3 years ago
January 5, 2015

5 Characteristics of a Successful Sales Team

In order to build a successful sales team, sales managers and executives need to know the characteristics in order to choose the right candidates.

Rhys Metler

In order to build a successful sales team, sales managers and executives need to know the characteristics of a successful sales team in order to choose the right candidates. When the right sales people are on a sales team and the sales manager is actively involved in promoting the team’s success, that team will become successful. Here are five characteristics that all successful sales teams share.

1. A Successful Sales Team Is Collaborative

The days where a single sales person could routinely land major accounts alone are fast receding. This is due in part to changing customer expectations; prospects need to feel that someone at a vendor is always available, and team selling helps fulfill that need. A successful sales team is made up of individuals who thrive in a team environment and are therefore able to cooperate and collaborate on major accounts. This also means that sales compensation and incentive plans should have contingencies for equitably recognizing each sales person who made a contribution towards closing a major sale.

2. A Successful Sales Team Is Able to Self-Direct

Most top sales people are described as driven and self-directed. In a successful sales team, the majority of individuals fit this description. Sales people who are not able to self-direct and meaningfully contribute to team accomplishments and dialogue have little place in and rarely last long on a successful sales team. The self-direction of a successful sales team comes from many sources, including:

  • Peer support. Members of a successful sales team tend to look to one another for assistance before requiring direction from the sales manager.
  • Knowledge of resources. Sales people on a successful sales team are intimately familiar with the resources available, and will use these resources to their maximum potential.
  • A comprehensive recruiting plan. The recruiting plan for a successful sales team must actively search for and select individuals who will thrive in the environment.

3. A Successful Sales Team Manages Its Time

Few things are more frustrating than seeing opportunities slip away due to poor time management. With a successful sales team, this is rarely a problem. Combined with the other characteristics of a thriving sales team, excellent time management skills allow such a team to coordinate individual effort to ensure that no sale is missed due to time pressures. These time management skills also allow these sales teams to make time for other priorities such as development and coaching without negatively impacting sales numbers.

4. A Successful Sales Team Has Inherently Strong Communication

Communication on any sales team is key, but the successful sales team makes communication an art form. At any time on a successful sales team, team members will be in routine contact with one another, team supervisors and managers, and promising leads and prospects. In such a sales team, sales opportunities are rarely dropped because the dialogue is kept open and active – while management is always aware of the status of important opportunities and sales targets. This communication also allows the sales team to:

  • Understand what must be accomplished in order to meet quota.
  • Give valuable input on the sales process to make improvements for even better sales team performance.
  • Pivot where required when priorities or goals are changed as business needs evolve, without substantial disruption to the existing pipeline.

5. A Successful Sales Team Enjoys Winning

The thrill of winning is one of the drives behind most major sales achievements. A successful sales team is motivated by the thrill of accomplishment for its own sake, and the manager of this team will find that monetary incentives often come in second place. This does not mean that monetary incentives should be phased out; many sales people count this as a strong motivation. However, sales managers looking to build a successful sales team may want to move the strategy away from compensation and look to the non-monetary characteristics of a successful sales team first.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.