Here’s a scary statistic: 20 percent of your salespeople deliver 80 percent of your sales. Those are pretty ugly percentages, especially when you factor in the costs of recruiting and training each and every salesperson. Sales managers have to do everything in their power to improve the odds and make sure every salesperson is successful. Here are five steps for building a better sales team.
- Always be recruiting: A good sales manager is constantly on the lookout for new talent. No matter the time of year or the state of the economy, you should always be prepared to bring the right candidate aboard. But sometimes you can’t do it by yourself. That’s why you should enroll your existing salespeople in the recruiting process and pay them for recommending the right person. Also, encourage your sales team to meet with prospective recruits and provide feedback. If the right candidate is playing hard to get, use the personal touch. Have people on your team reach out to that person directly and explain why he or she would be a valuable addition to the organization.
- Look for the right skill sets: With selling, experience isn’t always the most important thing. But recruits do need to possess the right basic skills. For instance, they need to be good communicators. The majority of what a sales rep does involves communication, both written and verbal. They also need good research skills to find out about their prospects and understand their business needs. Computer and social networking skills are also essential these days for developing contacts and building a sales pipeline. Sales recruits who are proficient in online media and social technologies have a serious advantage over those who are not.
- Know what the ideal candidate looks like: Top sales performers share the same qualities. When interviewing candidates, look first for people who are adaptable and who are able to deal with any type of personality. Of course, also target candidates who are articulate, energetic, and confident. How do you know if potential recruits are all these things? Don’t be afraid to put them under pressure during the interview process. People show their true colors when the heat is on. You want to make sure everyone on your team can perform well, even under stress.
- Don’t skimp on training: Many sales managers simply assume that either you can sell or you can’t. Sure there is more than a grain of truth in this. But training is still a crucial aspect to building an awesome sales team. Just as important as sales education is an education about your products and services. Your team must know your product inside and out and be able to deal with the curve balls they may encounter from potential customers. Make sure that new recruits never hit the street until they are totally sold on your product or service; they must be as excited about what they are selling as you are.
- Lead by example: The example you set is paramount. Your team is watching you like a hawk. If you slack off or underperform, it’s likely they will too. That’s why you should always demand 100 percent from yourself. Try to develop a reputation as a person who is self-disciplined and self-confident. You should also be very respectful and supportive of your people by listening to them and helping them deal with lost sales and failures. This will encourage them to share their challenges with you and ultimately allow them to become better salespeople.