How to Build a High-Performing Sales Team?

Pete Ford
Feb 9, 2024
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How to Build a High-Performing Sales Team?

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A sales force is essential because it is the conduit between a company's offerings and the market. They are skilled at persuading potential clients to become devoted patrons by effectively communicating the advantages of their products. In addition to making money, their responsibilities include cultivating enduring client connections, acting as a vital resource for market research and feedback on new products, and keeping an eye out for industry trends and rival activity. This diverse job emphasizes how crucial it is to assemble a sales force that wins deals, creates long-lasting relationships, and adjusts to shifting customer preferences to keep the business competitive.

But a great sales team consists of more than just its members. They collaborate with different departments, support one another, and exchange best practices. Hence, they must build a culture of trust, devotion, and steadfast faith in the organization’s objectives, not just from individual talent.

Let’s understand how sales teams help the organization with their role and how to build sales team that contributes to the overall growth of the organization. 

Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of a Sales Team

Here are some roles of the sales team and their responsibilities:

1. Sales Manager 

The sales manager leads the entire sales team and ensures that every sales representative completes their tasks on time. Training team members, setting targets, generating sales, setting priorities for sales activities, and assessing the effectiveness of the sales team are all the exclusive purview of sales managers. 

2. Assistant Sales Managers

A sales assistant manager helps and supports the team throughout the sales process. Also, an assistant sales manager acts as a mediator between the sales manager and the sales team.

3. Sales Development Representative 

Earlier, sales development representatives (SDRs) were referred to as cold callers. They are mostly the first point of contact a new potential customer has with your company, and they also find fresh leads for account executives. SDRs gather leads from several sources, compile contact lists, and then initiate connections with contacts to determine their level of interest.

Sales development representatives are not as directly involved in closing a contract because their main duty is to generate new business. But, they do assist AEs in qualifying the best leads. 

4. Sales Consultant/Specialist

Sales consultants, sometimes referred to as sales professionals, assist with sales by creating proposals and giving potential clients demos. The importance of having a sales specialist on hand is to assist with any industry-specific queries, and difficulties increase with the complexity of the sale. 

5. Customer Success Representative

Following a transaction, the Customer Success Representatives concentrate on closing the deal and recommending more products and add-ons to existing clients in order to upsell and cross-sell. By providing for the needs of your present clients and lowering attrition, your customer excellence team helps ensure that you aren’t losing continuous revenue.

A thoughtfully designed reward program for customer success representatives will acknowledge the regular outreach and upselling that keeps the representative harvesting.

5 Characteristics of a High-Performing Sales Team

Here are 5 characteristics of a high-performing sales team:

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1. Establishing Goals

Together with desire and adaptability, effective goal setting is one of the three most important components in becoming a high-performing salesperson. High performers flourish when they pursue and accomplish particular objectives. If a sales representative starts to lag on a goal, pay close attention and provide more coaching. 

2. Self Motivated

Self-motivation, the inner drive that motivates team members toward exceeding goals, is essential for high-performing sales teams. This essential quality enables people to flourish in competitive settings by encouraging resiliency, initiative, and a never-ending pursuit of perfection. Self-motivated sales professionals contribute substantially to their team's productivity, flexibility, and overall achievements by establishing ambitious targets, accepting setbacks as chances for growth, and maintaining an unwavering dedication to success.

3. Sales Agility

High-performing sales teams must possess sales agility to quickly adjust to shifting market conditions, client demands, and competition dynamics. This agility enables rapid decision-making, the adaptability to change course, and the capacity to develop novel solutions when needed. These teams constantly keep ahead of trends, anticipate customer needs, and produce better outcomes by embracing sales agility, which helps them stay competitive and responsive in a fast-paced sales environment.

4. Time Management

The most effective salespeople are able to recognize potential customers. They know that higher-value leads provide a better return on their time. Therefore, they don’t spend much time with such individuals. Developing rapid lead identification skills is essential to creating high-achieving sales representatives with superior time management abilities.

When you do your next round of high-performance sales training, think about incorporating time management. Instruct your sales representatives to identify and give priority to high-value clients and emphasize the significance of investing more time and effort in generating leads.

5. Asking the Right Questions

Proficient sales reps possess the ability to deliberately craft inquiries that cater to the demands of potential clients. The most effective queries to convert leads frequently arouse feelings. Common examples include:

  • What can I do to support you as you make your decision?
  • What have you attempted in the past, and how did it turn out?
  • What would happen if you did nothing and everything remained as it is?

Guidelines on How to Structure a Sales Team

Before we move on to how to build a sales team, let’s discuss a brief guideline for you on how to structure a sales team.

1. Remain Future-Focused.

Having a long-term perspective on your sales team structure can be challenging in a business like sales that is results-oriented and short-term focused. But while structuring your sales department, you must keep the future in mind if you want to succeed. The initiatives you take today will influence the sales team’s path tomorrow.

2. Implement Organized Sales Procedures

The Sales Management Association found that 90% of businesses that employ formal, structured, and supervised sales processes are considered strong performers. A sales process normally has five to seven steps: Prospecting, generating leads, qualifying leads, identifying needs, offering solutions, handling objections, closing, and supporting. 

