Last updated on February 13th, 2024 at 01:41 pm

The world of sales can be hyper-competitive, but it has long been a collaborative industry. Sales managers must be willing to build and lead a sales team that will work together to reach its short-term and long-term goals.

Your sales team structure will need to suit your management style and accommodate the organization’s needs as a whole. Knowing how to hire the best salespeople, perform relevant sales training, and motivate your team members will allow you to enjoy a productive and rewarding career in sales.

How to Build a Successful Sales Team

Before you can begin developing a sales strategy plan and working toward your quota, you will need to build a successful sales team. Your team should comprise various sales professionals, including account executives, sales development representatives, sales specialists, and customer service representatives. Each team member plays a critical role in the sales funnel, and as the sales manager, you are responsible for nurturing, supporting, and guiding your team toward the established sales goals.

These steps will help you learn how to build a sales team:

Define Sales Objectives and Goals

Before you can begin hand-selecting the members of your sales team, you will want to outline clear sales goals and objectives. Objectives are broad goals that are often accomplished over the long term. Some of the most common objectives in the sales industry include:

  • Increasing annual profits.
  • Earning more customers.
  • Improving conversion rates.
  • Improving productivity rates.

Sales goals, on the other hand, are more specific and concrete. According to Yesware, sales goals are measurable objectives that keep the sales team focused and productive. A sales goal may include a monthly quota or an annual threshold. As a sales manager, you will likely need to determine a reward for hitting the sales goals, such as additional compensation. Alternatively, you may decide to outline a consequence for not making the goal. Your approach will depend on the type of sales manager you are and the team you are leading.

Identify Skills and Qualities

As you craft your team, you want to prioritize the skills and qualities you seek in your team members. Determining abilities and qualifications can be based on what your current team is missing. However, many  sales professionals find that the following skills and qualities are beneficial to their teams:

  • Self-motivated
  • Ambitious
  • Creative
  • Adaptable
  • Collaborative
  • Empathetic
  • Persistent

Develop Clear Job Descriptions

In order to attract the sales professionals who are most qualified for the positions available on your team, you want to outline clear and specific job descriptions. Clear job descriptions can save you time and money in the long term. Recent data shows that turnover rates in the sales industry are currently hovering around 27 percent. That high turnover rate can be attributed to professionals finding themselves in a role they are not well-suited for. 

You should create job descriptions for each role on the team that include:

  • Specific job responsibilities – By outlining what this professional will do for the team, you are giving a clear picture of what you will expect as a sales manager on a daily basis.
  • Expectations of qualifications – You should state whether you are looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree or if you are searching for a professional with a certain amount of professional experience in the field. Clarifying your expectations will help you focus your search on the most qualified candidates.
  • Descriptions of working conditions – For instance, if your sales team will be able to work remotely, you should include that. You should also have information about any amount of travel required for the job or the type of hours an individual can expect to work.

Attract Top Talent

Once you have established descriptions for the roles in your sales team, you can begin actively recruiting top talent in the industry. You could streamline the hiring process by:

  • Utilizing various recruitment methods.
  • Creating clear job criteria.
  • Offering a competitive compensation plan with transparent commission rates.
  • Involving existing team members in the search.
  • Investing in targeted advertising.
  • Promoting the culture at your company.

Conduct Interviews and Assessments for Candidates

The hiring process is a bit different for sales positions, as it’s important to find candidates with the personality and the necessary deliverable skills for the role. In addition to conducting interviews and asking about relevant sales experiences and personal approaches to sales, you also will want to conduct aptitude tests and simulations to assess candidates.

One of the best ways to assess candidates is to include role-playing tests and simulations in the interview process. These experiences allow you to witness the actionable skills of the candidate and collect data and metrics that can be used to determine how successful they might be in the available position.

By relying on a layered hiring approach that includes traditional interviews along with data-based assessments, you can feel confident in the candidates you hire and reduce the risk of unnecessary turnover.

How to Lead a Successful Sales Team

Once you have assembled an incredible team driven to succeed, it is time to begin your leadership journey. As the sales manager, your team’s success ultimately rests on your shoulders. It’s crucial that you provide them with the tools, resources, and guidance necessary to help them reach their goals.

You can successfully lead a sales team when you:

Offer Comprehensive Training and Onboarding

Before you put your team on the ground, you will want to make sure they feel confident and prepared in their new roles. According to Hubspot, some of the best training and onboarding techniques for sales professionals include:

  • Role-playing training – Role-playing is one of the most effective forms of training for sales professionals because it allows your team to step into their positions and practice their roles. Role-playing also allows you, as a manager, to teach your team in real time and provide them with actionable, helpful feedback to consider before they start actively selling.
  • Script training – Give your team scripts they can review, practice with, and even rely on in their first few weeks or months on the job. By providing them with the language they need to be successful, your sales team can become more confident and assured.

Ensuring your team has the skills and resources they need to succeed will help them get started on the best possible note.

Foster a Positive and Collaborative Team Culture

The culture you develop will have a direct impact on your team members’ productivity as well as their overall performance. A sales rep will be more motivated to reach their goals when they feel valued and respected in the sales team. Some of the best ways to promote a positive and collaborative team culture are establishing common goals that will benefit the entire team, encouraging collaboration and communication, and recognizing team members for their accomplishments.

Set Clear Expectations and Performance Metrics

Your team will rely on the short-term and long-term goals that you establish, so it’s important to be clear about your expectations for their performance. For example, each sales rep on your team should know how many customers they need to contact each month, how many conversions you expect throughout the quarter and how much revenue they should generate from their sales calls.

Maintain Effective Communication Channels

Relying on the best technology in the sales industry will allow you to communicate with your team members and customers effectively. Email continues to be the preferred communication method among sales teams, but text messaging is quickly rising as a go-to way to get ahold of someone on the team during the day. In addition, CRM and sales enablement tools can help you communicate with your team and provide them with real-time support.

Provide Ongoing Professional Development and Skill Enhancement

From the start of the sales process until closing, your team members will lean on their skills and experience to reach their goals. You can invest in your team members and promote a more positive culture by offering professional development opportunities that allow them to grow their careers.

In the sales industry, some skills to focus on during professional development and training exercises include:

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Product knowledge
  • Time management
  • Negotiation 
  • Business acumen
  • Relationship building
  • Effective communication
  • Project management
  • Objection handling
  • Strategic prospecting

Evaluate Sales Performance

One of the key parts of leading a strategic sales team is to routinely evaluate sales performance. It is necessary to use industry technology to track data and performance metrics so you can provide your team with an accurate and informative evaluation. These evaluations can serve as a way to recognize accomplishments as well as establish updated goals.

Provide Feedback, Coaching and Recognition

In sales, the customer experience is often the top priority — but as the sales manager, you should prioritize the experience of your team members, too. Regularly providing positive feedback and constructive criticism can help them grow personally and professionally. Coaching members with positive reinforcement and recognizing their accomplishments will continue to keep them motivated and excited to be a part of your team.

Enhance Your Skills With an MBA

Elevating your career as a sales professional requires you to invest time, energy, and resources into yourself; one of the best ways you can do that is to pursue a Master of Business Administration in Sales Management. This specialized MBA degree program at Salem University could not only provide you with an advanced understanding of the best business practices but also allow you to develop effective leadership skills. Request more information today, and take those first critical steps toward becoming a sales manager.

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