Think of an example of a successful team. It could be a sports team, a military group from history or a department at your company. What is it that these successful teams have in common? The likely answers are strong leadership, team work and organization.
Here we look at the key ingredients in building a sales team and setting them up for success. From how to demonstrate strong leadership through keeping the team motivated, which software tools can be used to keep them organized and how effective communication can unite and boost that team ethic.
- Find the right recruits: The first step in building a successful sales team
As well as the attributes listed above, every successful team needs strong team members. If you are building a sales team from scratch, finding those MVPs for your team can be difficult, as good sales people don’t all necessarily have the same personality type. In fact, being successful in sales is more about a person’s willingness or passion to engage in the task of selling and a willingness to learn and develop, to become successful.
There are three key lines of questioning that can help you start building a successful sales team:
- ‘What are your weaknesses?’ ‘Tell me about a time when you were forced out of your comfort zone, how did you cope?’ Try and determine if the candidate is coachable and has a willingness to learn. In a successful team, you have to eradicate the egos and neutralize the know-it-alls! part of being successful, is a willingness to develop, be flexible and adapt.
- ‘Sell me this glass…’ or any other object in the room. See how the candidate responds to being put under pressure, can they think on their feet and how well do they meet a challenge head on?
- ‘Tell me about a time when you had a great idea’ how are they in demonstrating initiative and creativity?
Managing sales people can be difficult if you don’t have the right team members with the right attributes. So, determining this early on, lays a great foundation for future success.
- Effective training: A vital brick in building a strong sales team
A key part of strong leadership is an ability and willingness to share knowledge with your team. Effective training as a unit will really enhance the team ethic and motivate your sales team, breeding confidence and resulting in improved performance.
Some suggested training techniques include:
- Role playing.
- Knowledge share sessions – get a member of the team to present on a topic, give the presenter that warm feeling of helping others while the rest of the team feel enlightened and grateful to them.
- Purchase sales resources regularly and give your team access to them.
Most importantly, make time for training! Sales can be a high-pressured environment where shining lights can quickly become dimmed from being stressed and overwhelmed. Giving them the chance to develop and learn as a collective unit will help them each grow and achieve together at the same rate, which is good news for your business.
- How to manage a sales team? Regular communication!
You’ve probably detected that motivation is a key part in building a sales team, and regular and effective team communication will ensure your team feels the love and ensures you are efficiently managing salespeople. By regularly communicating, problems can be solved collectively, the experience can be shared and results can be tracked. Without doubt, taking the time to communicate with, and support each other, is the most important step in learning how to build a great sales team, rather than great sales individuals…
The format of team communication could be:
- Daily stand up meetings.
- Morning and afternoon sales huddles – discuss opportunities in the morning, reflect on obstacles or successes in the afternoon.
- Weekly 1-2-1 sessions with individuals – only to be used alongside team sessions such as the above, however. Remember, communicate as a team, grow as a team!
- Weekly/monthly sales summaries – let each team member report on their performance against targets, take responsibility and feel empowered, whether it’s good or bad news.
- How to build a great sales team: You’ll need the right software tools!
Exchanging results as above ensures team members are motivated to achieve their targets and creates a real sense of competition – they can grow as a team, but you need to keep that competitive edge for success. Therefore, giving them the tools to be able to manage their work and always have an available snapshot of their performance is vital, and that’s why having the right tools at their disposal are such an important part of building a successful sales team.
Being able to track their KPIs, manage their pipeline of prospects and be able to monitor customer behavior are the day-to-day requirements of a winning sales team, so software such as sales-i sales and CRM is a key part of your operation. Tools which are not useful, or useful but difficult for them to use, will very quickly demotivate and frustrate your team, resulting in a dip in performance.
- It pays to pay them in recognition of success
There is no greater incentive for success than money. In the short term, it may not be possible if you are building a sales team from scratch, but you’ll see a real motivational benefit from offering commission that is tightly tied to performance or achievement of targets. For more advice on how to set KPIs which you can base a commission structure on, read our guide to KPIs.
So, how to build a winning sales team? Recruit well, take time to train them, motivate through communication and commission and turn to sales-i for the right software tools for them to work and report effectively. Find out more about how to make sales-i a part of your sales team.