Building a sales team is one of the most important things you can do ensure success for your company; if you build one the right way, that is.
Building a sales team is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success for your company; if you build one the right way, that is. Here is a 10 point checklist to make sure you’re on the right track:
1) Know what you’re good at.
Before a company can go out and sell something (effectively), it must know what its purpose is. To help define this you should know your value proposition, market position, target market, and competitive landscape.
2) Define how you sell.
Whether you’re a post start up or long tenured company, defining your sales process and go-to-market strategy will enable you to define the appropriate sales talent for your team. Can your offering be sold over the phone or does it require face to face interaction? Requires demonstrations? Proof of concepts? Sold by a rep or a sales committee?
3) What is success?
Ask every business in your building how they define this and you’ll probably hear a different response. That’s ok. The internal stakeholders must congregate and define some short and long term goals to relate to success. Then, create a roadmap to get there
4) Got culture?
For some brands, culture is easy to point out. For most, it’s created and reinforced by all the employees. Whichever boat you’re in, know your culture. Work with your HR team and other functional leaders to gain insight on the overall corporate culture as defined by its employees. Knowing this can help ensure the right people are brought in and retained.
Keep it simple. Make sure you’re profitable. Incent the right behaviour.
6) Assess your sales talent.
If you have an elite revenue generator, get them assessed. Understanding their sales DNA (their behaviours, motivators, emotional intelligence, and acumen) can help attract similar profiles. If you’re starting out, network with other business owners, colleagues, industry leaders. Think about some of the top sales people you’ve worked with and extract the top 3-5 characteristics that can get you started.
7) Train them.
Many Sales Managers hire reps based on previous successes but all too often expect them to reproduce those results. Before you hire, budget for training…and understand that training is ongoing and not an event. We’ve all been excited by a motivational, 3 day boot camp only to leave and never put the lessons to use. In addition to being ongoing, the training should be product specific, customized for your environment, utilized in the field, offer feedback/coaching throughout the sales process, and measure success.
8) Hire potential.
When making the decision to build a sales team, considering previous performance is definitely important. As is cultural fit, their sales DNA, etc. But when you look at your longer term goals, a succession plan is needed. For example, look for those that offer leadership quality, even if not needed now.
9) Get automated.
While reporting is not a forte for most sales people, it’s critical to understanding your business. There are many easy to use technology platforms that can give your organization the business intelligence it needs to make the best decisions.
10) You may not be hiring, but you should always be recruiting.
Taken from best in class organizations, seeking out exceptional sales talent should be an ongoing practice. Whether implementing a referral program, working job boards proactively or using social media, you should always be willing to meet sales candidates.
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.