If you manage a new company or you are building a sales department into an existing operation, you must take the proper steps to create the best team.
The process of creating a high-performing sales team unit requires many stages. It begins by hiring the best people. Then you need to set realistic goals and provide the necessary training so they can eventually hit those objectives.
Once that is all done, you need to stick with them, monitor their performance, and make the necessary adjustments. Today, we will look into what makes a high-performing sales team great and the steps that you should take to build this department from the ground up.
1. Hiring Talent
The first step is to hire qualified candidates that can create the building blocks for your successful sales operation.
When hiring anyone, it is important to look at their experience, qualifications, and what they may bring to the table at your organization. You also want to look for candidates that have strong ethical qualities. That means they lead by example, they aren’t afraid to speak up when they see something wrong, or they have an idea that could improve their job and your company.
When an employee is ethical, it also means that they will do what is best for the customer during sales interactions. By doing the right thing during the sale, you can avoid complaints later on that could hurt your business.
You can learn about the ethical qualities of your employees during the interview process. Ask them about how they acted in certain scenarios at past jobs and go from there.
There are several different positions that you will need to fill for your team. Along with the sales agents, you will need to hire a sales manager. This is one of the key salespeople that will help to guide your agents to success and help them along the way. The manager and assistant managers will also help to manage the budget, evaluate the team’s performance, and address performance-related issues.
When your goal is to hire high-quality salespeople, you need to start with a great job ad that explains exactly what the reps will be doing if they are hired. Add keywords that speak to the type of sales experience that they need, such as “entry-level” or “B2B.”
If you are asking for a certain amount of experience, then make that clear as well. During the interview, ask questions about specific types of sales scenarios and gauge how the applicants respond. Then, choose the best people.
2. Train Your Team About the Little Things
Once you have a good group of qualified salespeople, you need to train them about your particular company and the steps that they can take to succeed and reach their sales goals.
While you probably have a lot to teach, simply getting in front of a chalkboard and spouting out terms and objectives might not be what is best to get through to your team. Instead, you should give them real-life experience by listening to demo and pitch calls, shadowing a skilled salesperson, or pairing them with someone and getting them out in the field.
It is also a good idea to create some training videos ahead of time that they can watch and re-watch whenever they need a refresher.
There are also many more subtle skills that can help your sales team along the way. One minor trick that can make a big difference is to smile during in-person conversations and when they speak on the phone. Although small, smiling has plenty of benefits.
For one, smiling can actually improve the overall health of your team, including increased happiness and lower stress levels. For another, smiling also shows the audience that they love what they do and that they have faith in the product. If they love what they sell, then the customer may be more likely to love it too.
In addition to being optimistic at work, many soft skills that can help to boost sales. For instance, your agents should have a sense of empathy and be understanding of a customer’s concerns. They can then pair that with the ability to overcome the customer’s objections to buying right now.
A good agent will also have a positive relationship with management so they can go to them whenever they need approvals or advice.
3. Set Goals And Continue To Adjust
Now that your sales team is trained, you need to set clear, specific, and measurable goals that they can work toward every day, month, and year.
By creating a target, your team will be more motivated to make the sales necessary to get to the next level. Many companies also get input from the sales agents themselves. This is a great way to show your agents that you value their feedback, and it can help management to set realistic goals.
Once your team is up and running, you can use data analytics to streamline your goals and modify them if necessary. Financial analysts can look at your company’s bottom line and determine how much money needs to be made to maintain your current functions. You can use that information to modify your sales goals.
If your agents are having trouble meeting their goals, then you can also use analytics to determine where there may be blockages in the workflow. You can use that information to streamline the process, so your agents have the best chance of reaching the goals that you have set forth.
Once you have your goals in place, you must keep the sales agents accountable and ensure that each member of the team is working towards their assigned objectives. Hold weekly reviews where you talk with the agents and look at their numbers so you can make the necessary modifications.
4. Promoting Collaboration
A hidden secret of many successful and high-performing sales teams is that they put focus on collaboration and not competition.
Sometimes, a certain agent may find the secret to securing sales, while a different associate may be struggling to meet their daily goals. As a company, it is in your best interests to ensure that these agents collaborate with each other. With plenty of clients to go around, it can be beneficial for everyone on the team to meet their maximum potential.
You should also find a way to help your sales agents to collaborate with the marketing team. The information that both teams share can be invaluable.
The marketing team can educate the sales reps with the information they have gathered about why customers are choosing your organization over the competitors and the traits of those customers. The sales agents can use that data to fine-tune their sales pitch.
Likewise, sales agents can share valuable information to educate the marketing team on what is working and what is not. It is a partnership that can increase your company’s bottom line in a big way.
5. Managing Mental Health
Management teams can often make the mistake of making goals so lofty that agents can stress themselves out and eventually get burned out working long hours trying to impress their superiors.
If you really want your high-performing sales team to succeed, you must prioritize their mental health. Employees who are burned out will tend to perform poorly over time, in addition to calling out of work more often. They may also make poor decisions during their sales calls.
It is important to have an open-door policy so employees can come to management whenever they are stressed or otherwise need help. Then, leadership needs to listen to their concerns and provide a solution. That may mean a flexible schedule or providing mental health days when an agent is feeling extra anxious.
As you can see, there are several steps that you can take to create a strong, results-driven sales team for your organization. Consider the tips discussed here, and you have a good chance of reaching your corporate goals.
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Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. She is frequently lost in a good book.