Your sales team is key to your company’s success – there is no doubt about it. That is why it is incredibly important for you to prioritize attracting and retaining top sales talent.
However, that is easier said than done.
Hiring the right salespeople can be tough, and keeping them around can be even tougher.
And you can rest assured that you are not the only person having trouble with this. In fact, one University of Southern California study showed that 71% of sales leaders cited the ability to hire and retain sales talent as one of their top concerns.
Fortunately, you can take control of the situation and make better hiring decisions, retain your talent and build and maintain a sales dream team. Here are the 6 things you need to do to make it happen:
How to Build a Successful Sales Team
1. Analyze your current team.
Before you start planning for new hires, analyze the top performers on your team and figure out what they all have in common.
These are the qualities you should start looking for when you interview potential new hires if you want to ensure that they will be successful at selling and will fit in with the culture of your team.
You will also need to ask yourself what problems you have with your current team. Then, try to figure out why those problems exist.
For example, if your problem is that your team is unmotivated, they might be feeling that way because:
- You are not offering sales competitions and/or incentives for top performers.
- They are underpaid.
- No opportunities for career growth are available.
Once you have pinpointed the main problems and their causes, you can work to fix them. After doing so, you may find that you have had a sales dream team right under your nose all along – all they needed was for you to make a minor adjustment based on their needs!
2. Know what you are looking for in new salespeople.
If you begin the interviewing process without a clear idea of the kind of person you want on your team, you will likely make a bad hiring decision.
But which traits should you be looking for when hiring a new salesperson?
Our research shows that Drive is the #1 trait necessary for sales success, and Drive is made up of three characteristics that cannot be taught. Those characteristics are:
- Need for Achievement
Prior to an in-person interview, it is important to know if the candidate possesses these traits. If he does not, it is highly likely that he will not produce the sales results you are looking for.
To take the guesswork out of determining whether or not a candidate is Driven, use The DriveTest™ before moving forward with the interview process.
3. Revisit your job ad.
If you find that the candidates you interview are regularly underqualified or a poor culture fit, the problem likely lies in your job ad. For example, if you work in a laid-back environment but your job ad makes the company appear very formal or “stuffy,” you might end up attracting that type of candidate, who would not be a good fit for your team. That is why it is so important to truly tailor the job ad to the position and provide a detailed, honest description of the job and your company.
Tip: Check out our Ultimate Guide to Creating a Sales Job Ad that Attracts Top Candidates for information on how to improve your job ad.
4. Be more strategic when you hire.
Did you make a hiring decision based solely on the candidate’s likability? Did you fail to use a sales aptitude test? Did you forget to check the candidate’s references?
If you have hired a salesperson in the past and it did not work out, ask yourself these kinds of questions to determine what went wrong and learn from your mistakes.
Also, if you do not currently use a sales aptitude test to weed out weak candidates during the hiring process, consider doing so.
When you use a sales aptitude test, you can feel confident knowing that you are making a hiring decision based on hard data rather than opinion or personal bias. That means no more wasted money on employee turnover and no more disappointing sales results.
Once you get the test results back telling you a candidate has high-potential for sales success, you can make your hiring decision based on whether or not the candidate is a good culture fit.
5. Foster competition among your salespeople.
Now that we have discussed strategies for finding and hiring the right salespeople, let us think about some ways you can improve sales team performance and manage your salespeople in a way that sets them up for success. After all, even great salespeople may become unmotivated if they are not being managed properly.
Since top salespeople are competitive by nature, you should keep them engaged in their work by creating exciting competitions within the sales department. Here are a few creative ideas for competitions you can try out:
- Movie-themed sales contest – Give out prizes that all have something to do with a popular movie that is being released in the near future. For example, you can reward your team for their sales results with popcorn, figurines that depict characters from the movie and tickets to see the movie itself. Consider buying tickets to the nicest theater in your area and making the movie tickets the grand prize.
- Poker-themed sales contest – Reward your salespeople each time they reach a goal by telling them to draw a card from your hands. Let them know that whoever has the best hand by the point in time you specify will receive a prize.
- Surprise prize contest – Plan a wide range of prizes to wrap in boxes or place in envelopes, and have the top performer pick a prize at random at the end of each week. That way, your salespeople are constantly intrigued by the possibilities of the prizes they could win from selling.
Do not be afraid to get creative and design your own sales contest based on the interests and needs of your sales team. The more you tailor the competition to them, the more likely it is to be effective.
6. Offer training and coaching.
Another thing you can do to improve sales team performance is provide your salespeople with opportunities for continued learning. By knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses and tailoring training sessions to their specific needs, it will allow your salespeople to continue to develop their skills.
Invest in your current team, and they might just surprise you.
At the end of the day, building a sales dream team is about hiring the right people and then cultivating their skills. If you can keep your team motivated by being a good leader and creating a culture that promotes sales success, you are likely to see positive changes unfold in your sales department.