Guest post by Michael Dalis, author of Sell Like a Team: The Blueprint for Building Teams that Win Big at High-Stakes Meetings.

Have you noticed recently that more people are involved in your clients’ purchase decisions? You may have wondered: how come; why does this happen more often; and why does “my guy” seem more and more powerless?

The purpose of this post is to answer those questions, and to arm you with tools to adapt to these changes.

More of Them

Within customer organizations today, buying groups are no longer formed just for huge deals in financial services, consulting, and technology. They even occur around smaller contracts and earlier in the sales process.

In an article published in the March/April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, the number of stakeholders involved in B2B purchase decisions increased from 5.4 to 6.8 between 2015 and 2017. This is being driven by a general move among companies for more collaboration, and to lower the risk of purchase decisions by ensuring all impacted stakeholders gain a seat at the table.

The roles of these other 5.8 buyers may be unfamiliar to you–C-level executive, data security, procurement, etc. Each brings his or her unique preferences and perceptions, which can be different from your main contact’s and from each other’s.

The Trap

The most common response to “more of them”? More of you, naturally! Cover all the bases, swarm the sale with your best and brightest to cover every possible base. Just in case. If you reflect on past sales meetings, you may realize it’s not that simple; that each person you added to (what I refer to as) your “selling squad” changed the group dynamic and added complexity. This likely made the group tougher for you to lead and, as a result, more challenging for you to advance and win the sale.

Selling Smarter with Selling Squads

In my book, Sell Like a Team, I include a process for creating selling squads that win when it counts. Here are five steps to keep in mind:

  1. Create: choose the right number, roles and people given the buyers involved;
  2. Organize: share customer information, and decide on the materials, technology and prep meetings needed to win;
  3. Practice: run through, facilitate feedback and adjust key parts of the meeting;
  4. Execute: execute as planned, adapt as needed;
  5. Regroup: ensure follow-through and professional growth.

Leading the team sale, while more complex, can be an exciting experience especially if you avoid the common traps. Adopting a team selling approach will increase your ability to advance and close more, and larger, deals.

Michael has for over 30 years been a successful salesperson, sales leader, sales coach and consultant for leading B2B companies, with a focus on the financial services, professional services and tech sectors. Michael’s passion for teamwork and performance discipline stems from his childhood experience as a professional actor in NYC.