3. Provide Your Team with Proper Tools

After you have hired and built a team for your sales group, provide the team with smart tools to ensure they can meet deadlines and produce high-quality work. There’s no shortage of smart and technologically advanced tools and productivity softwares you could give your sales force:

  • CRM: CRM (customer-relationship-management) software is a lifesaver for any sales force. It offers features like email tracking and management, SMS capabilities, and phone calling.
  • Smart Contact Management: Sales representatives can devote more time to their work by eliminating the laborious chore of manual entry using Smart Contact Management.
  • Productivity Suite: Your sales team has to have these tools since they can improve sales performance. 

You can consider taking corporate productivity software training courses which can help you get more familiar with how these advanced tools work and how it can help you achieve success. 

4. Stay Cognizant 

It’s simpler to hire people than to retain them. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of employee stagnation and turnover. This is because your company should retain current employees rather than hire new ones constantly. Make sure that each member of your team is making progress towards their professional objectives by scheduling regular check-ins with them. Thus, before moving on to how to build a sales team, it is important to understand how to structure a team by staying cognizant. 

5. Provide Training

The majority of top businesses have stated that consistent mentoring and oversight are essential to the success of the sales team. Here are some examples to help you better understand what powerful sales coaching looks like:

  • Reps’ field support in order to provide guidance and inspiration
  • Discussing what went wrong during a call session with the salesman and identifying areas that could have improvement
  • Holding weekly in-meeting discussions regarding the sales areas in which representatives lack confidence and then talking about confidence-boosting techniques
  • Find out if the sales crew is receiving adequate coaching and training and whether they can use it to boost output.

6. Give Proper Feedback

Sales managers frequently neglect to provide feedback despite the fact that it can have a significant impact on each representative individually as well as the team as a whole. Feedback is typically thought of as either positive or negative, but there is another option to think about when providing employee feedback: redirecting or reinforcing.

  • We give reinforcement to someone when we want them to continue exhibiting a certain positive behavior. Put differently, offering it entails orally reiterating the advantages of an employee’s conduct.
  • However, if we exclusively provide negative feedback, we are essentially asking them to cease engaging in that specific behavior. Redirecting feedback means instructing a representative to stop doing X and start practicing Y.

6 Key Steps to Building a Successful Sales Team

Here, we have mentioned 6 essential steps on how to build sales team: 

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1. Speak with Other Experts

Consult with other sales experts for guidance prior to forming your sales team. This can help you find the right size for your sales staff, jobs to fill, and other planning concerns. It can also teach you about new sales practices and management strategies. You can get advice from other sales professionals by contacting them via social media or email, making connections at networking gatherings, or requesting recommendations from people you both know.

2. Do Market Research

Do your independent market study. Determining the abilities and responsibilities your team will require to penetrate your market successfully can assist you in getting ready to assemble your sales force. Additionally, market research can teach you about your rivals’ approaches to sales, including how they set up and oversee their teams of salespeople.

Examine which items often sell the best, the size of sales teams at comparable businesses, and the most successful sales tactics when conducting market research. Numerous businesses analyze databases and websites, speak with customers and rivals directly to get their opinions, and watch how sales tactics are used in the industry in order to perform market research. Hence, market research is an important factor and step you must consider before moving on to how to build sales team.

3. Employ Experts for Every Position

A sales team needs a variety of specialists with different specialities. Therefore, it’s critical to choose candidates that complement your working style. This can guarantee that your team members can collaborate well and build a great sales team from the start.

4. Pay Attention to Skills

Every member of a high-performing sales team must possess the abilities needed to carry out their responsibilities. When hiring, think about compiling a list of critical competencies for every position and emphasizing them in the interview. For instance, you may see the following abilities and characteristics in the best sales candidates:

  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Aspiration Cooperation

5. Establish Clear Objectives

Establishing objectives can help a sales team become stronger because they provide everyone in the team with something to strive for and an occasion to rejoice when a goal is reached. Many sales teams create targets for their sales progress and performance that they track on a daily, weekly, quarterly, or even annual basis. Making sure that objectives are clear and precise will also help in conveying the same information and improving comprehension of team requirements.

6. Put Engagement First

Building a solid team culture is essential to having a sales team that works well together and communicates. One way to achieve this is by emphasizing member engagement inside the sales team. Encourage the team to grow, be empathetic, persistent, and curious, and get input on their level of participation. To find out how involved the team is, you might ask the following questions:

  • When working, do you find motivation?
  • Do you think the work you do has any purpose?
  • Does our team’s culture foster a sense of security?
  • Do you think you can finish what you’ve been given?

4 Sales Team Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Here are 4 major challenges faced by the sales team and how to overcome them: 

1. Delivering Poor User Experience

The sales team needs to provide an exceptional user experience to the customers and the clients, sometimes not delivered due to disjointed processes. When the team uses too much verbiage, it makes the conversation redundant. So, apart from just using the scripts, a sales executive must use their interpersonal skills.  

