How to Build a Great Sales Team
Knowing how to build a sales team that works effectively together serves as the backbone of any successful organization. It requires full attention at all levels, starting with making the right hires to executing top-level strategies to meet company goals and initiatives. Whether you’re just getting started with building out your sales team or restructuring it to maximize results, here are key ways to ensure you’re creating a team made up of the best there is to succeed.
Hire the Best Candidates for the Role
Taking time to evaluate sales candidates is a crucial part of the hiring process. First, determine the role(s) you need to fill and what qualifications are required for each position. While many organizations look for sales professionals who have an established book of business or a certain number of years of experience, perform a full review of candidates to ensure a good fit with your current team and operational goals. Often personal characteristics and proven results outweigh perceived advantages outlined on paper. Questions to consider are:
- Does the person demonstrate excellent presentation skills?
- Which area of sales is the person strongest? Prospecting? Retention?
- How knowledgeable is the candidate in your particular industry?
- What level of sales support do they have the most experience with handling?
There may be candidates with a limited number of years in a sales-specific role, but have experience presenting to clients in a different capacity or are familiar with marketing strategies that have increased the number of leads for previous companies. Take into consideration what key factors create the ideal fit for your sales department.
Next, find candidates that align with your company culture and core values. A major part of learning how to build a high-performing sales team is qualifying a good cultural fit. Top-notch salespeople know how to connect and build strong relationships with clients, as well as their colleagues. The most successful salespeople retain client trust and interest over time by consistently delivering creative solutions. They also work well with a team to make an organization more profitable as a whole. In addition to interviewing based on the qualifications required for the role, ask questions during the interview process that can give insight into their work ethic, adaptability, and communication skills.
And finally, it’s always a great idea to allow potential candidates that you think are a good fit to do a talent assessment. This assessment can be used to confirm if the candidate has a strong work ethic and if their personality and work style will be a good fit within your organization. . Doing so will help you get a full picture of how this potential candidate can be an asset to your sales team.
Define Organizational Structure and Resources
Prior to building out your sales team, reassess your organizational structure and expectations. Do your current models and resources have the capacity to support new team members? As you begin hiring and expanding your team, know that these factors are subject to change. Learn how to be flexible and identify what additions will be necessary to support your team. How are new clients assigned? How is commission structured?
Also, consider how your sales team works in tandem with marketing, customer service, and other branches of your company. The more collaborative and intertwined the efforts are, the better the chance of providing positive results across the board. Part of learning how to build a sales team requires a structure that each sales rep can easily refer to when there are questions about the role.
It’s important for all sales team members to understand the organizational structure from the beginning to know where to seek support, resources, and management assistance. When there’s a breakdown internally, the miscommunication can quickly make its way to customers. A sales organization chart with clearly defined roles is what will lay the foundation for a strong sales team.
Invest in Ongoing Training and Support
Each new sales representative comes equipped with specific sales skills. However, it’s essential they receive thorough onboarding and ongoing sales training to ensure their skill set aligns with the way your company does business. Part of learning how to create a sales team that’s impactful is ensuring your sales talent has the knowledge and resources available to do the job well.
Create a regular schedule of sales training and support. Training dates should correspond with a new product or service rollout, organizational shifts, and/or monthly or quarterly reviews that highlight areas of improvement. When setting up any type of training, outline measurable goals that will show a positive return on investment.
Elicit feedback for training styles, educational support, or programs that will help your team members learn how to get better at sales. As companies weather industry and economical changes, salespeople must also grow and adapt their strategies to continue meeting clients’ and customers’ current needs. Such sales enablement may include training workshops, team building, one-on-one business coaching, and other tools and materials that give the entire team what they need to advance their careers and better contribute to the company. It involves addressing effective sales strategies and tactics, but it often also includes a focus on soft skills like addressing different communication styles and improving confidence levels.
Find a combination of sales training techniques that are hyper-focused on the skills that need to be refined. Sales training is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Being in tune with where your sales staff is struggling and the solutions that will help them succeed is more valuable than a generic approach to the situation.
Maintain Effective and Clear Communication
The accomplishments of a sales team are built upon maintaining clear and effective communication on all levels, from team messaging apps to conference calls to in-person meetings.
First, confirm all sales team members are communicating using the same channels. The breakdown of communication in companies comes down to people using different programs to share messages, rather than using one project management system or online chat feature to share information across teams. When there are different delivery methods, it means communication is more likely to get missed or forgotten.
Second, each meeting must have an agenda with goals and deadlines to track accountability. This includes both team meetings and one-on-one sessions with sales managers to assess areas that may detract from the sales process.
Third, changes within the company must be communicated regularly to educate and prepare salespeople to answer questions about growth, challenges, and other factors that may impact how customers view the company’s capabilities.
Part of knowing how to build a winning sales team is optimizing time. When there’s clarity built into everyday functions like meetings, there’s less time wasted repeating information or discussing matters without an agenda. This leaves more time to attend to creating and sustaining customer relationships and building new strategies for growth.
Evaluate What’s Working (and What’s Not)
Individually, sales reps each have their own strong points, which may not translate across the entire team. For example, there may be some who are better on sales calls, while others are more adept at creating presentations. Each sales team must be clear about what’s working and what’s not by offering constructive criticism and solutions to fix problems.
Implementing an employee assessment can provide valuable feedback necessary to make changes to a growing team. Additionally, customer surveys or win/loss analyses should be regularly conducted and evaluated to concentrate on matters that require the most attention. Everyone may have a different idea of where they stand on the good-to-great scale. By putting data next to problems, it makes the grading straightforward and allows you to prioritize what to work on first.
Transparency is essential for any company to understand if their processes and people are working well or where there are kinks in the system that need to be worked out to prevent a bigger issue down the road.
Sales teams are notorious for being competitive, which can be advantageous, but encouraging collaboration is how to lift the whole toward a collective goal. In the same way constructive criticism helps highlight markers of improvement, collaboration can shed light on new ways to address old problems. It also builds team morale and camaraderie which lends itself to a better-functioning working environment and sales culture. It’s important for sales reps to adopt the attitude that each win, whether it’s a solo or team effort, benefits the company as a whole. So, consider increasing commission for team wins as well to help encourage more collaboration among your sales reps.
Meeting sales goals on a continual basis requires constant nurturing, evaluating, and changing the ways in which you grow individuals and create better collaboration among teams. The worst thing a company can do is to become stagnant within their systems. While there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken, it’s crucial to take a deeper dive into understanding the customer experience. Introduce creative ways to improve upon your sales strategy, research and predict for future challenges, and refine skills that may be outdated.
Identify Where Value Is Placed
Obtaining certain revenue goals is part of any sales organization, but clarify where you place value to reach those goals. Numbers don’t always mean true effectiveness or lasting relationships with customers. Though the law of averages has long pointed out the more you’re able to connect with people, the greater likelihood you’re able to make the sale, the relationship building aspect of sales has grown to be far more valuable than the quick sales pitch.
Customers want to be taken care of based on their individual needs. Sales coaching and role-playing allows sales professionals to practice potential scenarios and better prepare for what their customers are expecting and what they want to hear in order to make the sale. Relationship building takes time, which makes setting both short- and long-term goals helpful.
You don’t figure out how to create a successful sales team without following the proper steps to cultivate it. It starts with hiring the right people for the roles, investing in training and education, implementing clear and effective communication, and taking time to evaluate results. Every part requires active participation in the pursuit of achieving, but also maintaining, greatness. To learn more about how to build a successful sales team, contact the experts at Janek today.
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