Sales are not that easy nowadays as it used to be earlier. The markets are limited, the products are many, the competition is stiff and the customers are highly aware. All these factors have made selling a very complicated activity. Today the buying decision both in case of household consumers and business consumers is collectively made by various members. For example in the case of households even the kids play influential role in family buying of durable technologically savvy products as well as other high value products. Similarly in case of business-to-business (B2B) transactions, a single buying event may involve joint decision-making by people from various departments like accounts, production, quality control etc. Thus, in order to respond to these varying buying centers or committees, there is a corresponding sales team from the selling organization to satisfy the buyer’s needs. This led to the introduction of ‘team selling’ method. Today the world’s leading firms like IBM, HP, Wipro, Siemens and Xerox utilize team selling extensively.
When and why adopt Team Selling approach?
The team selling approach is suitable for the products which are newly launched in the market or are complex in nature and where the consumers may demand detailed knowledge before final purchasing. This approach is also suitable for customized products and services, long-term contracts and for new customers. It is because under team selling, there is a team of people from various departments assisting the salesperson in handling consumers’ queries. Team selling takes care of not only the commercial needs of the prospects but also cater to their technical and psychological needs by responding to all the demanded details.
Team selling offers several advantages to both the selling and buying firms. Team selling provides an opportunity of interaction between the customer and the experts from seller’s product development, production, marketing and other areas. This helps them to gather an in-depth understanding of the buyer. They get to know the prospects’ tastes and preferences and can utilize this information in forecasting customer demands. The sellers can forecast sales in a better way through team selling; both the product features as well the demand in quantity. The buyers on the other hand, get maximum information about the products and can make a good buying decision.
Team selling also results into building relationships with the customers. Their needs are understood well and a relationship is developed. It leads to long-term benefits to the firm. It also helps in improving the existing products of the company and adapting them to customers’ requirements. All the elements of marketing mix can be better designed under a team selling approach because the understanding and feedback of people from various departments would be involved while deciding upon the marketing mix.
When and why not to adopt a Team Selling approach?
In spite of the above advantages, team selling is not suitable for all kinds of products and buying situations. Team selling is not suitable for small transactions as it involves huge costs. It is only feasible for the key customers who place bulk orders or high value orders or who can be an asset for the firm in future. It is because team selling involves not only money but also time investment from many people together. Team selling is inappropriate to be utilized for routine buyers or repeat purchase situations.
The team management related disadvantages are also present here as team selling many times ends up with clashes and conflicts among team members. Coordination among people from various departments with different skills is not easy. Moreover, there are incidences of overlapping tasks or duplication of tasks as well as missing up of important tasks or leaving the tasks unattended. Thus clarity of roles is very important and in addition team selling also demands a good supervision so that nobody escapes from the assigned task. The role and responsibility of every team member must be made very clear so that customers do not suffer due to internal conflicts among team members.
Thus, team selling is an effective personal selling approach but it is not suitable under all circumstances.
- Cant, M. & Heerden, C. (2008). Personal Selling. Juta and Co. Ltd.
- Jobber, D. & Lancaster, G. 7th Edition. (2009). Selling and Sales Management. Dorling Kindersley India Pvt. Ltd.
- Harvard Business Review on Sales and Selling. (2008). USA: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
- Havaldar, K. & Cavale, V. (2011). Sales and Distribution Management: Text and Cases. 2/e. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited.
- Johnston, M. & Marshall, G. 9th Edition. (2009). Sales Force Management. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited.
- Pride & Ferrell. 5th Edition. (2011). Foundations of Marketing. South-Western Cengage Learning.
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