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Are You Building Pipeline in Squads or Pods?

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Jul 28, 2019 10:00:00 AM

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Team Work-1

Over the last couple of years, many of our customers have been asking us to identify the go-to-market strategy, and specific execution points, around selling in teams. Some companies call it squads, some companies call it pods – but ultimately Aristotle’s definition of synergy – which states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts –explains it best.

In this blog, I won’t cover why it’s so critical to sell in squads and pods – that should be self-explanatory. Honestly, it’s crazy to think that in 2019 and going into the 2020s, some companies aren’t thinking holistically as a selling unit about how to target key accounts, geographic territories, or verticals. The idea that one seller is making decisions affecting your go-to-market strategy is crazy, because then you’re then beholden only to the knowledge and acumen of that one seller to justify your Total Addressable Market (TAM), and your success is based on their subjective data. Instead of just one person, it’s always best to leverage a series of teammates that are truly working with customers.

We’ve been working with customers to develop that teamwork and build the selling in squads and pods muscle. As a result, we’ve developed a case study format where SDRs, AE’s, CSM’s, inside sales, field sales, customer success, and channel partners can all work together to come up with solutions that best target a particular account or a group of accounts. Here’s a basic framework for our case study format that you can start with.

Step 1. Get together and create a business plan framework for one key account in a geographic vertical.

Isolate one key account in a geographic vertical - it’s important to start slowly, and practice by focusing on one account. You can go viral with multiple accounts later. Get together as a team, either in-person or virtually in a round table, and create the framework for the business plan.

This round table should include a representative of every sales function that touches the customer:

  • The top of funnel with SDRs
  • Account executives (your quarterbacks)
  • The customer success team (who have been working with the customers over the years)
  • Your channel partners (the ecosystem that may help influence the deal), and
  • Possibly technical specialists or solutions consultants (they provide best practices and technical advice to the customers)

Step 2: Deep research.

The next step is to go through that account and do some deep research – which begins by answering a simple question: should we be pursing this account or not, based on the competitive advantages we have and time management?

You’re trying to objectively determine if it’s worth your time to pursue this account based on all the relationships that their company has to your existing customers or your competitors. Your team has to conduct deep research using tools like LinkedIn to evaluate these relationships.

When you sell in a pod, it allows people to debate where sales function and time management should be used, knowing time is so precious.

In our case studies, many teams have concluded that the accounts they were putting on key watch lists were in fact not great uses of time from a targeting perspective. They could see that competitors had competitive advantages based on relationships, and identified accounts that were better uses of time based on low-hanging fruit.

You will only get this level of scrutiny if you get more than one person’s eyes on a territory or vertical. This is why pods or squad selling are becoming so critical.

Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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