May 31, 2016

Building a strong sales team is not solely about making wise hiring decisions – it is also about learning how to coach your current salespeople in a way that helps them achieve better results.

As the sales manager, it is your job to do both. Otherwise, you could end up with a team of salespeople who are unmotivated and, therefore, incapable of selling to your standards.
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Ready to learn how to build a strong sales team?

Keep reading to discover the steps you can take to build a team of salespeople who consistently achieve impressive sales results.

 

How to Build a Strong Sales Team

Evaluate your current team.

If you are not satisfied with your sales team’s results, you should evaluate them to determine how you can help them sell more. Here are a few reasons your current team could be failing:

  • Their leads have not been qualified properly. Even the best salesperson will find it difficult to sell to someone who is unlikely to be interested in her product/service.
  • They lack basic sales knowledge, like how to close and how to overcome objections. Fortunately, you can resolve this issue with a bit of training and role playing.
  • They are slowed down by administrative tasks. If this is the case, consider hiring administrative support employees to free up more time for your salespeople to talk to customers and work on other revenue-generating tasks.

If you are unsure of why your team is producing poor sales results, consider asking them about which challenges at work hold them back from selling more. You can use the insight from their answers to determine the best ways to help them improve.

 

Improve your hiring process.

Too many sales hiring managers rush into the interview process without a plan of action. As a result, they often end up hiring low-performing salespeople.

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Does that situation sound familiar?

If so, it is time to improve your hiring process. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get a second opinion on every candidate. That way, you can make sure your judgment is not being clouded due to the fact that you like the candidate’s personality.
  • Start using a sales personality test. Doing so will allow you to take the guesswork out of hiring and learn more about what kind of salesperson the candidate will be.
  • Ask the best sales interview questions. Instead of working off of a list of ineffective interview questions, dig deeper and ask candidates questions that will uncover their true sales potential.

 

When making hiring decisions, consider attributes over experience.

You may find it tempting to hire a candidate who has many years of experience over one who is Driven and motivated to succeed. After all, an impressive resume says a lot about a candidate’s ability to succeed at work.

However, sales managers should always hire for attributes over experience. That is because sales skills and product knowledge can be taught, while attributes cannot. Here are the top 3 non-teachable attributes you should look for in each candidate:

  • Need for Achievement
  • Competitiveness
  • Optimism

Make sure your sales interview questions help you uncover whether or not candidates possess these attributes. However, you should not directly ask a candidate whether she possesses these traits – instead, ask questions that indirectly help you find out the truth. For example, to uncover a candidate’s Need for Achievement, you could ask her:

What do you want to accomplish in your first 30 days here?”

If the candidate has a high need for achievement, she will likely talk about the impressive sales results she plans to produce. On the other hand, she may seem indifferent about producing impressive results if she has a low need for achievement.

 

Provide coaching and training.

You cannot expect your salespeople to grow their skills and improve their results if you do not provide them with coaching and training that helps them do so.

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Here are a few ways you can coach/train your team effectively:

  • Provide tailored, one-on-one coaching. “One-size-fits-all” coaching is often ineffective because each salesperson struggles with a unique set of challenges based on her skill set and personality traits. That is why you must tailor each coaching session based on a salesperson’s specific challenges and traits.
  • Have a set training system in place for each new salesperson. Successful onboarding involves making sure each new salesperson understands the product/service being sold and has enough industry knowledge to sell it. Keep that in mind when creating your onboarding process and consider using e-learnings or group training sessions to make sure everyone is up to speed.
  • Provide your salespeople with detailed feedback. It is not enough to tell a salesperson that she is not selling effectively. You must tell her why she is not selling effectively and work to help her improve her sales process.

While training and coaching may take up a significant amount of your time, you should still strive to do it consistently. Your efforts will pay off when you see that your team is more motivated and well equipped to sell than ever.

 

Give your team the resources they need.

The last thing you want is for your salespeople to produce poor sales results because they do not have access to the resources they need to sell effectively.

Make sure they can easily and quickly access any product information sheets, sales scripts or other relevant documents that could help them when they talk to customers.

 

Cultivate a good company culture.

A good company culture will attract high-performing salespeople, while a poor company culture will repel them. That is why you must focus on creating a company culture that attracts the Driven salespeople you want on your team. Here are a few tips to help you make it happen:

  • Provide salespeople with a fun, enjoyable atmosphere to work in. You can do this by creating fun sales competitions, providing free food on occasion and making the office look inviting.
  • Always hire salespeople who are a good culture fit. This is important because just one salesperson with a bad attitude could negatively affect the morale of your entire team.
  • Be the kind of boss you would want to have. When your salespeople feel like you genuinely care about helping them improve, they will be more receptive to your feedback and more likely to work hard every day.

Remember, company culture is not just about fun perks. Even sales departments with attractive amenities like game rooms can repel top performers if the work environment is toxic. That is why your job as a sales manager is so critical – you must cultivate a good company culture if you want to attract and retain a team of sales superstars.