Have you been working hard to build a successful sales team, but your efforts seem not to be yielding the desired results?
Well, you’re not alone in this, as this is the pain point of many budding and experienced entrepreneurs.
While many may prefer to hire professional copywriters and marketers to help them achieve their sales goals, not many can afford such services.
This is especially true for budding entrepreneurs just trying to build their business from the ground.
Likewise, many business owners would prefer to have an in-house sales team that they can work closely with and have easy access to at any time.
If you belong to this category of business owners, you’ll have to invest time, energy, and financial resources to build a great sales team.
In the long run, it be worth the investment considering the results you’ll achieve.
However, building a sales team is one thing, and building a successful/efficient sales team is another thing altogether.
The good news! It is achievable, and we are delighted to show you how.
Walk with us as we show you how.
How To Build A Successful Sales Team
It is an excellent idea to start up a business as an entrepreneur.
Many people today nurture that desire.
Starting a business has also been made easy these days, thanks to many business support organizations that show the way.
However, where the problem lies is not in the idea generation phase, neither is it in the start-up process.
Instead, the most challenging phase is how to grow the business.
Granted, many people start a business with the essential goal of helping others and adding value.
And this, of course, should be the drive behind starting a business.
However, the abiding interest of every entrepreneur or business owner is to generate revenue from the business establishment.
Now, this is where sales come in.
Whether you are a business selling products or offering services, you need to increase sales to stay in business.
Sadly, many businesses that started well and with so much promise have not been able to stay afloat, talk more of being successful.
To put it in proper perspective, many of these startups do not survive the first year of business.
The reason is clear; they cannot make sales and hence cannot sustain the business.
This is why you should pay attention to generating sales, especially by building an effective and successful sales team.
Now let’s consider the idea of a sales team.
What is a Successful Sales Team?
Sales refer to the activity of selling something to generate income.
Usually, this might be a product that you offer in exchange for money.
It might also be offering a service at a cost to the one receiving the service.
With that in mind, you can define a sales team as a team of individuals or departments in charge of sales and customer-related programs/activities in your organization.
It means that a sales team is responsible for marketing, generating sales, handling customer acquisition and retention.
Their efforts are also geared towards the eventual growth and success of the business.
In some organizations, the sales team might also be responsible for customer service, while in other organizations, the role differs.
However, they always walk in tandem to achieve the business’ goals and objectives.
You should see your sales team as people at the forefront of your business, interacting with customers to ensure satisfaction.
More importantly, they are also the ones who make the difference as to whether or not you can convert prospects into leads and leads into paying customers.
Therefore, a successful sales team would have mastered these roles and achieve plausible sales results.
Overall, there are no rules as to how large your sales team should be.
It all depends on the size of your company.
Let’s move on to other essential aspects.
Building a Successful Sales Team – Why Important?
You’re convinced that having a good sales team will help you grow your business.
This is why you’re earnestly searching for ways to build one.
Nevertheless, let’s remind you of the importance of building a successful sales team.
Increased Business Revenue
It is no surprise that this is the first benefit of building a successful sales team in the workplace.
The ultimate goal of sales is to generate revenue.
Hence, when you make efforts to build your sales team to the point where they are very good at what they do, it can help you increase your business revenue.
Conversion of Prospects and Leads to Paying Customers
Customer acquisition is yet another benefit that comes with having a great sales team.
It’s easy to identify prospects for your business but not so easy converting them into leads.
It is even more difficult making those leads active paying customers.
Prospects are people or businesses you know or feel would be interested in the products you sell or the services you offer.
Leads, on the other hand, are those who have shown a degree of interest in patronizing you.
However, they are yet to make any commitments in terms of paying for a product or service.
These two categories of people offer nothing to you in terms of revenue.
The point you start making money is when they become paying customers.
Your sales team can help you get the prospects to this point.
Customer Relationship and Retention
Another benefit that comes from a good sales team is that they help you retain your best customers.
Salespersons have skills that other employees might not have that help appease angry customers and convince them.
Some of those skills are persuasiveness, enthusiasm, eloquence, and the ability to convince people.
You will need these qualities to come to play many times in business, especially when you need to convince customers to keep their patronage.
Also, when you assign customers to sales agents on your sales team, they can help maintain a long-term working relationship with these customers.
This is because they understand their issues and concerns better and are always there to provide one on one assistance when needed.
So not only does the sales department help in acquiring new customers, but they can also help you in retaining them.
When growing a business, we can’t underestimate or overemphasize the sales team’s importance.
There are various ways in which the activities and functions of a sales team help foster business growth.
One way is from the positive reviews and recommendations from excellent customer services by your sales agents.
