Good Sales Team Strategy
Imagine having a sales team of top producers. Your department will continuously exceed its annual goals along with generating new business while retaining its valued customers. Having a sales team praised by executives and envied by competitors is a dream for most companies. In this article, we are going to see how sales team strategy works for every organization.
All organizations must have a killer sales force. Marketing, product/service innovation, business development, etc., are all important to rake in revenues. But bluntly put, no sales means no revenues. Your sales team strategy is at the heart of all production activities. Your salespersons are the ones that champion your offer and drive the precious profit. So your sales team strategy should be the best. Period.
But how can you build a successful sales team strategy? In a recent survey, over 80% of the respondents said that the quality of those being hired is the single most important element for the success of the sales department. It makes sense if you have worked with sales stars in the past. They are usually industrious and highly motivated individuals, continuously striving to outperform their numbers, even in the most adverse conditions. Having people of such caliber on your team can greatly improve the overall sales performance.
The most important step, of course, is to ensure that your human resource (HR) department can zero in on and hire the top talent. Other levers like collateral, sales training, and strategy are also important. But if the recruits are marginal performers, the best initiatives will come to a halt.
Breaking off from the traditional hiring methods and filling your department with sales stars will help you steal a mile over your competitors.
Before reading further about how to build a good sales team strategy, remember that recruiting top talent has become difficult over the years. Applicants have changed. They are more interview-savvy now, giving the HR manager a tough time to separate the real stars from storytellers. The internet today is loaded with thousands of links with answers to the typical sales interview questions. There are also various organizations that will video role-play and prepare candidates to sail across even the most tricky interview questions.
How can you build the best sales team strategy?
And here’s how you can build the best sales team strategy from ground zero.
1. Evaluate the situation
A good doctor will never prescribe medicine without a proper diagnosis. Going by that example, treat your sales force as a patient. Do you already have the appropriate resources? Maybe you are starting with A-list players, and they only need an advanced training program and a push towards the proper direction.
Conversely, your team may be losing out to demand. Maybe it can’t handle the number of requests, and you need some extra heads to keep your business growing.
Working from the ground up means you are starting with a clean slate. But knowing how to build the team from scratch means what you are looking for and how to attract winners.
2. Have a good hiring process for a sales team strategy
When it comes to hiring salespersons, hundreds of applicants may come out with flying colors. That’s exactly why hiring for the sales team goals is different from inducting stars for the client servicing team.
Here are some questions that can help you gauge the candidate.
- Whether the person is coachable: Many professionals with vast sales experience believe that they have everything figured out. Avoid them with all possibilities because they won’t take coaching as they have a bloated opinion about themselves.
- “Sell me a bottle of water”: The question will help you to check out whether the candidates are on their toes. Can they take head-on challenges? Can they improvise?
- Tell us about your entrepreneurial flair: It could be starting some volunteering activity, or a club, or some non-profit organization. Ask the candidates to show something that demonstrates initiatives and with major brownie points.
It’s also important that your candidates have knowledge about your products and services. Try hiring someone with more product knowledge and less experience than an experienced individual with no product knowledge. This is because the ramp-up time for sales training is shorter.
3. Don’t just fire; fire fast
Your sales process can’t guarantee that every person you hire will become successful. Time is a deal killer in the world of sales. It applies to low performers on the team as well. If they are just dragging along and don’t seem to be the proper fit, you must quickly pull the trigger and let them go.
Sample this: You offer a job to a person who seems to be great on paper and give him/her a grace period of two weeks to start. After a day or two, the person begins to act really weird because of the delay in joining. He/she starts blaming you for the delay and keeps asking why they can’t start earlier. Then he/she starts talking about promotion. A little inquiry and you may find that he/she is broke and needs a job desperately. Desperate persons can’t make good salespersons and are often not a cultural fit to the organization. They must go.
Investor and entrepreneur, Mark Suster, said: “If you know, you know. If you know, do it now. Things don’t get better. Your “blink” instincts are right. You won’t patch things up. Delaying the inevitable is not going to make things smoother with your investors, biz dev partners, customers or employees.”
There’s only one answer: fire promptly.
Firing someone has no different than the hundreds of decisions you have to take for your company’s interest. When you fire, you free some much-needed budget. You free the organizational chart and can bring in fresh blood. Your staff will almost universally emerge out of the woodwork to say, “Thanks, he needed to go.” When people in your organization are not pulling their weight, the pressure is felt on other employees. They are grateful to work for a company where performers are valued, and slackers are not.
Managing a sales team is a tough task. Managing a bad sales team is tougher still.
