As a sales manager, you want to build a strong sales team to ensure your organization continues to grow and succeed.
Unfortunately, many managers continue to make the same hiring and team building mistakes—mistakes that could be easily avoided.
With that in mind, let us start by going over a few common mistakes managers make when building a sales team.
Then, we will look at how you can avoid making those costly mistakes.
4 Mistakes Managers Make When Building a Sales Team
1. Hiring With Your Intuition
Interviewing several different sales candidates can be a tedious and time-consuming process. One of the challenges faced by sales managers is knowing when to “trust their gut” because when you simply follow your intuition, there is a certain level of risk involved. In some instances, trusting your intuition could even negatively impact your decision making.
How is that?
According to research, intuition is often the mind’s way of recognizing (or trying to recognize) a familiar pattern, even when the pattern does not fit or exist.
That is to say, a familiar face or quality in a sales candidate could trigger an unconscious sense of familiarity that manifests as your “gut instinct.”
Knowing that, you might think twice about relying on just your intuition when making such an important decision.
But should you avoid relying on your gut instinct entirely?
The short answer: no.
In fact, having a healthy recognition of patterns can help keep out the wrong sales candidates, especially if you sense that they may be a poor fit based on previous experience.
To avoid completely relying on your gut instinct, consider creating a hiring profile and score your candidates based on that. Additionally, incorporating a sales assessment into the hiring process will give you an unbiased picture of your candidates’ core sales skills.
That way you can continue to hone your hiring process as you interview and hire new salespeople who meet your company’s criteria.
2. Not Engaging Your Team Enough
With companies losing billions of dollars every year due to employee turnover, it is important to keep your employees feeling engaged.
Why do employees start to feel disengaged at work in the first place?
It happens for a few reasons, including:
They do not feel valued. When an employer takes credit for an employee’s success, it lowers the incentive for that employee to continue working as hard.
Giving your employees credit where credit is due increases their:
- Motivation to work harder
- Level of engagement
- Overall job satisfaction
What should you do to help your team feel valued?
Make sure to keep track of what each member of your sales team is accomplishing and give them positive recognition for their contributions.
Also, be specific when you recognize someone for their accomplishments so they know that you are paying attention.
But try not to overdo it. That recognition may lose its value if it is simply given out at every opportunity.
They are a poor fit with the company culture. For many employees, a job is not simply a job. It is a place they spend most of their day while interacting with managers and co-workers, as well as dealing with customers.
A lot goes on at work, so it is important that your salespeople fit with the culture you have created at your company.
Why is company culture fit so significant?
Because with how much time is spent at an office, a salesperson must feel comfortable in order to truly thrive and do their best work.
Not only that, but a great culture fit can keep your sales team happy, preventing key sales members from leaving without warning.
What should you do to help?
Sustaining a positive company culture has a lot to do with hiring the right people and setting proper expectations during the sales interview.
One bad apple can ruin the bunch as they say, so it is vital that you hire sales reps that could mix well with your current team.
When you interview sales candidates, share your company’s values and mission and ask if they align with their own.
If not, it may be a bad fit for both of you.
3. Inconsistent Training Methods
Not only should you have a set criteria for who you hire, but you should also have a consistent method for training new hires.
Why is this so significant?
Often, a new salesperson is simply asked to shadow another more experienced salesperson.
While this should be included in the training process, you cannot simply rely on this training method alone.
A rep who just shadows another sales team member may pick up different (or bad) habits that hinder their personal sales process.
In addition, when your training is consistent, each new hire begins with the same information and goals.
Not only does that make it easier for new salespeople to adapt to your company and expectations—it is a simpler process for you and training managers as you onboard new candidates.
4. Not Providing the Right (or Enough) Training
Every great salesperson knows that learning never stops.
They continue to find new techniques and ideas, and incorporate them into their sales process to help them close sales more effectively.
As a sales manager, you should give your sales team every advantage possible that will allow them to crush their sales goals and help your company grow.
Here are a few training methods to help your reps:
Roleplaying. Roleplaying allows you to simulate a real sales call or meeting with a trainee. During and after the simulation, you can give your rep constructive feedback to help them improve their sales techniques and build their confidence.
Shadowing calls. Have team members listen in on real sales calls. Once again, provide constructive feedback that will help them improve as a sales rep.
Training books. Read and suggest books that may help your sales team perform their job better. It does not even have to be sales-related—it could be something inspirational or philosophical to help broaden their horizons.
There are many common mistakes that managers make when trying to build the ideal sales team. Luckily, those mistakes can be avoided with careful planning and forethought.
Can you think of any other common mistakes that managers make when trying to build a sales team? Feel free to share in the comments section below.