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7 Steps to Building Your Sales Team

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7 steps to building your sales team

Building a high performing sales team that exceeds all objectives is essential for every business. Your sellers are not only the front lines driving customer perceptions about your company but are the critical path to sustainable results.

As a Sales Manager or Corporate Executive, focusing your efforts around setting a clear path to success, providing the proper training for every seller, and determining the correct methods of motivation, will ensure you consistently exceed all of your business objectives.

There are seven key areas every leader should thoughtfully organize their strategy around while building exceptional sales and support teams. Drive consistency in all actions and accountability throughout the organization.

1. Culture

Instill your company mission statement and corporate culture into all of your functional teams, especially your sellers. There are a lot of exceptional sales representatives in the market today but understanding and aligning your corporate culture with each individual you hire will pay dividends as your business grows.

Build a “Sales Culture” – This means you are aligning the right sales support, operations, product development and management teams around the principals of sales execution. Set the tone for all teams regarding the importance of sales success, as this will drive everyone’s day to day priorities and focus on the teamwork needed to execute.

Set your sellers up for success by surrounding them with motivated functional teams. Cultivate great sales support leadership by implementing regular award programs tied to the individual, function or corporate results.

Great sellers thrive when motivated both financially and through award recognition, ensure both are aggressive and consistently drive toward exceptional individual performance based results.

2 Talent

Know your target seller both with tangible and intangible characteristics. Focus on the required experience and create a set of interview questions that will give you the best understanding of their intangibles. Set your compensation plan accordingly to ensure your top reps thrive with earning potential that will exceed the industry.

Recruiting Criteria:

New Sales Reps (0-3 years of experience) Average Deal Size of $10k or +$500k annual quotas Cold calling and lead generation experience in consumer, small business or mid-market customer sets. Compensation should be $40-$50k base with incentives to double their salary

Mid-Career Reps (4-10 years of experience) Average Deal Size of $100k or above $2M in annual quotas Cold calling, lead generation, pipeline management and account management with experience in consumer, small business or mid-market customer sets. Compensation should be $60k to $80k base with incentives to double their salary

Experienced Reps (+10 years of experience) Average Deal Size of $1M or $10M in annual quotas Opportunity Management, Customer Retention, Account Management and Growth, with Metrics Based Execution. Customer experience should be in Small, Medium and Enterprise Businesses and/or State, Local and Federal Government. Compensation should be between $80-100k base with incentives to double their base

Characteristics to look for in the interview process Culture Fit – Alignment with backgrounds and experiences Work Ethic – Average work week, “whatever it takes” attitude Coachability – Good listeners, eager to learn Intelligence – Education, experiences, interests/hobbies Success History – Overcoming objections and roadblocks, achievements, work drivers. Passion – Company or Industry interest Question-Based Selling – Sales approach looks to dig for the root cause and product value alignment Value Seller – Definition of Value Add when selling: Revenue, Expenses, Profitability, Efficiency

3. The Market

To deliver the proper value proposition and positioning, understand your key differentiation to the competition, segmented target customer sets, the cost basis for your product or service and profitability needed to drive the success factors for your business.

Know the available opportunity set, from either a customer count by segment or market revenue potential. Back into performance expectations based on the available opportunity set. If this is difficult to determine, place prior sales history as a benchmark targeting an annual growth rate you would like to see by rep or territory.

You should always look at the granularity of your financials, driving profitability in all deals the sales teams close. Whether you are paying on a Gross Margin or Revenue basis, create a cost model providing your teams with flexibility in price or structure throughout the negotiation process.

4. Value Proposition and Positioning

Develop a handful of customer segmented value propositions your teams should leverage. This will provide relative control and consistency in how your product or service is publicized. Push your sales teams to deliver the message in all training and onboarding exercises to the management teams, to ensure the proper forum for coaching all aspects of delivery.

Confidence is key in all sales messaging, so push for continuous repetition and refinement through the coaching sessions. Mentorship programs with successful reps is always a valuable practice.

It’s often awkward form to place a mirror in front of the seller, but body language is often as important as the message itself. For inside sales reps, placing a mirror in front of their phones and pushing them to smile as they speak is an old practice that absolutely works.

Value Proposition Creation:

What is your core value to potential customers – Price, Quality, Cutting Edge, Speed, Relationships, Cost Reduction, etc? Without being defensive - consider what makes your company different from the competition. Align a positioning statement against the top 5 competitors. Product or Service Differentiation - Definitive statements about why a customer should buy now. Top 5 Objections – Create rebuttals for the top objections your sellers may hear during a sales call

5 Pipeline Metrics

The science of sales is all about the numbers. Pipeline management is critical to understanding if a small pivot is needed in your message, product set or the price of your product/service.

Start with Lead Generation and create a pipeline management model that will track conversion rates for each step of the process. From Prospecting, Opportunity Management, Revenue to Existing Customer Growth; understand how business moves through the pipeline focusing on short timeframes and success benchmarks.

Track and review regularly lost opportunities asking your reps to provide detail about the reason. Management teams should hold regular meetings to discuss both sides of the pipeline to ensure their offer is well positioned in the market.

6 Management

The core role of an exceptional manager is to “Train and Motivate”. Consistency is always king when inspiring a team, but collaboration and an understanding of the hurdles they face will drive awareness by each individual as to the value of contributions towards the greater good of the company.

Regular sales meetings where you can take the pulse of your sellers and provide them with the encouragement needed to exceed all objectives is critical. I suggest holding an early week meeting to help the team transition from a relaxing weekend into a motivated seller. Reviewing weekly goals, a forum for feedback and highlight exceptional performances as a format for team motivation.

All sellers get told NO a lot, so the goal of a successful management team is to create an environment for positive motivation that will instill confidence in each rep.

Keep all aspects of both motivation and accountability on a short-term basis. Instill the value of consistency each day working towards exceeding their short and long-term goals.

7 Reporting

Regular visibility to highlight top performers, an understanding of how the team is tracking to their overall goals and the evaluation of your current state of the business, will give you the insight needed to deliver consistent results. Great sellers are goal-oriented individuals who take pride in their performance and always want to see how they are tracking against other sellers and the overall contributions to the organization.

Show your teams where the business stands and why their efforts are so valuable to the company. Great employees look for purpose in their work, so make sure that they feel a part of the overall success of the team.

Regular Reports:

  • Lead Conversion
  • Pipeline efficiency
  • Opportunity management
  • Revenue to Goals
  • Company performance

Great businesses are only built on highly effective motivated teams – today's employees are looking for not only individual success but a career built with purpose and pride in the company they work for.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hours a day” Zig Ziglar

Happy Selling

Sales Rake