4. Have metrics to hold people accountable
You must establish and maintain robust key performance indicators (KPIs) for your sales team goals that everybody understands and follows. Else, there won’t be any accountability. Ask your team to send you a daily and weekly sales stats summary. Monthly meetings are also necessary. This works fine if you are a new company and you don’t have an automated sales reporting mechanism. Try to put one in place as your revenues grow. Whether you have everything in-house or have outsourced sales team goals, this is a non-negotiable step.
5. Communicate. In fact, overdo it
Many top companies believe in remote working to foster communication and often work that way for a couple of days in a week. But it requires lots of discipline. Ask your team to communicate a lot. Being able to see whether you are doing things in the correct way on a daily basis is an effective way to gauge performance.
If something goes wrong, just jump on to Google Hangout and discuss the problem with your team members instead of sitting on it for weeks. Send daily standup emails to all your team members so that they get an idea of their performance vis-à-vis their peers. It helps to generate some urgency and also a little competition which comes as an added bonus. If someone falls behind, he/she can see it and pull up the socks from there.
Here’s what you can use to communicate
- Daily standup mails
- Sales huddles in the morning and evening. Morning: What are the opportunities you will be working on today? Evening: What were the biggest obstacles faced today?
- Weekly one-on-ones
- Monthly or weekly sales summaries. A quick report on the KPIs of each member of the team
- Weekly reports that help to gauge the pulse of not only the sales team goals but also the entire company.
6. Go for all-out training
There’s no end to learning. From making quizzes to creating screencasts to buying books for the sales team activities, it’s your responsibility to keep each of the team educated and updated. Better education leads to increased output over the long run. Your team will also appreciate you for that. After all, if you are running your team, it’s your job to let everyone feel better.
- Role-playing: This is a standard in most companies. The trainee would be put in some situation that emulates a real-life scenario. The trainer will give feedback after evaluating the results.
- Call shadowing: It’s a standard in most companies. Team members take up real calls.
- Screencasts: Use video software to make tutorials for your team members. From tips on how to prospect, selling tools used all throughout, and how to qualify for websites, the experience you share with them will be invaluable.
- Books: Buy copies of Predictable Revenue and ask your sales team members to read it. Once they are armed with the knowledge, it’ll put them on the same page as you. This will help them to understand their role better.
- Weekly learning days: Create a Google Hangout that lasts for up to 30 minutes. Every week, one member of the team can be called to present on a topic. The underlying idea is that everybody must continue learning and know-how to prepare a presentation.
7. Track progress and success
To build a winning sales team activity, you must first define what it means to win. But understanding the yardstick for progress and success usually depends on the starting point. Success in sales is an outcome of both behavior and results. Merely targeting the activity part won’t usher in results. At the same time, it could be discouraging to focus on results only, particularly during sales slumps.
Examples of measuring sales performance
- The ratio of cost of sales to revenue: Sales volume only is not the final word for all industries. Whether you sell a small-margin product, the actual revenue is the correct indicator of production.
- Conversion rates: Are your team members closing deals? How many touches do they require in this regard?
- Forecast versus actual sales: Salespersons who continuously hit the forecast know about the market, their clients, their own expectations, and the way to success.
- Examples of measuring sales activity
- Funnel health: This is the number one categorical measurement for the success of your sales funnel. It is like facing the future and focusing on the results path. Record the quality and status of all prospects and the causes behind all of them. In that way, when the team does or doesn’t produce, the context can be examined and the procedure optimized.
- New accounts contacted: New contacts open new doors. Measuring the number of fresh prospects collected by your team will reveal its overall tenacity and hunger.
8. Keep the cash flowing
While money may not be everybody’s key motivator, dedicated salespersons usually have the remuneration part at the back of their minds. Even if your team is not payday-driven, money can get the comfort and security that all people look for.
Offer basic pay to build a sales team strategy that needs some security. But if that doesn’t match your business objectives, try spicing it up with the commission scheme. Offering unpredictable incentives for performance—both monetary and others—can boost the morale of your sales team members.
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to building successful sales team goals. It takes time to convert rookies to pros. A good sales manager can make much difference to his/her team. That being said, rewards are gauged by your company’s success.
Although your sales team goals may take off to a flying start, remember there’s always room to learn more. Remain inquisitive and maintain a beginner’s mind. The truth is, there’s always someone better than you in the market, besides someone always ready to fire you. Never hesitate to seek help from your senior or coworkers. You can also seek expert opinions from leading professionals via video chat if you can’t find a person of that mettle in your organization.
This has been a guide to sales team strategy is the heart of all production activity. Having a sales team praised by executives and envied by competitors is a dream for companies. These are the following external link related to sales team strategy.