Virtual teams are one powerful way that successful sales professionals are bridging the gap from being tactical sales pros to more consultative sales pros, and closing bigger deals in the process!
A virtual team is a group of people that you PROACTIVELY build to help you achieve the objectives of the client and close the deal. Think of your sales campaign as a play needing a cast. What we do and what we sell is increasingly more complex and it requires more support and input from people who you work with, but are not directly in sales (remember the “NPSP”?). Members of your virtual team might include engineers, technical experts, members of senior management, after-sale support people-anyone who might offer input and counsel to help close that deal. These folks can be in front of the client or behind the scenes playing a role to solve your client’s challenges. Building the right virtual team is critical and is often the key to getting the deal closed. Building the right virtual team can inspire trust and confidence in a client and be the edge you need to close the deal.
I have found several truths over time observing virtual teams and the sales reps who have built them:
- It is intuitive to the sales rep to build the team and who to build it with and include.
- The sales rep sees many steps ahead of the team and knows what has to be done instinctively.
- Building an effective virtual team is a skill.
- Building a virtual team is a delicate balance of inviting the right people on the team and coaching them to say and do the right things to inspire a client to buy from you.
- The sales professional is the one who has to assign roles and keep the team going and focused on one objective: Closing the Deal.
- People on virtual teams are often delighted to be asked to help, so don’t be shy. It is a vote of confidence to be asked. It is also a vote of confidence in you if they accept.
- The sales rep remembers all members of the virtual team are equals. This inspires loyalty to the team and client.
- Communication from the sales rep to the team is clear and unambiguous.
Virtual teams come together in several ways. Sometimes the entire team is in one place and can meet often to discuss the progress of the sales campaign. Usually virtual teams are spread out (hence “virtual”) and communicate and achieve success across many boundaries.
I have built many virtual teams in my career. I can say that every one has been a positive experience and I went into them with the attitude that I was going to make the company work for the client. One of my favorite stories is when I was at an e-learning company and bidding for a huge deal at a Fortune 100 company. I assembled a team of awesome people. One of the team members was the CEO. I asked him to make a phone call to seal the deal. He did. It closed. He told me later that he had fun and thanked me! I felt great. You will too!
As always, let me know what you think…and Good Selling!