turn team selling insights into winning forecasts that reflect the latest deal health and risks for every opportunity. Aligned revenue teams not only forecast better, but routinely win 3x more often, and those deals are 2-4x larger on average. The more stakeholders you loop in at the right time, the more your advantage grows. 

Curious to dive deeper into team selling? Check out some of our latest reports: 

Author

Gabriella DeFlorio