You may be starting out as a sales manager or have gotten to the limit of wearing those multiple hats for your ever expanding business. Now’s the time to begin hiring and growing your sales team, if that’s the case then take some of these notes below and start building the foundations of a truly successful sales team.
The importance of a sales team will always vary as it’s all dependent on what the company sells and how they sell it. Take an ecommerce business, the need for a sale person is pretty minimal, unless the sales size is of a considerable amount so realistically most of the work can be handed over to the customer service department.
Some businesses however have sales people as the direct representation of the brand, they are the face of it and they are the one’s who meet with all the customers – this sales person is obviously of high importance to the company.
Let’s begin building that truly successful sales team.
Evaluating the Force
Firstly you have to decide what it is that you want your sales team to do for you, like I mentioned in the paragraph above are they going to be on the front line or will they be mostly in the background working within the Sales 2.0 style.
It won’t take long to come up with an idea as to what you want the sales team to be doing, just make sure that when you do decide that it’s not based on the decisions and styles of other companies and their sales teams.
The last thing you want to be doing is creating a sales team, giving them an idea of what they should be doing but expecting them to either be doing something else or working it out – everything should be transparent, if working smarter and harder results in a possible promotion then let everyone know, it shouldn’t ever be a guessing game.
The total order amount per sales person is one of the easiest measures of sales productivity, if you take the whole team’s numbers and average it out it then gives you a really good spectrum to work with to compare your sales people to the average.
Whilst the productivity metric shouldn’t determine the hiring or firing of a sales person it can play a big part in the motivation of the individual – like a leaderboard would encourage an athlete a sales person generally has the same mentality.
Some key factors to consider when it comes to measuring the productivity of your sales team are:
- Are the team maintaining relations with current and previous customers?
- How effective are the team at converting prospects into leads and leads into customers?
- How much time is being spent on prospecting and how effective is it?
- Are the sales team keeping to strict procedures, for example they should never make too big of a promise and then not deliver.
- Are the sales team emphasising focus on the profitable items or are they selling lots of the wrong product?
- Are there a lot of returns due to financial reasons such as credit checks?
Hiring Sales People
Now that you’ve got an understanding of what it is that you expect of the sales team and what is driving the team as well as the success, or at least metrics that determine the level of success, you can start to think about either hiring a new sales team or growing the current one.
You’ll have to consider a couple of things that determine how and who you hire to really get the benefit that you’re looking for.
Outsource or In-house
Whilst we initially think that hiring someone full time is always going to be the best option you may find that outsourcing the work to an outside sales company, for the same value as a monthly salary, can be far more beneficial. There’s a lack of employment contract that makes everything a bit more difficult, if the company doesn’t deliver then you can just cut ties and ultimately the job of that whole company is to simply bring in leads or sales.
A lot of companies these days hire people for a job which then evolves into 4 different jobs that still carry high expectations but without the pay rise or the time allowance. This isn’t desirable for many people even if the promotion prospects are their the idea of burning out due to work commitments is something that is likely to put people off.
So take the steps to decide right now – will you be outsourcing or keeping the sale team in-house?
One thing that a lot of sales managers and company owners fail to put into thought is where the sales people are going to be coming from and where they will be placed to do the selling. One key aspect of this is to see if anyone in the sales team or a new hire happens to already have a rolodex of contacts in a specific area.
If someone does then it would be perfect for their placement to be in that location which they carry a lot of knowledge and contacts in.
Successful placement of sales teams or people in territories can play a huge part in the success of the team and how well they can hit targets. There is no point in sending someone that has to learn the area and build contacts from a fresh start when there is someone that has already done the heavy lifting.
You shouldn’t place too much value on someones rolodex but it should certainly play a part in deciding where they would be stationed and what the benefits would be too. Company benefits result in sales team benefits so for everyone it’ll be a positive situation.