How To Build a High-Performing Sales Team
Table of contents
- What are the different types of sales teams?
- What are the benefits of building a structured sales team
- How to build a sales team in 6 easy steps?
- Step 1: Start with the basics
- Step 1.5: Have all the necessary tools and resources ready
- Step 2: Choose your team carefully
- Step 3: Lay down what you count as a win
- Step 4: Train, train, and train some more
- Step 5: Encourage giving/receiving feedback
- Step 6: Keep the customer in mind
- LaGrowthMachine: The automation tool to take your sales team to the next level
Sales teams are like snowflakes – each one is unique, and they all have the potential to melt under pressure.
But fear not, sales manager! Building a sales team that’s high-performing is not a pipe dream. It just takes a bit of finesse, a lot of hard work, and some well-defined processes.
But, before you can start building your team, it’s important to understand what makes a sales team successful.
What are the different types of sales teams? What do you need to focus on when building one? And how to build a high-performing sales team?
From laying the foundations to keeping your team motivated and focused, you’ll find all the answers in this guide. We’ll be focusing on B2B more, but most of the tips will still apply to most sales teams.
Whether you’re a seasoned sales manager or a newbie to the game, our guide will provide you with the insights and tools you need to create a sales team that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.
So, get ready to take your sales game to the next level!
What are the different types of sales teams?
This is something not a lot of people think about, but “sales” is a huge umbrella term that covers a lot of different aspects. Depending on your specific business needs and goals, there are a few different types of sales teams you can create:
- Inside Sales Team: These sales pros are masters of the phone and digital channels, able to sell products or services from anywhere in the world.
- Outside Sales Team: These road warriors thrive on face-to-face interactions, building relationships with clients, and closing deals in person.
- Account Management Team: This team focuses on building and maintaining relationships with existing customers, ensuring their ongoing satisfaction, and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
- Sales Development Team: This team is responsible for finding and qualifying new leads through targeted prospecting efforts, including outbound outreach and research.
- Channel Sales Team: This team works with third-party partners, such as resellers or distributors, to sell products or services and expand the reach of your brand.
- Customer Success Team: This team is dedicated to ensuring customer satisfaction and retention by providing ongoing support and addressing any issues or concerns that arise.
Once you’ve identified which type of sales team is right for your business, it’s time to start building. But what exactly do you need to have a good sales team?
What makes a good sales team?
The first and almost only important thing to consider is the people. You need a team of individuals who not only have the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to succeed but who also have the right attitude.
Great salespeople are passionate, motivated, and driven by success. They’re persuasive in their communication and know how to identify different customer needs – all while keeping a positive attitude.
Additionally, having structured processes in place is absolutely essential! This means having a process for onboarding, training, and managing your sales team.
Take the example of a growing outbound sales team. They not only need to recruit the right people but also ensure that every single new salesperson is properly onboarded and trained. This includes explaining the company’s products and services, outlining any expectations, and providing the right sales tools to ensure success.
We at LaGrowthMachine recommend that in addition to having the right people on board, there are some other elements that go into creating a successful sales team, including the use of our sales automation tool. I’ll show you in later parts of this guide. 😉
What are the benefits of building a structured sales team
If you want to achieve long-term sales success, having a structured sales team is a must. It’s like having a game plan, for your sales efforts, that helps boost efficiency, productivity, and accountability. Here are some of the key benefits of having a structured sales team:
Improved organization and accountability
This is, by far, the most important benefit, because it affects everything else that involves the team.
When you have a structured sales team, everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it, which leads to improved productivity across the board.
It also ensures that everyone is held accountable for their own performance, and there’s less confusion and overlap in the sales process.
We’ve all been a part of or witnessed a team that was disorganized and lacked accountability, and it’s not a great sight.
Tasks become messy, people get frustrated, results suffer, and overall efficiency goes down the drain.
Almost every sales team now uses a sales automation tool, so they think these applications will save them from having a formal process. Unfortunately, this isn’t the least bit true, and in some cases, it can make things even worse
A tool alone can’t provide structure and organization to your team; you need a formal process that everyone follows to get the best results.
But the tool can also help, especially if it’s got the right features like LaGrowthMachine! Stick around and we’ll discuss this in the next sections!
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Enhanced communication and collaboration
This goes hand in hand with the last point! How else would you achieve improved organization and accountability if not for effective communication and collaboration?
Building a structured sales team encourages the entire team to collaborate better and communicate more effectively.
