Learn how to build a sales team that can scale as your business grows.
You are working hard to build your business and launch your product. You have done your market research, and know you have a quality product that your customers want and need. But how are you going to market and sell your product? With the right sales team in place, your new product could be the next big thing on the market.
Increasing sales cost-effectively is the key to growing an organization sustainably and profitably. To achieve your sales goal and growth target, you need to not only build a high-performing sales team but also structure it so you can scale up quickly to support your growth.
Building the right sales team involves more than simply posting a position on Indeed for an experienced sales rep. You will also need to set them up for success by providing them with the right sales tool, creating measurable performance indicators and motivating them to reach your desired sales quotas. Here's how to build a sales team and set it up for success.
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(s).
Consider whether you need inside sales, field sales or both. Identify the kind of 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 be required to support the growth. Planning these things in advance will ensure that you are hiring the right people for the right 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.
Your initial hires will most likely be account executives, and it's important to find the right talent. Exceptional AEs can close up to 45% of opportunities in the pipeline, compared to low-performing AEs who close less than 15%. As you are interviewing and hiring your new AE, it is important to know what you are looking for in a successful salesperson.
High-performing sales talents possess the intelligence to think outside of the box and give thoughtful responses in conversations. They're coachable, curious, humble and willing to learn from others. Most also have a competitive streak that drives them to work hard and achieve results.
Assembling a sales team with diverse backgrounds 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 repeatable 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 scale up 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 repeatable 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 and successful sales funnel requires a documented and repeatable sales process for your whole team to 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 while empowering them to take initiatives that will drive meaningful results.
Some important sales KPIs you should measure are sales growth, sales target, customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, customer churn rate, lead-to-opportunity ratio, opportunity-to-close ratio, conversion rate and profit margin per sales rep.
Also, 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 repeatable and scalable onboarding process is key to making sure 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 sales contests.
You also need to have a compensation system that ties performance to commission and bonuses to incentivize sales reps. This will allow you to balance cost and risk while attracting the top sales talent.
6. Implement the right sales tools.
Digitalization and automation allow you to scale up quickly and efficiently. Use these to your advantage by tapping into the vast amount of customer information you have at your disposal. Effectively using the right sales tools will allow sales reps to make data-driven decisions, and thus increase ROI.
Invest in the right sales software applications in sales intelligence, sales enablement, sales engagement, analytics and management/coaching. This will allow your sales team to streamline workflow and increase sales productivity.
7. Use a robust communication platform.
Most of today's sales activities are conducted over the phone. You will need a robust VoIP business phone service and cloud contact center software that can provide the right capabilities on demand. These tools will enable you to access the 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 sales performance.
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8. Improve talent retention.
Did you know that it typically costs $5,000 to $7,500 to hire and onboard each 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 that will increase hiring costs, lower sales productivity and impact the consistency of the customer experience.
It's therefore 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.
The eight 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 an amazing team that will help you meet those goals.
By taking the time, in the beginning, 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 will be setting your people up for success from the beginning.
Lastly, through motivation and providing the right tools for your team to efficiently do their job, you will improve team morale and decrease the turn-over rate. This will all lead to a successful sales team that can scale quickly as your company grows.