The most important thing a company can have is a high quality product or service.
Next some say would be customer service but many would argue that an incredible sales team is quite a bit more important.
Customer service is important for retaining sales but a good sales team is clear about what they are selling and will lead to less calls from upset clients/customers.
The following are some things to think about and things to do while building your ultimate sales team.
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Who to Hire?
There are going to be some sales superstars who a small company just starting out might not be able to afford.
With certain commissions for these high performers or stock options this person can be convinced. Companies starting out are going to have to look in other areas for great salespeople.
How to find great sales people at a reasonable rate:
- When interviewing, give notice to college athletes when hiring for sales. These people are detail-oriented, as well as competitive, which are both must haves in the world of sales.
- Look at other industries that might be a bit more difficult to sell in. Things like door to door alarm salespeople who have thrived are perfect. They are used to selling at high rates as well as dealing with rejection. Actually feeding them good leads instead of having to knock on a random person’s door could be game changer for your sales team.
- Call center agents have quite a lot of experience selling on the phone. If you have a company that is driven by leads rather than cold calling sales, these agents are still a great choice. Most of the time sales is done over the phone, why not choose someone who has sold to thousands of people in just a few years?
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Training, Training, Training
Many sales teams do not train appropriately and just let those who have a natural knack for sales survive in the company. The attitude and mantra of your sales team must be stressed during training so the new hires understand the ways things are going to be.
How and what to train effectively:
- PowerPoint and other presentation programs will be used on a very consistent basis. Having the new hires master these is important. What is even more important is being impressive and sell, rather than be annoying with the presentation. Many college grads understand how to give a PowerPoint presentation but not when it comes to a sales presentation.
- To help with the pitching process it is important to use the written or spoken pitches of the best performers in the company. Each employee should have their own style of pitching but modeling after the best performers usually is the best practice.
- Test the employees on what they are being learned in practical tests. It is easy to pass a test about sales but to put these things into practice can be a bit more difficult.
- Train the new hires for about a week longer than you think you should. Some studies have shown around a 30 percent increase in productivity on each extra $1 they spend on developing and training employees.
- Have the team use positive affirmations especially if they are in a slump or are lacking confidence. There are even affirmations for salespeople like, “In sales, business and in my personal life I am only handed challenges that I am capable of achieving.” Do not underestimate the use of affirmations or even motivational videos being sent out daily.
Having a high commission percentage per sale or having other incentives for high sales can help drive profits in a huge way. The focus of the incentives should be to reward the high performing sales professionals while encouraging those who aren’t doing as well.
The best sales teams aren’t the ones with top end talent and no supporting sales after that. The best sales teams are those that have great talent at the top and average performers pulling their weight.
- Setting up a sales contest is a great way to get the competitive juices flowing as long as the rewards make it worth it.
- Have the CEO recognize the top sales performers weekly or monthly. This might not be a cash or benefit incentive but it is one that will make the team feel appreciated.
- If a sales team has reached a goal every week, have the company provide them with catered lunches. These lunches can be written off and keep the employees happy as well as productive as they won’t leave the office for lunch.
It can be extremely difficult to have high sales numbers if you are doing hours of paperwork after each sale. The top sales performer’s time is better spent selling rather than taking care of sales paperwork.
This can be something that an entry level employee or even an intern should take care of. Top sales performers are sometimes the most profitable people per hour in the company so maximizing their selling time is important.
How to optimize these processes:
- Client questionnaires can help clarify wants and needs to cut out unneeded conversations.
- Automated ordering systems can boost sales immensely and eliminate error from misunderstanding what a client or customer wants.
- Continually modify processes to see which factors have the largest impact on sales.
- Use time tracking software to monitor the highest performers. Their processes can be implemented among low performing employees to boost the sales of these employees.
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Continue Looking for Talent
Sales can lead to people leaving at a high rate either because of poor performance or alternate opportunities. Keeping the eye out for talent is important as losing a top sales performer can cripple a small business. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a top performer can be replaced immediately even if the person has an impressive sales background.
The new person still has to learn the industry, the product, and the other sales material. Keep interviewing salespeople as you could pass up on some incredible people. Building the ultimate sales team can make a company successful beyond expectation. The above are a great place to start if you want to take your sales department to another level.