However, it’s easier said than done…
Effective communication and collaboration take time and effort, but once you have the right process in place, everyone will know exactly how to work together.
Use these tips to improve communication and collaboration on your sales team:
- Hold regular meetings where everyone can discuss their progress, challenges, and successes.
- Encourage feedback and open, constructive discussions between team members
- Set clear expectations for each team member so everyone knows what they need to be doing.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page by keeping a record of the set goals and objectives.
Streamlined sales process
Next, thanks to the previous benefits, you should be able to boost your sales process quite a bit.
Having good organization throughout the team and good communication between the members is an unmistakable recipe for success.
Plus, a structured sales team will help you keep track of the entire process from beginning to end, which is incredibly valuable.
You’ll be able to track everything, from customer inquiries to conversion rates, and make smarter decisions faster.
This helps streamline the sales process, reducing the time it takes to close deals and increasing the overall efficiency of the team.
Additionally, a structured sales team can help identify areas where the prospecting process can be improved, leading to better results and higher sales numbers.
All of this leads to one thing: more sales for a lower cost (-money or otherwise), which is, after all, the ultimate goal of every sales team.
Better customer experience
Lastly, all the previous benefits culminate in a better customer experience, which should be the most important goal of any business.
When you have a structured sales team, customers can rest assured that their inquiries and complaints will be taken seriously, because you have a formal process in place.
This also helps build trust between your team and the customers, leading to improved relationships and more loyalty.
Not only that but with the help of the right sales automation tool (like LaGrowthMachine) you can provide an even better customer experience by automating certain mundane tasks and freeing up your salespeople to focus on more important things.
All in all, having a structured sales team can bring about great results for both the company and its customers!
How to build a sales team in 6 easy steps?
Now that you know the benefits of having a structured sales team, you know what you’re missing if you don’t put the time and effort into building one.
But what does that process look like? What steps should you take to get there?
Here’s everything I learned from the countless conversation I’ve had with the experts from our sales team:
Step 1: Start with the basics
The first step is to make sure everyone on the team understands the basics and is on the same page. By everyone, that includes the team’s leader, salespeople, and anyone else involved in the process.
Make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them, what goals the team is aiming for, and how to go about achieving those goals.
This is absolutely crucial and it goes with what I said earlier about having clear communication; if everyone has the same understanding, it will be much easier to move forward.
It’s like building a house – you can’t have a strong structure without a solid foundation. The same goes for your sales team. Everyone involved in the process needs to understand the expectations, goals, and processes.
The team leader should set the tone and communicate effectively to make sure everyone is on the same page.
This includes making sure everyone knows what’s expected of them and what their specific roles are within the team. Which will help prevent confusion and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Clear communication also means setting clear goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. These goals should be challenging enough to push your team to work harder, but not so impossible that they become demotivated.
Take the story of Starbucks in 2018 for instance: because of their poor relay of company values, 2 men were wrongfully arrested in a Starbucks outlet while waiting for their friend.
Now this might not be a sales incident and we can debate the reasons why it happened, but this story is a perfect example of what happens when companies lack proper communication and structure.
The good thing is that Starbucks actually took the right steps and implemented a comprehensive training program to prevent something like that from happening again.
Help them create a sense of purpose and motivation, and yes, this includes your sales team’s salary
Step 1.5: Have all the necessary tools and resources ready
This goes parallel to setting a clear foundation up, but I decided to put it in another section because it’s an essential step that is often overlooked.
In addition to setting clear expectations, it’s important to provide the necessary tools and resources to help your team succeed. This could include training programs, access to relevant data, or specialized software tools.
By giving your team what they need to succeed, you’re showing that you value their success and are invested in their growth.
Maybe this seems like a lot of things to you, and maybe you deem some of them unnecessary, but we weren’t kidding about putting effort in.
We won’t say this enough; establishing the healthy groundwork for your sales team is honestly the most important thing because without it, well, you get the rest…
The bottom line is, having solid ground to step on is key to having a successful sales team. Investing time, effort, and resources into creating the right structure can help you reap great rewards in terms of sales.
That’s it, that was my last analogy for the basics I swear! Let’s move on to the next step! 😅
Step 2: Choose your team carefully
I’m not talking about technical qualifications or however many years of experience the person has, I’m talking about character traits and values.
As unfair as it might sound, some people are just not equipped to work with others and you should be mindful of that.
