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How to Build a Successful Sales Team

A sales team is an integral part of any organization. Your company’s success or failure is largely determined by the kind of sales team you have. Given their significance, it is incredibly important that you choose your team with care.

But building a successful sales team goes far beyond hiring the right people. It also includes constantly training them and ensuring that they are always motivated. Here are a few tips on how to build a sales team:

1. Determine the Type of Team You Need

How to Build a Successful Sales Team - Type of Team

Salespeople come in different kinds. If you are to build a successful team, you must know exactly what you want from your salespeople.

Do you want a telemarketer who specializes in selling things over the phone?

Or maybe you want a manufacturer’s representative who specializes in finding buyers for your products?

Recognize that these two people specialize in very different fields and that one cannot comfortably carry out the role of another.

Keep in mind that some salespeople are also trained in selling products while others excel at selling services. Only hire the professionals who specialize in your desired field.

2. Develop and Implement a Hiring Process

Hiring the right people is essential if you are to have a successful team. One way to ensure that you pair up with only the best people is to have a set criteria for hiring them.

Create a hiring process and stick to it whenever you are considering a new addition to your team. Look for certain qualities in your potential employees and only hire those who possess them.

For instance, how coach-able is the person you are considering to hire?

Are they open to learning new things and carrying out tasks differently than they are used to?

You only want to hire people who are not set in their ways: people who are open to new, progressive ideas.

Secondly, only hire individuals who appear to be motivated. People who are positive and optimistic can prove to be an invaluable asset to your team.

You can look for any other number of positive qualities in potential employees. Just make sure that you have a few hard and fast rules when it comes to hiring people and make sure you review how they perform so that you can adjust those rules in the future if needed.

3. Create a Compelling/Rewarding Sales Plan

How to Build a Successful Sales Team - Sales Plan

After finding the right people, you then need to come up with a sales plan that will have your team players excited to execute. There are a number of ways you can keep your employees motivated such as by setting achievable goals and rewarding their hard work.

People often get into sales because they like the challenge and rewards that can come from it. You need to use this as the basis for your payment plan. Things like stepped commissions based on the amount a representative sells, mid-year bonuses, extra rewards and friendly inter-team competition can all help propel your sales staff to success.

4. On-board Train Employees in Your Product/ Service

This tip goes hand in hand with that of hiring the right people. If you hire people who are open to learning and new, innovative ways of doing things, then you shouldn’t have much trouble training them.

Feed your employs with knowledge about your specific product or service until they can clearly articulate the benefits to customers. You want your salespeople to be able to answer any questions thrown at them with ease, and you also want them to give convincing answers.

There are various methods you can use to train your employees. For instance, you can use call shadowing for telemarketers. Or you can even have role playing for the whole team so as to improve their sales skills. Quizzes, books and screencasts are other ways through which you can train your employees.

The method of training needs to match how your sales team will interface with the client. There is no point working on role plays in a face to face setting if all of your sales are done over the phone.

5. Motivate and Monitor your Team’s Performance

How to Build a Successful Sales Team - Monitor Performance

In order to improve performance, it is necessary that you constantly monitor your progress. There is no way you will know whether or not you are successful unless you examine your outcomes consistently.

One way through which you can monitor your progress is through revenue. If you are getting a set amount of revenue from your sales effort, it goes to prove that you are certainly winning.

You can also use conversion rates as a measure of how well you are faring as a team. Additionally, the number of new contacts you get per a set period of time can also act as a gauge for your success. Or you could even use the difference between your forecast sales and your actual sales as a means of determining how successful you are.

The metrics you track and monitor then need to form the benchmark moving forward. If you close 10% of all deals then next quarter you could have an incentive plan to close 15% of all deals.

6. Refine Sales Approach with Feedback from the Market

Feedback is very important for growth in any enterprise. You can only know what sales methods work well if you listen to what consumers have to say.

Some will praise certain sales approaches, product demonstrations or pricing models. You need to take this information on-board and feed it back into the business and your sales training plans to ensure you stay relevant to the market.

Often there will be times were you can directly solve the customers issue. I.e. if they are asking for a specific feature to be added to your software. In this instance you need to train your sales team to sell the future of your product, not just want it can do today.

Sure your product might only solve 80% of the customers problems here and now, but if you present a convincing road map for the future you can often win them over.

7. Recognize the Strongest Performers

How to Build a Successful Sales Team - Strongest Performers

Recognition is one of the strongest forms of motivation. It is an invaluable reward to those who receive it and a driving force to work even harder.

We have already spoken about the role commission and bonuses play in rewarding employees but recognition can take many forms. As a Sales Manager you should understand what drives each of your employees. For example is someone looking to move into sales management themselves? Or do they want to go from an inside sales role to a field based sales role?

Once you know this information you can recognize their performance by helping them reach these goals. You can also make sure that other people within the business are aware of their sales success. This helps boost their “brand” within the company and can assist with any future career aspirations they have.


Also published on Medium.

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