Building an effective sales team

Building an effective sales team

All good salespeople are not necessarily good sales managers. The skills that got you here isn’t going to keep you here. You will need to build an awesome team, you have to coach them and train them, you have to constantly evaluate them, keep them motivated and…………. replicate the successful salesperson you were in the past……….. in order to succeed as a manager.

Let us discuss a few steps that will help you build a good team.

Decide the team size based on the Segmentation plan

You would have figured out by now who your buyer personas would be and would have sized the market in terms of no of named accounts or the total sets of companies to go after.

Based on the past years’ performance analysis, you will get a good grip on whether all the targeted accounts have even been reached once by your sales team – Account Reach. The second metric you can look at is how many of the targeted accounts have made it to the sales pipe – Account Penetration.

This is important because the buyers in the targeted accounts need to know about the solutions, then feel the importance of those solutions and eventually move towards the buy button. It is the sales teams issue if the buyers do not even know about the selling organization. 

You can then decide the market reach and the market penetration plan. You can then decide the quantum of efforts the sales team need to put in order to engage with the adequate no of prospects within a specified timeline to build a scientific pipe.

Decide the team size based on the segments and the accounts you would like to go after…  for this year.

No. of targeted accounts, the effort required, time taken to reach to them should determine the sales force size. #salesteam Click To Tweet

Decide the JD based on earlier successful salesperson traits            

Once you have decided the no of people you would want on board, you would need to get a JD out. Make a JD based on what skills made the earlier team members successful and stick on to picking those people only.

I have seen many teams making the mistake of accepting sub-optimal team members because they have lost their patience or want to form the team fast.

This will come back to bite you because the team members who are neither motivated to put in the hours nor having the skills will end up wasting a lot of your executive time.

Analyzing the Effort, Activity and Result metrics

Your sales team can engage with multiple new and existing contacts on a daily basis. You will have to work out the effort to result in ratio and the metrics and should manage the teams based on those. Attention should be taken to be consistent across all stages of the sales cycle.

Benchmark both the earlier sales team successful traits and also the past metrics to identify the right skills. #salesteam Click To Tweet

Drafting out a sales-operations plan

The entire quota needs to be broken down into mini tasks and milestones. Your reviews on measuring performance should all be about the team achieving those milestones based on the targets given to them. The teams will then have accountability and would begin working towards those goals.

Have a sales playbook in place

A sales playbook or a battle card is a must to have when you add people to your team. As each member gets added, your bandwidth in terms of the time you can spend on people, their performance, reviews, and your own work will come down.

So, capturing the best practices and the don’ts based on the past teams’ performance should be captured in the form of a sales playbook. Training a larger team becomes scalable.

Also, read the other blog I had written on effective Sales Playbook Design

A sales-operations plan to with small milestones & a sales playbook with best practices will make the new team perform. #salesteam Click To Tweet

Constant training and Re-Training

You now have a trained team and they have begun executing your plan. However, you find that the team is not that effective as you wanted them to be. This is because there are “Gaps in Execution“. You have to isolate and find out where the gaps are.

Is it with the sales strategy, is it with the playbook, is it with the sales person themselves? You can begin a retraining exercise if you identify that the gap is with the salesperson.

This is because the salesperson may not be able to retain information beyond a certain point. They also have pressure to perform and may make mistakes while they are meeting or talking with the buyers.

You must have a schedule on what and how to train the salespeople. You, in the initial timeline, can have a methodology that your HR or L&D teams can take over and can train the team in the initial phase. Your SME (Tech) person can step in and can train the teams on the solutions and on the technology landscape.

You can spend a few hours in training the team members on what the market expects and how they should pitch, handle objections and close.  You can then have some senior salespeople who can double up as mentors and can give hands-on training to the team.

You can find the Gaps in the knowledge of the sales teams when you do your reviews and can plan for re-training. Some companies even have online tests for the employees to take on a constant basis.

Constant re-training of the sales team will keep them on par with the latest playbook and will make them sell more. #salesteam Click To Tweet

Give them access to the tools the team needs in order to succeed

Give them the basic support in terms of access to the tools you can afford. It can be a CRM, leads sources, LMS for training to name a few. Yes, it could be a bit expensive for certain types of organizations.

However, you should understand that the salesperson should spend their time in conversing with the prospects either offline or online and not waste their time in non-value adding activities like building the database, wasting time in getting the base collaterals, etc.

Keeping these aspects in mind will help you move forward in building a sales team.

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