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Updated Jan 18, 2024

How to Build a Sales Team at Scale

To achieve sales growth and business expansion, you should build an effective sales team tailored to your specific needs.

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Written By: Sean PeekSenior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Table of Contents

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Your sales team is at the forefront of your business. As the team members in charge of marketing and selling the products, pitching them to customers, gaining and maintaining customer relationships, and measuring team success, your sales department plays a critical role in maximizing productivity and customer satisfaction

To increase sales and grow your company, you need to build a high-performing sales team and know how to structure it to support growth. This involves more than just hiring new team members and tracking sales numbers. You need to set each member up for success by providing them with efficient tools, creating measurable performance indicators and motivating them to reach your desired sales quotas. 

Editor’s note: Looking for the right CRM software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How to build a sales team

From determining the right mix of sales roles to implementing effective strategies for growth and competitiveness, creating an effective sales team is a critical step in scaling your business. If your business is looking to establish a sales team, here’s what to consider. 

1. Determine the type of sales team you need.

The type of sales professionals you need on your team depends on your business model, the nature of your products or services, your growth trajectory, and your target market.

Consider whether you need inside sales, field sales or both. Identify the background and experience required, and determine the number of sales reps you need to scale up. You will also need to decide on the processes and tools that will support your growth. Planning these things in advance will ensure that you hire the right people for the job.

Once you have determined what type of sales personnel you will need to assemble, it is time to start hiring them.

2. Hire the right team members.

Though there are a variety of roles within sales teams, the initial hires will most likely be account executives (AEs). Businesses often face challenges in closing deals without effective AEs, as evidenced by an industrywide win rate of only 47 percent

As you are interviewing new team members, it is essential to know what to look for in a salesperson. Here are some other roles that make up a sales team:


Job description

Sales development reps

Speak with new customers, bring in new accounts for the team

Sales consultants

Persuade customers to come on board using demos or proposals

Customer service reps

Work directly with customers, increase sales

Sales managers

Lead the entire team by keeping everyone on track

High-performing sales agents possess the skill to think outside the box and give thoughtful responses in conversations. They’re coachable, curious and willing to learn from others. Most also have a competitive streak that drives them to work hard and achieve results.

TipBottom line
Assembling a sales team with diverse backgrounds and prioritizing diversity and inclusion can improve your capability to pursue different opportunities. Hire for gender diversity, cultural diversity and experience diversity to bring in a broader perspective and open up new markets.

3. Design a repetitious sales process.

A sales process is a set of steps that your sales team takes to move a prospect along the sales funnel. The funnel includes prospecting, connecting, researching, presenting and closing.

To improve your sales operation, make sure your sales reps are delivering a consistent customer experience. They will do this by following an optimized sales process so they can achieve repetitive outcomes.

Your sales funnel will continue to improve over time, but it is best to design and map out this process in the beginning. While a good sales executive can wing it through a single presentation, having a scalable sales funnel requires a documented process that your whole team can follow.

4. Determine KPIs to measure success.

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” By establishing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and clearly communicating sales goals to your team, you can get everyone aligned with the company’s long-term vision. This empowers your employees to take initiatives that drive results. Here are some important sales KPIs you should measure:

  • Sales growth: The increase or decrease of sales in a specific time frame
  • Sales target: A specific number of sales or customers your company wants to obtain within a period of time
  • Acquisition costs: How much it costs to acquire a new customer
  • Lifetime value: The worth of a customer to your business over time
  • Churn rate: The measure of how many customers are leaving your organization over a period of time
  • Lead-to-opportunity ratio: The calculation of how many leads turn into sales opportunities
  • Opportunity-to-close ratio: The calculation of opportunities that lead to closed deals — won or lost
  • Conversion rate: The measure of customers who complete the desired goal divided by the number of total leads 
  • Profit margin: The percentage of net profit to total revenue per sales rep 
FYIDid you know
Use analytics tools and set up a reporting system so you can extract actionable insights from the metrics and make accurate, data-driven decisions to fine-tune your sales process as you grow.

5. Train and motivate your team.

A scalable onboarding process is key to ensuring that everyone shares the same institutional knowledge so your team can deliver a predictable and consistent sales experience.

Use gamification to motivate your team with point systems and a leaderboard. These will tap into many sales reps’ competitive instincts. For example, you can encourage team members to adopt new sales tools or drive specific results through contests.

Did You Know?Did you know
A compensation system is one way to give sales reps a continuous incentive and allow you to balance cost and risk while attracting top talent.

6. Implement the right sales tools.

Digitalization and automation allow you to scale up quickly. Use these tools to your advantage by tapping into the vast amount of customer information you’ll have at your disposal. Effectively using the right sales tactics will increase your ROI.

