The Art of B2B Team Selling

10 minutes
to read
Written by
Bo Borland
blog image

There is no question that there is an art to B2B team selling. It requires being creative and situational in long, non-linear sales cycles. The best teams are able to harness creativity and strategically improvise within the context of their sales playbook.

This means adjusting your approach based on the customer’s needs and finding creative solutions to overcome objections and increase the likelihood of a sale.

How can teams effectively tap into the art of selling? By creating "aha" moments throughout the customer journey.

What is an “aha” moment?

“Aha” moments are critical moments in a customer journey where a customer experiences a breakthrough realization about how your product can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. The left, analytical brain aligns with the right, emotional brain and the customer intuitively knows your solution in the right fit.

It’s the light bulb moment 💡!

These moments are important because they create a powerful emotional connection between the customer and your product or service, and your customer starts talking about your solution with their colleagues.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful selling tool, and “aha” moments help sales teams leverage that emotion so their key messages go viral inside the customer’s organization. Viral “aha” moments act as a sales productivity force multiplier to differentiate you from competitors, build stronger customer relationships, and drive revenue growth.

Sales teams have a hard time predicting what will deliver an emotional connection for different target audiences.  Everyone has different needs, selfish desires and reasons for gravitating towards one solution over another.  So it is important to consider all the elements from the following periodic table that can be leveraged to create “aha” moments.

Periodic Table of "Aha" Moments

These elements can be shared multiple times in a sales cycle. Initial customer meetings can include fairly generic versions of these elements. Your position, perspective and proof early in a sales cycle can be standard, boilerplate versions of these elements because you haven’t done enough value mining to deeply understand your customer.

However, each successive delivery should be more tailored than the last as you mine for value and learn more about your customer.  The next section goes deeper into value mining and then how to leverage those learnings to tailor these elements at each stage of a sales cycle.

Value Mining for “aha” moments

Value mining is a term used to describe ongoing discovery activity that occurs over the course of a sales cycle with a focus on finding areas where your solution can add value.

Sales teams must look across the customer’s key business drivers while consulting with stakeholders at multiple organizational levels to mine for value and understand their motivation for change.  Value mining is a prerequisite to creating highly tailored “aha” moments that have higher virality potential.

Value mining is a term used to describe ongoing discovery activity that occurs over the course of a sales cycle with a focus on finding areas where your solution can add value.

In complex B2B selling, value miners move between IT, process owners, line of business leaders, and executives to uncover their known and unknown needs and pains on achieving objectives, product lines, processes, and systems. They are able to synthesize and connect these unknown and known needs to the capabilities provided by their solution.

These teams collectively assess and translate customer information into a set of new insights, mapped capabilities or opportunities for value creation as summarized in the following image.

Mining for Value in Complex B2B Sales

Exceptional sales teams understand this level of deep discovery often requires a “give-to-get” mentality.  This means giving value, and in return, earning the right to unlock doors and traverse the customer’s organization. The art of value mining involves distilling your learning, replaying those learnings to the customer, sharing insights, and injecting boilerplate elements of “aha” moments early and often to unlock more doors.

When done well, these activities can elevate the vendor to trusted advisor status and provide a great buying experience with “aha” moments tailored around customer use cases and requirements.

Teams that have mined for value are in a position to showcase their understanding and prove how their solution will improve top-line and margins, reduce expenses, or increase agility and innovation.  

How do you create an “aha” moment?

While mining for value your team can craft a sales strategy that leverages every element of “aha” moments.  B2B team selling means everyone on the account team is accountable for supporting and driving outcomes to progress the deal forward. Therefore, everyone can, and should, find ways to create “aha” moments at each stage in the journey. Let’s walk through how to approach this.

“Aha” moments are designed to answer three key questions:
- Why change?
- Why you?
- Why now?

And your team has three key levers:
- Your position
- Your perspective
- Your proof

By combining these two dimensions as shown in the following periodic table, you have a framework on how to progress a customer through each stage of understanding why change, why now and why you. Let’s break it down with an example.

The first stage requires convincing customers on the need for change.  For this stage, your sales strategy uses the BLUE levers in the periodic table to share your position with well-articulated pain points, your perspective with relevant thought leadership, and your proof with customer storytelling.

Next you have to convince the customer why your solution is the best fit.  For this stage, your sales strategy uses the BLACK levers to share your position with key differentiation, your perspective with highly-tailored demos, and your proof with a pilot program.

Lastly, your sales strategy shifts to focus on creating urgency on the need to change now. For this stage, your sales strategy uses the RED levers to share your position with highly tailored value propositions crafted from deep discovery, your perspective with relevant data, and your proof with special offers to improve top-line and margins, reduce expenses, or increase agility and innovation.

The true art of B2B team selling is knowing when and how to combine these 9 elements of “aha” moments across the customer journey in a way that goes viral across the largest number of stakeholders, in the shortest time possible.

Map out the elements “aha” moments

Leverage the the Periodic Table of “Aha” Moments in your account meetings to collaborate with your team on where and how to create “aha” moments at each stage of customer journey - early, mid and late.

Each team member should own one or more of these elements with the goal of tailoring the elements and associated narratives to the insights gained in successive rounds of discovery. Get creative, situational, and harness the full power of your team to build viral “aha” moments.

Early stage, boilerplate elements for why change, why you, why now.

Your Position
Pain points
Key differentiators

Your Perspective
Thought leadership

Your Proof
Customer stories

Mid-late stage, highly-tailored elements for why change, why you, why now.

Your Position
Specific pain points by stakeholder
Key differentiators from known competitors
Value propositions supporting business objectives

Your Perspective
Targeted thought leadership
Highly tailored demos
Relevant data

Your Proof
Customer stories for use cases
Pilots designed to prove value propositions
Special offers tied to pain points and objectives

Completing each of the elements above requires collaboration, strategic improvisation and harnessing the creativity of everyone on the account team. It doesn't happen overnight, but once you and your team have tapped into this rhythm, you now have a repeatable framework to infuse across every sales opportunity.

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