As we discuss call planning and execution with sales professionals we often come across organizations that send several company personnel on a sales call. This selling approach is much like dispatching a  “posse”–a metaphor from the frontier era–when a band of citizens, led by a sheriff, chased down and cornered a bandit. Sales calls can often come across this way when organizations send a swarm of people on a sales call to corral an opportunity.

When to Bring a Posse on a Sales Call

Rules of Conduct for the Posse on a Sales Call

Disadvantages of Bringing a Posse

  1. Expense: Is this a beneficial use of corporate resources? The price of the sales call escalates dramatically with each additional company representative. Organizations have to ask themselves if it’s worth the expense and time for additional personnel to be at those meetings.
  2. Potted Plants & Talking Leaflets: Does the meeting agenda and time allotment provide ample time for everyone to speak and provide value? As the number of meeting members increases the risks increase that someone will be a Potted Plant (say nothing during the meeting) or be a Talking Leaflet (speak too much).
  3. Time Utilization: Is this a good use of company personnel to attend sales calls without clearly defined objectives for each person? Often, it’s an initial or follow-up meeting.

Parting Thoughts

If you decide to dispatch a team or small group to call on an opportunity, make it a strategic decision. Be thoughtful and calculating in your assessment of who you are including, why they bring value and what they must be prepared to contribute to the sales call or meeting.  Establish criteria in determining when and how to best leverage all team members. Properly conceived, team selling can be very effective. When inappropriate, it can diminish the team’s chances of success.

As always we welcome your thoughts and input. Let’s start a discussion and elevate the sales profession with a thoughtful, civil and informative discourse.