Invest in the right sales software applications to allow your sales team to streamline workflow and increase sales productivity. Here are the types of sales tools you should be looking for:

  • Sales intelligence: These tools help sales teams find ideal customers based on specific criteria. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent tool for finding leads and making connections.
  • Sales enablement: Better sales come from hiring, training, coaching and assessing your sales team. These tools — such as Marketo Sales Connect — allow your company to more easily access information, manage content and collaborate. 
  • Sales engagement: This allows sales teams to access workflow automation, customer information and analytics to better engage consumers. Freshworks is a great tool for communicating with your patrons.
  • CRM solutions: Top customer relationship management (CRM) solutions help you better connect with your current clients. One CRM application that works for growing businesses is Salesforce. Learn more in our full Salesforce review.
  • Management tools: Companies that utilize management tools — like Trello — ensure their teams are productive, meet goals and complete tasks on time. Users can view current project statuses and remaining tasks.
Bottom LineBottom line
Finding the right CRM system can provide many benefits to your sales team. Access to CRM metrics and CRM reports gives your sales reps the best opportunities to successfully convert leads.

7. Use a robust communication platform.

Most of today’s sales activities are conducted over the phone. This entails a highly rated business phone service, such as any of the options in our business phone system best picks, and cloud contact center software that can provide the right capabilities on demand. These tools will enable you to access best-in-class communication tools as you grow, without a hefty upfront investment.

For example, a cloud-based call center platform allows you to use a remote sales team and tap into a larger talent pool while lowering operating costs. It also has numerous monitoring and reporting features so you can obtain real-time analytics to improve your sales performance. [Check out our review of Nextiva, one of our top choices for a business phone system.] 

8. Improve talent retention.

Did you know that it typically costs $4,700 to hire a new employee? Don’t throw money away by continually onboarding new sales reps.

You’re investing heavily in recruiting and training your sales team, so the last thing you want is a high turnover rate, which will increase hiring costs and lower sales productivity.

It’s important to analyze your attrition rate and see how you can improve employee retention. For example, by providing proper training, offering advancement opportunities, improving management and leadership style, increasing employee engagement, and boosting morale, you will be able to improve employee retention.

Mistakes to avoid when building a sales team

Building the right sales team can set your business up for success. However, without taking the proper steps, you could make mistakes that leave your team feeling unsupported or ill-prepared, hurting your recruitment efforts and causing problems for your business down the road. Below are pitfalls to avoid.

Hiring without an established process or criteria 

The hiring process is an integral first step to building a scalable sales team. Therefore, it’s essential to have a detailed understanding of the ideal candidate profiles you’re seeking. 

Develop a standardized hiring procedure that sets clear criteria, including defined “must-have” traits for candidates, and implement a scoring process to assess how well each candidate meets your requirements. Over time, this approach will enable you to establish a consistent hiring process where your team knows exactly what qualities to consider. 

Providing inadequate training

To maintain consistent, top-notch performance, provide your sales team with ongoing training, extending well beyond their initial onboarding. Offering uniform training across the whole team ensures that you align every member on responsibilities and standard procedures. 

Before hiring new personnel, consider investing additional time and training in your current team, as they might already possess the capability to meet your business’s challenges with adequate support and development.

Misaligning sales and marketing

Without high-quality leads, your sales team cannot do their jobs — and without the right audience, your marketing team cannot effectively sell. Therefore, getting these two teams aligned is crucial to the success of your business. 

Before considering team expansion, ensure both departments feel sufficiently resourced. For instance, if you plan to grow the sales team, this will increase the demand for leads, which you should prepare the marketing team to generate and manage.

Wasting time on forecasting instead of coaching

While careful forecasting is key for planning your business’s future, an overemphasis can divert resources that could be used for team development. Consider regularly dedicating time to coaching your sales team and investing in their future. Focus on advancing their specialized skills and offer regular check-ins, training sessions and mentorship programs. These efforts will help your sales team continuously grow.

Use these tools to build a better sales team

The steps outlined above will assist you in building a quality sales team. You have high sales goals in your business. Use these tools to build a fantastic team that will help you meet those goals.

By taking the time to determine what type of sales team you will be building, you can ensure you are hiring the right people for the right job. By designing a repeatable sales process and outlining measurable performance indicators, you set your people up for success from the start.

Lastly, through motivation and providing the right tools for your team to efficiently do their jobs, you will improve team morale and thus decrease your turnover rate. This will all lead to a successful sales team that can scale quickly as your company grows.

Matt Shealy contributed to this article.

author image
Written By: Sean PeekSenior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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