Are you struggling to put together the perfect B2B sales team? Maybe you’re just starting out and looking for tips to build a sales team. Or perhaps you’ve been in business for a while and you’re starting to expand. If that’s the case, we’ve got some tips how to grow a sales team. Either way, the importance of your sales team should never be understated. They drive the revenue into your business, and that’s why you should always aim to build a world-class sales team. Here’s 10 tips to make it happen.
Invest in the right technology
When building a sales team, you first need to have a solid collection of tools for them to use. Usually, this starts with technology. Software such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are extremely useful for all sales teams. Not only do they keep customer information all in one place, and maintain accurate records of previous orders, correspondence and even customer preferences, but they can do a whole lot more.
A CRM helps you automate a lot of tasks, such as emails and even some marketing functions. Plus, you can build clear workflows into the system to help guide your sales team through their work. This ensures leads don’t fall through the cracks, but it also gives your customers a consistent approach.
Use data to fuel your sales efforts
You can access a lot of data from your CRM, but there are plenty of other ways to access data. Some are very tech-related, while others are more manual. Hearing news while networking can open up leads and opportunities, so ensure this information is shared amongst your sales team.
As a business, you invest heavily in your sales team’s wages, but don’t forget about all the background work that helps them succeed. Whether it’s hiring data analysts or employing marketing firms to gather data, make sure you’re giving your sales team the best chance at generating leads and closing deals.
Invest in training and development
If you want to win customer loyalty, you need to train your staff accordingly. Now, that can look very different depending on how you choose to operate, but usually a wide-reaching training and development plan is essential to keep your team performing well.
You might have regular training on specific products, or internal training that relates acutely to how your company operates. But in addition, you’ll benefit greatly from providing your staff with training opportunities for general sales skills.
The people in your sales team are all individuals, and they may all have different training needs. So, be flexible with your approach to training and development. Of course, some courses will be mandatory, but always be open to letting your sales team expand and grow their professional skills.
Develop strong leaders
In the same way you want to invest in the sales skills of your team, don’t forget to invest in leadership. Even the most skilled salespeople need direction, and that’s exactly what leaders are there for. You can access a whole range of leadership courses designed to make your managers better at people management.
Leadership encompasses so many core skills, such as communication, motivating teams, managing conflict and much more. Usually, the sales teams with the most inspiring leaders will outperform those with poor leadership.
In addition to helping your leaders develop, don’t forget about those aspirational leaders in your sales team. You can boost employee engagement by ensuring people get opportunities to advance their careers into leadership positions.
Set clear targets
Every sales team has targets and KPIs. However, the art lies in setting the right targets. It’s not always about the dollars and cents, especially in today’s business landscape. Naturally, people need to be closing deals and bringing in sales, or their value to the sales team is diminished. However, there are plenty of other KPIs that are also important.
In conjunction with leaders and staff, make sure you set clear expectations about what needs to be achieved on a weekly and monthly basis. But remember, most business is fluid. Things change from month to month, and you may have certain people conducting more research tasks while leaving others to make customer calls. That’s why you don’t want to fall into the trap of simply looking at the dollar value of an individual’s sales.
Focus on performance management
Once you have set those clear targets and expectations, it’s important to manage them. It sounds extremely harsh, but you can’t let salespeople get away with having frequent poor performance. Everybody has a bad month. Clients just don’t fall their way, or they don’t have that little bit of luck you need. However, repeated bad performance is a sign that they need to improve, or head out the door.
Sales is a crucial part of any business, and if people aren’t pulling their weight, you need t let them go and bring in people who deliver results. The other risk of not managing poor performance is the effect it has on the rest of the team. People generally know if their colleagues are doing a good job or not, and if people regularly slack off and don’t get pulled up on it, that spreads like a cancer through the team.
Build a robust hiring process
We just talked about the importance of managing the performance of existing staff, but it’s equally important to focus on hiring new ones. It’s natural that people need a little training when they start, but considering how important your sales team is, you want newbies to hit the ground running as much as possible. Often, that comes down to your recruitment processes.
There’s no secret formula to hiring a great employee. Every business is different and values different qualities. So, determine what works best for your company. Is it purely based on being a ruthless salesperson? Or do they need to have the right personality and attitude to mesh with the existing team members. Settle on strong hiring guidelines, and stick to them no matter what.
Promote diversity in your teams
It’s been proven that diverse teams perform better than those lacking in diversity. There are several reasons for this, but generally it’s just the fact that different points of views, different experiences and different ideas usually lead to better work. In sales, diversity takes on even more importance.
Depending which industry you’re in, you’re likely to come across business clients from all different backgrounds. So, having a diverse team gives you an advantage over your competition. You can assign the right clients to the right salespeople, giving you more opportunities to close deals.
Plus, diversity is simply good practice. In the pursuit of a more inclusive society, it’s in the hands of businesses to promote diversity and bring cultures together.
Build a team-first culture
Most sales teams are known for having some friendly competition in their ranks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and as long as it stays good-natured, it’s a great way to motivate people to perform at their best. However, at the end of the day, every member of your sales team works for you. Not themselves. So, it’s important that your sales team can work together as one effective unit.
That means doing all the little things that make a difference. Calling a colleague’s client for them if your co-worker is sick. Assisting clients when they call in, no matter who they’ve spoken to before. At the end of the day, results are attached to the whole team, not just one individual. As they say, a champion team beats a team of champions every day of the week.
Think outside the box
Imagine all of the wonderful things that would never have been invented, or indeed achieved, if people didn’t try anything new. The same applies to building a successful business. Just because something has been done a certain way for years, it doesn’t mean you can’t try something new.
Don’t be afraid to innovate. Whether it’s a new approach to customer contact or providing flexible working arrangements, most things are always worth a try. If they don’t work, try something else, but staying the same rarely brings any significant improvement.
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