In previous blogs we have discussed how important it is to build the value of your business so that in the short and long term it will prove a good investment. One way to do this is by installing value drivers. These are actions that over time will make the business stronger, more resilient, more profitable, and more attractive to a buyer. For most businesses, one crucial value driver should be building a great sales team. For tips on how to develop a sales team, read on.
7 Ways To Develop a Great Sales Team
Hire the Right People
The first and most important way to develop a sales team is to hire people with drive and determination. Some people aren’t meant for sales even if they are drawn to sales. Some can sell anything to anyone anytime. It’s vital to hire people who have the ability to sell, but they should also want to sell. Closing the deal should be exciting for them. They should also be the kind of people who will mesh with your company’s mission and goals and want to succeed within that framework. Without drive, even natural salesmen will rest on their laurels. You want people with fire – a fire you can stoke.
Invest in good training
Once you have a sales team, transforming it into a great sales team takes investment. It sounds cliché, but there is always something new to learn, and there’s always room for improvement. Emphasize the need for everyone to learn new skills or techniques, whether that’s learning sales techniques or new software.
If you invest in training and professional development for your staff; it will reap dividends for as long as they are with your company. This is what we have referred to before as intellectual capital. Training will both develop the skills of your team and increase their confidence in the work they are doing.
Know Your Team
While it is important to hire people with sales ability, there are many types of salespeople. Not all of them will be hyper aggressive “Always be closing!” types. They will have different personalities and strengths, so treating them all the same would be a mistake.
Focus their efforts where they will be most successful. If one has a better understanding and rapport with small business owners, don’t give that person huge conglomerates as prospects. It’s impossible to treat each sales team member perfectly equally since all prospects are not the same, but it is possible to treat them equally well. Figure out what motivates your sales team members, and assign them where they can best achieve their goals.
Create a Competitive Environment
Set the goals you have for your sales team high, but make sure that they are achievable. When you assemble competitive people, as salespeople tend to be, and set clear goals that can be measured objectively, competition will naturally develop. Nurture that competition as a way to drive everyone to achieve their goals. If you encourage a friendly rivalry – but not a punishing, cutthroat one – it will help improve productivity and sales.
In sales, the outcome is everything. Performance matters, and most people will perform better when they have the proper incentive to do so. Rewards will motivate your sales team, and they do not have to be large. They can come in the form of public acknowledgement of goals met, awards, additional benefits, or financial incentives. Even regular shows of simple appreciation for work well done make a difference to many workers.
Have a Strategy in Place
Strategy is defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” A well performing sales team will understand:
- What the company’s mission is
- What the company’s guidelines are
- What the team’s specific goals are
- How those goals will be measured
A full assessment of the team’s past performance will help to target areas of improvement as well. A well thought out strategy, written and communicated, means that the team can make focused and rational decisions, not ones based on emotion or temporary setbacks or challenges.
Positivity goes a long way to building a sales team that will work hard and productively and challenge each other to succeed. Good leaders will model positive behavior like motivational talks, public and private encouragement, and praise. Also: nip negativity in the bud so it doesn’t develop in the confidence, capable, motivated sales team you are building.
These 7 tips are not the only ways to build a great sales team at your company, but they are the most essential. A capable sales staff is an invaluable resource. If your sales team is not performing as well as you think it should, take the time to assess why that is and make the necessary adjustments. The work you do now will compound over time, making your business ever more valuable.