Sometimes if your business has a website, these satisfied customers can leave reviews on the website, and such reviews will draw in many more customers for your business.
It could also be word-of-mouth referrals or testimonials to their friends.
And, of course, the daily marketing efforts of your sales team will also increase customer conversion and eventually business growth.
Identifying Successful Sales Team – Characteristics of Successful Sales Team
Do you have a functional sales team in your organization or business establishment?
Would you love to know if they are successful in their role and responsibilities?
Well, there are specific indicators of success from the sales department of an organization.
In other words, there are certain characteristics that all successful sales teams should exhibit.
Hence, you should know these to implement those habits and measures in your sales team to drive them towards success.
Here are some of the most important ones:
They Have Strong Leadership
In most cases, the leader of a sales team is the sales manager.
This is where the success or failure of the team starts from.
The sales manager is responsible for providing leadership for the team in formulating policies, providing directions, metrics, and training for the sales team.
Whatever efforts the leader or manager put into sales would determine what output the sales team would produce.
A good sales team leader understands the fundamentals in sales and gives the needed guidance/direction to others in the sales team.
They also possess certain qualities or attributes such as resilience, passion, enthusiasm, persuasiveness e.t.c.
These qualities make such a leader an effective one, and they are better able to teach these to other team members.
There is Mutual Trust on the Team
Another characteristic of successful sales teams is that the team members have an excellent level of trust in one another.
This is integral to success because they would meet with different individuals in their line of work, with varying personalities.
Mutual trust will help the team members believe in their colleagues’ abilities and have confidence in them to contribute their quota in reaching the company’s set goals and objectives.
This trust also helps them manage disagreements better and build good working relationships, which are also hallmarks of all successful teams to which the sales team is no exception.
There is Open Communication
There’s little chance of success for a sales team that doesn’t openly communicate with each other.
Communication is essential for every department in an organization and even more important for the sales department.
Many times, the structure used for the sales team is assigning customers or leads to different sales agents.
They are responsible for turning these leads into paying customers.
Good communication is needed to avoid misinformation and misunderstandings resulting in two different customers unknowingly working on the same lead.
Thereby leading to wasted efforts resources.
Overall, a sales team or any team will do better and achieve success with good communication.
They work with Clear Goals, Objectives, and Expectations
Look at any successful sales team, and another thing you will find is that they work with clearly defined goals/targets.
Usually, you or the sales manager would meet with the sales department from time to time and discuss goals/targets.
These goals and expectations will direct them and help the entire team to work together in unison.
Overall, if the goals are not clearly defined, it can make the sales team’s efforts not yield beneficial results.
Innovation and Creativity is a Norm
Successful sales teams consist of creative individuals who are willing to suggest new procedures and try out new things to get results and success.
They are not satisfied with the way things have always been, neither are they scared to be innovative and creative in their sales and marketing endeavors.
Wherever you find the best and most successful sales team, you also find this characteristic there.
Now, let’s consider how to build a successful sales team.
How to Build a Successful Sales Team – 10 Strategies that Work
Whether you are just starting a business or you’ve been running one for some time now, you need to learn how to build a successful sales team.
We have already identified why the sales team is essential to every organization, regardless of its industry.
Also, we have considered some characteristics every great sales team should have.
However, it’s not rocket science.
And it is more than simply employing sales representatives, giving them a quota, and expecting results.
Hence, here are ten strategies that, when adhered to closely, can help you build a successful sales team, either from scratch or improving an existing one:
Clearly Define your Sales Structure
Even before you embark on recruiting your sales representatives or even a sales manager, you need first to identify your sales structure.
What does this mean?
It means you need to define what you want your sales process to look like.
You will need to determine what the sales team’s goal is and what expectations you have of them.
While creating a sales structure, you will also need to determine what the sales team’s approach would be.
Would it be necessary to rake in sales immediately?
Or are you adopting a more patient approach to getting in sales?
Additionally, you will need to scan through your business’ products and services and see which ones take precedence over others.
In a similar vein, you will need to determine who your target audience is and where they can be found.
The system or medium of marketing also needs to be decided.
All these are essential steps to take into account even before thinking of building a sales team.
Consider Hiring from Within
Once you’ve clearly defined and identify what your sales structure will be like, it would be time to hire your sales agents.
The first inclination might be to want to rush online and search for sales representatives with experience and all.
While this can be effective, there’s something else you need to try out, and that is hiring from within.
Why does it pay to hire sales representatives from within?
This is beneficial because you get people who already understand your business structure, company culture, products, and services when you do that.