2. Lack of Collaboration

Managers may foster cooperation among salespeople, depending on the workplace. Salespeople may have personal objectives that complement the team’s overall objectives. Sales teams can collaborate to accomplish more ambitious departmental goals by cooperating, exchanging tactics for successful selling techniques, and helping one another meet their objectives.

3. Lack of Training

The majority of businesses have high standards but neglect to give their sales representatives the necessary training to deal with today’s consumers. This usually causes low sales productivity primarily. Hence, most of the representatives struggle to reach their quotas. 

The best way to resolve this is to determine which areas call for training and then ask management to fund it. You can also join and even ask your team to join live webinars to hear from professionals in the field.

4. Inability to Track Deals

There may be numerous deals in the sales pipeline. Sadly, the majority of them eventually fall through the cracks after becoming stuck for an extended period at some point in the sales funnel. Many sales representatives miss out on chances because they are unable to see what is going on in their sales funnel. 

To deal with the problem, you can use CRMs, which give you unobstructed access to every phase of the sales funnel. It also permits you to monitor the development of high-value deals by classifying and ranking them, in addition to keeping you informed of every development in the transaction.

Case Study: Building a Successful Sales Team

The sales force at HubSpot is among the greatest in the world; they routinely surpass revenue targets and propel the business forward. HubSpot’s sales force brought well over $1 billion in revenue in 2022—a 41% increase over 2021. 

Many things contribute to HubSpot’s success, such as: 

  • Emphasis on inbound marketing and sales: The sales staff at HubSpot works to generate and convert leads using social media, SEO, and content production, among other inbound marketing channels. They are able to produce a large number of qualified leads as a result, which they may turn into clients. 
  • A data-driven strategy: The sales team at HubSpot tracks their progress and pinpoints areas for improvement using data analytics. Additionally, they use data to tailor their messaging and sales approach.
  • A Strong Sales Culture: A strong culture of cooperation and support exists among HubSpot’s sales staff. They are able to keep ahead of the curve because they are also continuously learning and developing. 

How Training and Development for Your Sales Team Drives Business Growth?

Now that you know how to build sales team for your organization, it is important to provide them with proper training and development programs. Here’s how it can help your team: 

1. Increases Self-confidence

Giving your salespeople a safe environment to practice in can be a big confidence booster when trying to drive more activity. More confident salespeople will engage in more discussions.

Give your sellers a low-stakes practice chance whenever you train them on a new skill so that any mistakes they make will have little to no repercussions. In addition to assisting salespeople in overcoming their anxieties and insecurities, training can also increase performance and foster a more favorable work environment.

2. Strengthens Ideal Approaches

Your team will find it easier to recognize the actions they need to take to succeed if you educate and practice a consistent sales process. Concentrate your training on your sales approach and procedure that consistently produces results.

In addition to providing instruction in a classroom or one-on-one environment, effective organizations also go out into the field and watch those behaviors in action. They require proof that their salespeople have understood the material and are using it to increase sales in practical situations.

3. Increase Average Sales Rate

Salespeople that receive sales training are better able to identify gaps in the market that your product or service may fill, pursue the proper prospects, and make compelling sales calls. By developing your team's confidence in front of prospects and in communicating the value of your company, you can do this.  

Your sales staff will be more successful in pursuing target clients and closing larger deals if they are equipped to handle and build a variety of buyer interactions and use cases. For instance, you can offer individualized sales coaching programs to salespeople who are driven to oversee more important accounts and high-value sectors.

4. Increase Customer Acquisition

Getting new clients who recognize the actual value in your product or service makes a sales cycle effective for your team. As soon as your sales campaign launches, you should align your acquisition expectations to increase customer acquisition. Companies may improve campaign strategy, execution, and optimization by using training programs.

FAQs

What is the best way to train your sales team?

The best way to train your sales team is taking mock calls and taking them out in the field. In addition, review their performance and guide them accordingly.

What are the four methods of sales training?

The four methods of sales training are:

  • On-the-job training
  • Case discussion
  • Visual sales training 
  • Apprenticeships

How do you motivate sales staff?

Here’s how to motivate sales staff:

  • Build trust
  • Appreciate them
  • Set realistic goals
  • Evaluate their performance
  • Reward their achievements
  • Offer opportunities for growth and development 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to build sales team, you must also know a number of elements must come together to create a high-performing sales team: hiring and onboarding, goal-setting, collaboration and communication skills, continuous training and development, incentives and motivation, data-driven tactics and KPIs, and analysis of successful case studies. 

Organizations may maximize the potential of their sales teams and attain sales success by making investments in five crucial areas and consistently modifying their methods. Recall that building a high-performing sales team takes time, effort, and dedication to excellence. 

If you are looking to enhance your sales skills, look no further, as Edstellar offers you several training programs for the skills you need if you are a sales representative.

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Pete Ford

Pete Ford is a corporate training specialist with over 15 years of experience. His expertise lies in training methodologies, employee engagement, and performance improvement. Pete has a proven track record of developing and implementing effective training programs that enhance employee skills and productivity. His writings provide valuable insights into the world of corporate training, offering readers practical advice on how to design and deliver impactful training programs. His deep understanding of training dynamics makes him a trusted voice in the field.

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