“Nothing happens until someone sells something”
Your sales depend principally on your sales people. You can have the best products and services on the market and run the best marketing, promotion and advertising campaigns in your field but you rely on your sales team to convert leads and prospects into buyers. It doesn’t matter whether you have full time, on the road sales professionals, over the counter sales staff, or people who do everything else as well as sell – success depends on them being able to close sales. If you are selling online, your sales pages are part of your team too – in this case your writers need to create copy that leads your visitor through all the features and benefits, answer their questions and objections and show them clearly what the steps are and how to take them.
A strong group of skilled sellers can help increase revenue, expand customer reach and drive growth. Building a great sales team isn’t easy – it requires careful planning, strategic thinking and continuous refinement. Simply hiring talented individuals won’t cut it; you need to create an environment that fosters growth collaboration and achievement if you want your team members to perform at their best.
In this article we will explore how you can create an exceptional sales force by focusing on five key elements.
1. Start with your culture
A winning sales team requires more than just skilled individuals; it also demands a strong company culture. Your team’s success depends on their ability to communicate your organizations values and mission effectively with potential customers. Hire employees who share these attitudes and beliefs and who can feel proud to be working with you.
2. Hire the right people
Hiring the right people is crucial. As well as supporting your company culture, your team members need to be self-motivated, goal-oriented and good communicators. They also need to be able to sell, so look for candidates with proven track records of achieving their goals.
During interviews ask behavioral questions that focus on past experiences rather than hypothetical scenarios. This will help identify applicants most likely to thrive in your organization.
3. Providing Effective Training & Coaching
The success of any business depends on its sales team’s ability to adapt and innovate in response to changing market conditions. This requires an environment that fosters learning and growth. Reaching and sustaining exceptional performance levels will call for:
- Effective orientation and induction for new hires;
- Regular sales training for all staff, including product information, sales techniques and customer service.
- Active coaching and mentoring – every staff member should have an in-house mentor to help them develop their skills and get ready for promotion;
- Structured team activities, e.g. presenting and analyzing real case studies to study success and to learn from mistakes.
Investing in these early on will yield significant benefits as new hires gain knowledge and experience in the business.
4. Use relevant sales strategies
Your sales strategies need to be relevant and effective. Define who exactly you want to reach out to, where they are and which channels or approaches are most appropriate. This will guide your messaging and how you allocate work to your team.
Your sales process should ensure leads receive appropriate attention as they move through the different stages of your pipeline. You will need a similar but separate pipeline for repeat customers.
Finally establish clear goals and metrics for measuring performance so everyone knows where they stand at every stage of development within each campaign or project being undertaken. With these steps taken care of effectively you’ll be well on your way towards achieving success in no time flat!
5. Set goals and measure performance
Goals should be written down, easy to understand and shared openly. Many businesses use the SMART approach to goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). Setting realistic yet challenging goals may help build momentum and to maintain morale while setting unrealistic targets will have the opposite effect.
Encourage open communication so that everyone knows what they need to achieve while having the opportunity to share feedback on how things can be improved.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your company’s strategic objectives. These may include
- revenue targets;
- lead generation;
- conversion rates;
- customer acquisition costs;
- average deal size
- average gross profit
- return on ad spend
Use data analytics to monitor and report regularly and to inform changes to strategies as needed.
6. Celebrate and reward success
While you want to recruit and retain self-motivated and goal oriented people, you also need to recognize and accept that even the best performers will struggle in a poor or negative environment. You will need to identify and neutralize or remove unhelpful factors. This will help your team sustain their enthusiasm and motivation.
Celebrating milestones and success is an essential part of managing a team. Typical rewards include:
- pay increases
- professional development programs
- prizes for internal competitions
- recognition programs
Your success as a business relies on having a successful sales team. There are six key elements to developing a great team:
- Your culture
- Hire the right people
- Provide effective training and coaching
- Use relevant sales strategies
- Set goals and measure performance
- Celebrate and reward success
These will help you create and maintain a strong sales team that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and deliver long term success.
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