A good sales team is the backbone of any successful business. However, building a successful sales team just doesn’t mean bringing together the brightest salespersons and making them sell your products or services. It can be a daunting task, especially if you have a new business. Because the success of your business depends largely on your sales team, its importance can’t be stressed upon much.
Having a reliable and talented sales team can take your business to unchartered territories of success. However, before you decide to build your empire, you must understand the finer nuances of hiring, compensation and expanding the team. This will also include the best practices you must follow in the hiring process, compensation and talent retention.
When you should build a sales team?
A right sales team can make a business succeed and keep it flourishing. However, it can be really confusing to determine the right time to start building your sales team. When you have just started, you will obviously don the hat of a salesperson besides doing pretty much everything else. It is generally advisable to start looking out for salespeople when you have settled down a bit.
If your product or service is receiving rave reviews consistently or your clients place a regular request for your services, it is a signal that you must start building up your sales team. Also, if you have generated enough leads and can’t manage it with your existing resources, you need fresh minds to take things forward. You have the right justification to expand your team.
Here are 12 tips to build a successful sales team
1. Hire the right people
Despite the advancements in technology, most companies today hire based on their gut feeling. Without a data-backed process, the process cannot be scaled and quantified. What businesses must do is to develop a grading system to rate applicants during the interview based on their success, work ethics, intelligence and willingness to learn. Further, it’s all about hiring people who have that winning mentality and create a work culture around that. Hiring salespersons who do not value your mission or are not aligned with your goals could break the team down. One wrong hire can really hamper your business and bring the team’s morale down. While building your sales team, make sure you hire the right people!
2. Upskill your employees while building a strong sales team
Your duty just doesn’t end at measurably recruiting your staff. You need to make consistent efforts to train and upskill them so that they are aligned with your mission and goals of delivering the best results. Training programs should be comprehensive and tailored to your business needs. Merely doing it for the sake it will be wastage of precious resources. If you manage to build a successful training program, you can always use it on a continued basis for your future employees as well.
3. Promote collaboration in your sales team
For any business to be successful, its sales and marketing teams must work together closely on a shared mission. A business simply cannot afford to have the two teams working independently or without any shared goals. The shared goals would basically include the number of quality leads that the marketing team generates each month and the sales team trying to close a sizeable number. While it is also important for sales as well to generate leads, it should not happen that both the teams work on the same prospects to minimize resource wastage.
4. Understand your salespeople
Your sales team is more than a bunch of employees out there to achieve your targets. Understanding them on a personal level and going far beyond an employer-employee relationship will help you create that positive vibes. It is a proven fact that employees who are engaged and motivated produce better results. It becomes important to understand their motivation, driving factor and ideas. Investing time to learn their needs will prove to be a great asset as your sales team will make it a point to live up to your trust and expectations.
5. Make them feel independent
As the dynamics of the business world change with the entry of Generation Z besides the millennials, businesses must realize their individual needs. As long as your employees are performing and meeting their goals, you must grant them the freedom to make their choices. It will only help them treat your business as their business and give them the freedom to improve it in their own way. Having rigid practices or approaches can easily make even the best performing salesperson demotivated which could lead them to begin losing interest in your business.
6. Value your sales team
It would not be unfair to say that salespeople have some of the biggest challenges and the pressure to form in any organization. If the targets aren’t achieved, they are directly under the scanner and their performance is judged. In the event of failures, rather than pressurizing them further, you can motivate them by making them aware of what opportunities lies ahead rather than focusing on what has already happened. Good leaders are someone who rally around their team even the going gets tough.
7. Make a formidable frontline
Be it any function, a strong leader paves the way for a successful team and its efficient functioning. Likewise, a strong sales leader could play a defining role in the success of their sales team. It becomes very important to make the best hire for the first-line manager. Going beyond their expected duties, they must really play the role of a mentor, coach and above all a great leader who leads by example. Train them well and they could help you take your company’s mission forward.
8. Set clear goals while building a sales team
A good working environment is one where there is a lot of transparency and clarity in terms of goals and expectations. If the goals are not clearly defined or aligned with your sales team, it could create an environment of confusion, fear, and failure. There can’t be a better way to define the goals than by taking the SMART approach. Your goals should basically be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Assigning goals through these five parameters will give your team a lot of clarity on how they can proceed ahead with achieving the results.
9. Overcome weaknesses
While you may hire the best talent, but there would definitely be areas of your improvement for your team. As human beings, nobody is perfect and identifying weaknesses to turn them into opportunities and areas of improvement would be perfect learning for any team member. The members of your sales team would have something that would stop them from achieving the results. While this could also be a potential cause for concern as the team members would compete with each other rather than working on shared goals. In such a situation, a good leader is the one who will try to build cohesion among the team.
10. Establish a culture of practice
Since your sales team would come across people with all sorts of temperaments in their journey, it becomes important for them to practice well. It is a good cultural practice for any sales team. Each member of your sales team must practice and perfect the pitch before venturing out to meet the client. Practicing and role-playing will give them the confidence required to establish their presence and move forward towards closing the deal more effectively.
11. Keep your sales team engaged
For any successful team, engagement is the single most important factor that keeps them aligned with the company’s goals and objectives. An engaged team will be more productive and help achieve the goals in the shortest time. There might be times of dark phases when your star performers leave or the team isn’t able to achieve the results. In such situations, keeping them engaged and motivated is very important.
12. Peer mentoring
If you are building a star-studded sales team, it can be quite natural that the team members engage themselves in a competition to emerge on top. While competition is good for individuals it is equally bad when it comes to teams. Instead, you can try to build a collaborative environment that will help your team grow. Teams that compete among each other would not be able to sustain for long. Some of your best-performing sales heroes must be given the responsibility to mentor the junior members. It is a win-win situation for both the parties as there are incentives for both.
While money can help you buy the best available talent in the market, smart planning is something that will help you sustain and grow your business. Also, a lot depends on the leaders to direct the team in the right direction and lead by example. By enabling a positive work culture, you will only help your sales team align with your objectives and become a valuable partner in your mission of achieving success.