5 Ways to Set Your Sales Team Up for Success
Are you familiar with the old axiom that it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it takes a village to make a sale, too. Sales is a team sport. There’s nothing wrong with some healthy competition amongst team members, but you don’t want sales teams to forget that they are ultimately working toward the same goal.
In our sports metaphor, you’re the coach. You set the tone for your team in terms of overall strategy and mission. You manage personalities, and provide the tools your team needs to succeed. In doing so, you find ways to keep team members working together, without sacrificing individual drive. It’s a tall order, but you’re up to the task. Follow these five tips for sales team success, and you’ll be off to a great start.
Hire the Right People
When you’re hiring, your first concern is likely how well the potential new employee can sell. That’s a natural concern, and of course it’s going to be a big part of hiring. It’s just important that perceived sales talent isn’t the end-all of your evaluation process. You also need to look at how they will function within the established team dynamic.
This is especially important when hiring experienced salespeople, who have their own systems and modes of operation. That’s not to say hiring experienced people is bad, of course. Experienced employees are a huge asset to sales teams as long as they buy into the team concept. Inexperienced hires are more of a blank slate, but you can still use your interviewing skills to weed out those with negative attitudes or unfortunate personalities.
Give Them Real Training
How invested are you in your team’s success? Too often, new salespeople are brought on board, given a few days of basic training, and thrown to the wolves. This sink-or-swim mentality might help you identify some high performers, but at the expense of tossing aside many salespeople who could excel on your team if only they were given proper training.
What do you sell, and what are your principles for selling it? What’s your preferred method for lead generation? How does your sales technology platform work? Where are the bathrooms? Who should a new team member ask when they need help? Where are the resource materials, and which resources have the most up-to-date information on your products or services? These are just a few of the key questions you need to answer for new hires to be successful.
Set Them Up With a Mentor
This is where the team dynamic really shines. The best thing you can do for a new salesperson is set them up with an experienced mentor. The trick, of course, is to choose mentors who are willing and able to handle the task. As the team leader, you are perfectly positioned to identify strong mentor candidates.
Mentors offer many benefits. For the new salesperson, it’s often easier to go to a colleague for advice than it is to approach the boss. The mentor is also able to reinforce your company’s core values or methods. Sometimes hearing the same key information from a different source is all it takes to make things click for a new hire.
Provide Technological Tools
You’re working from a disadvantage if you don’t provide your team with the right sales technology platform. Sales tech provides a centralized place for team members to record and consult important information about customers, allowing for a level of relationship management that’s just not possible otherwise.
It also helps keep your team cohesive. When marketing sends a lead to your sales team, or one team member passes off a customer to another, your sales tech platform keeps the process running smoothly. Whoever is dealing with a prospect at a given time can easily find any information they need.
This doesn’t mean you need to be barking at people all day. Instead, keep an open mind and look for innovative ways to improve your team. Sales teams are always evolving. Look to your most successful team members, identify their best practices, and share them with the rest of the team.
In addition to spreading best practices, coaching is good for the working dynamic of sales teams. It shows experienced team members that they have a voice, and validates their accomplishments. It also reminds all team members that they can all help one another succeed without compromising individual goals.
The most important thing, throughout the process, is to remember that you’re dealing with human beings. You don’t have to become the office psychiatrist, but it’s wise to pay attention to personalities as you shape your team for success. Combine that with solid training, robust resources, and useful tech, and you’ve got the recipe for a great sales team.