Hence, the process for onboarding is less stressful and takes less time, as you only need to put them through the pace with sales requirements and not the entire business all over.
However, while doing this, ensure you consider individuals who will be a good fit in the sales department.
You can tell this by looking out for the characteristics of a good salesperson.
Some of these are:
- Being resilient
- Passion and enthusiasm
- A strong belief in the products and services
- Being persuasive
- Possessing good communication skills
You can also ask that employees interested in being a part of the sales team should volunteer.
You might be surprised to see how many would be willing to make up that team.
Even if you want to also hire from outside, looking out for the above qualities will help you get the right ones.
You could also ask your employees for recommendations.
Training, Training and More Training
You might be wondering, “Why the repetition for emphasis?”.
Well, it is because the importance of training for the sales team cannot be stressed enough.
Thankfully, the internet is ridden with many informative resources that can help your sales team become better.
From this, they can learn from the experiences of the greatest salespeople in the world.
Additionally, you can provide them tutorials in videos, seminars, and workshops e.t c, that can equip them to be the best sales representatives.
It wouldn’t also be out of place to sign up for courses that teach them the sales principles and help them be successful in this role.
Above all, there can never be “too much” when it comes to training provided for your sales team.
More so, training and continuous learning should be your sales team routine if you want them to be successful.
Recognize the Contributions of Each Team Member
As important as team recognition is, individual recognition is also essential if you want to build a successful sales team.
This is because it is easy for your sales team to question their relevance to the team, especially if it appears that others are doing better.
To achieve success, collaboration and unity are essential, and that is what recognition does for you.
Regardless of their skill set or level of contribution, endeavor to acknowledge and appreciate everyone as individuals.
This will help you build a successful sales team.
Give Some Level of Autonomy
Sales teams are more efficient when they do not have to adhere to stringent rules and regulations.
Instead, when they show themselves deserving of it, give them some level of autonomy.
In this context, autonomy allows them to take some responsibilities and decisions as though the business belongs to them.
If you micromanage them, they are more likely to get frustrated and be demoralized.
Autonomy, to some extent, on the other hand, will get their motivation and creativity at the premium level.
Communicate Key Performance Indicators or Metrics
The worst instruction you can give to a sales team is to increase sales without providing metrics they should work on.
When you do this, you can confuse what you expect and what counts as a top performance or success.
However, when you know the KPIs and inform the sales team of these, it can give them direction and help them understand what to focus on.
This, in turn, will ensure success in their role.
Put Great Emphasis on Collaboration
While healthy competition is fine, and some organizations build that, collaboration is even better.
A cohesive team working together to achieve a common goal would more likely record success than a group of individuals trying hard to be better than others or produce the best results.
You, therefore, have the responsibility to continually imbibe the culture of unity and collaboration in your sales team, showing them how this is essential to their success.
Keep your Team Up-to-Date with Latest Trends and Technology
The world keeps changing, and so will your industry and sales strategies.
Your sales team will have little chance for success if they do not keep pace with these changing trends.
Your role as the business owner is to be aware of these changes and ensure you put them through.
This might involve providing them with coaching sessions and tutorials on how to stay relevant.
Focus on More Than Just Hitting Sales Targets or Quotas
It is very easy to fall into the temptation of making the sales team’s goal all about hitting sales targets and quotas.
In a bid to do this, you might look to hire top sales professionals who have a reputation for completing sales.
While this is important, it should not be your main focus.
Your goal should be to have a sales team where individuals are particular about meeting their quotas and care about the company.
They will show this by sharing reviews about the company, talking to others outside their assigned leads group, and even help their colleagues.
This can help you to get better success with the team.
Offer a Base Salary in Addition to Commissions
Some organizations decide to place their sales team on commission only.
However, it might be more effective to offer them a base salary in addition to commission.
You might think that tying their earnings solely on the commission is a way to push them to meet the set targets, but it might be counterproductive.
This is because they might spend more time worrying about that, and the pressure will affect their productivity.
However, when you give a base salary, you give the sales team peace of mind and not worry about their bills.
Then, they will be able to give their best and focus on increasing their earnings this time.
Final Remarks on How to Build a Successful Sales Team
Without mincing words, we can say with all confidence that your sales team is one of the most important departments in your organization.
This is because this team is responsible for generating the profits that make you stay afloat and prosper in your business line.
Therefore, you need to take extra care when bringing together employees to make up your sales team.
Look out for some of the best salespersons’ outstanding qualities and focus on giving them training on the job.
With the proper commitment, attention, coupled with applying the strategies mentioned above, you can build a successful sales team to be proud of in no time.
Good luck to you building a rock-star sales team😉