3 Important Areas to Develop a Great Sales Team
How to Build a Great Sales Team
Small and large businesses alike struggle in developing great sales teams. Small businesses often think that they can only afford to hire people with little or no experience. Larger companies will only hire salespeople with years of experience, a book of business and that come with a big price tag. There may be some truth to both, but there are some Back to Basics things that any organization can do to hire and Build a Great Sales Team:
- Hire smart people as salesmen. You can teach sales techniques or offer product specifications, but cannot teach intelligence.
- Hire happy people. I actually had a candidate describe his recent, painful divorce in detail during an interview…not hired.
- Hire people excited to learn. This is the toughest one to determine, but worth it. Someone who’s constantly learning will continue to grow in their sales skills.
- Train everyone at once. It’s vital that everyone knows the same information gotten from the same source if at all possible.
- Standard procedures – it’s important that each salesperson at least starts out with a standard approach to calls, meetings, quotes and follow ups. Train them all on Pre-Call Planning and Post-Call Follow-Ups in addition to the demo at the same time.
- CRM – don’t assume they know how to or will use it effectively, from using CapsuleCRM to Salesforce.com, spend as much time as needed getting everyone on the same page.
- Customer perspective – many sales training classes I’ve done focus on technique; active listening, closing questions, etc. You need to have your salespeople trained to understand your customer’s perspective. Why do they want your product or service? What motivates them to speak to you in the first place? In fact, invite your CUSTOMERS in to help train!
- Technical input – make sure you invite your service technicians and engineers in to speak to your salespeople regularly. Not just about the product or service, but also about their actual job and what they do every day. They may interface with your customers more than your salespeople do and could pass on valuable perspective.
- Regular sales training meetings – give your salespeople a safe environment to discuss what’s working and what’s not. Let them teach each other how to be more successful.
- CRM review – make sure everyone is on the same page over and over again. You can never train someone on anything only once.
- Individual coaching – that’s what sales managers are there for; to help the salespeople succeed, not to beat them into submission. Coach in the field, coach on the phone.
- Pay Plans – Salespeople will do what makes them the most money. If you incentivize them to find new business, don’t complain if customer retention is not a priority. If you pay them based on revenue alone, realize they might sell more of your least profitable products. Few things will cause a sales team to lose it’s motivation than adjusting their commission structure, so try and get it right the first time and stick to it for at least a year.
Building a great sales team is not easy, and will take a great deal of time and effort. In the end, your company’s success likely depends on the efforts of these particular employees, so treat the entire process accordingly.