For the most part sales is a solo occupation, which is why many people go into the field in the first place. They don’t have to rely on company “teamwork” to control their destiny. A salesperson, you could say, like time itself, waits for no one.
So, how do you go about putting together a top-notch sales team? Simple. You hire the best salespeople. Whoa, hold on a minute. Putting together the “best” people doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll produce the best results. (Just ask the New York Yankees of late.)
There are many facets to take into account before you can put a winning team together.
For openers, what is the physical look of your sales floor? If it’s an open area try to offset the personalities of your team. Don’t put the most garrulous, out-going people next to each other. Mix it up so you balance out the floor. This helps in a variety of ways. The “quieter” employees will learn from watching and listening to those individuals who are more seasoned. If your floor is made up of cubicles, do the same thing. Balance the floor and then observe the interaction among the players. Who works well with whom? Who doesn’t? Take note because good chemistry is not as simple as it looks. You want a natural, upbeat buzz coming from your sales floor—not too loud, and not too quite, certainly not dead, but not a party either.
I don’t believe that seniority should be a prerequisite for becoming a manager. It helps, but it’s not a necessity in choosing a leader. What does that mean? Don’t you need a senior person to help run the show? No, not if that person shows no leadership qualities. Watch and listen to your floor and you’ll see natural leaders emerge. Give them the opportunity to develop and find their voice and then appoint them to a leadership position. But if they’re not interested in becoming a manager, fine, let it go quickly. There’s nothing worse than bottlenecking a highly productive salesperson with the burden and responsibilities of training others.
Remember, like sports, the best players don’t necessarily make the best coaches.
Just look at Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson. Average player. Outstanding coach.