Yes, it’s important to recruit qualified salespeople, that’s actually the easy part. You would just have to identify the technical skills you want to see in your team and hire for them:
- Is the person persuasive? Easy to talk to? Does he/she have a good understanding of the product?
- Does the person have strong problem-solving skills?
- Are they familiar with the tools used in your corporation?
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea.
However, the hard part is looking for character traits that are suitable to the team culture and conducive to success.
When selecting individuals, once you have a couple of candidates left, try to have them meet with the rest of the team. Especially if they’ll interact with each other on a daily basis.
That way, you can get an idea of how/if they get along and how well they will fit into your corporate culture.
Not only does this show that you value everyone’s opinion, but it also ensures that you make the right decision for the team in the long run.
I’m not saying you need to always find a perfect fit, especially when it comes to personal qualities, but try to get as close to that as possible! This will help you prevent situations like mistrust, tension, and conflict within the team, which can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Once you have identified the right person, make sure to nurture and develop their skills within the team. It will not only help them, but it will also help the team succeed in the long run.
I’m not going to lie to you here, by no means is this an exact science and it’s almost purely based on intuition. But, it’s something you should at least pay attention to and try to get right.
After all, a team is like a family, and you want to make sure you choose the right people to join yours!
Step 3: Lay down what you count as a win
This is something that can be easily overlooked, but it’s one of the most important things to establish when creating a sales team.
You need to define what success looks like for each individual and for the team as a whole. This will provide everyone with an understanding of their objectives and expectations.
For instance, if you, the sales manager, are tasked with selling a new product line with different-level subscriptions, like a SaaS for instance. (#notreallyacoincidence)
You can establish clear goals for every member for the number of qualified leads generated, the conversion rate, and/or the average deal size.
By defining what success looks like and setting these specific metrics, you give your team clear targets to aim for and a sense of achievement when they hit their goals. It also allows you to measure the effectiveness of your sales strategy and make data-driven decisions to improve your process.
Step 4: Train, train, and train some more
Training is key when it comes to a successful sales team. You want your salespeople to be experts in your product or service, as well as in the sales process itself.
I’d personally say you want everyone who works in the company to have at least a firm understanding of the thing you’re selling, but that’s not the topic here.
Training should be ongoing, not just a one-time event. Make sure to provide regular coaching sessions, workshops, and training sessions that cover everything from product knowledge to objection handling and closing techniques.
These are just a few examples, adapt the training to your company, your corporate culture, your team, etc.
By doing so, you ensure that your salespeople are always up-to-date and equipped with the skills they need to succeed.
Don’t forget to tailor the training to each member’s needs and learning style as much as possible, but don’t go overboard with it. Depending on how many resources you can dedicate to the process, that might not be possible.
Remember, investing in your team’s training will pay off in the long run. A well-trained team will be more confident, effective, and ultimately more successful in closing deals.
I’m definitely a proponent of the “train and empower” approach for all teams actually, not just sales.
For each LaGrowthMachine team; from our marketers to developers, everyone is required to go through at least one training course per quarter. The training needs to, obviously, be related to their job and help them perform their tasks more efficiently. It’s one of the best decisions a company can make because it fosters a culture of knowledge and continuous learning.
Step 5: Encourage giving/receiving feedback
Encouraging both giving and receiving feedback from your team is a must if you want to create an environment that encourages growth, learning, and collaboration. And we’ve already established that you do because that’s what helps you and your team in the long term.
Feedback helps the team members understand where they stand in relation to their tasks and how they can improve their skills. It also helps build trust between everyone involved.
Take the time to review team members’ performance and have a discussion about what could be done better.
Most importantly, feedback is NOT just given when someone did something wrong or not up to expectations! Feedback can also be positive and be used to recognize the hard work and effort that team members put in.
Moreover, make sure everyone is comfortable discussing each other’s progress and is able to give and receive pointers about how to improve.
Step 6: Keep the customer in mind
At the end of the day, customers are at the heart of any successful business.
You can have all the processes and training in the world, but if your team isn’t able to close deals or build relationships with potential customers, then you won’t get anywhere.
That’s why it is important to always keep the customer in mind when creating any sales strategy.
Your focus should be on understanding the needs of your target audience and providing them with the best possible solutions.
Take the time to analyze customer data, such as demographic information or purchasing behavior. Use this data to create buyer personas and get a better understanding of who you’re selling to.
Then use that knowledge to craft a tailored sales approach for each persona and make sure your team is aware of it.
As Heather Williams says: “Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.
Well, that was the last step! I hope you can use these tips to build an effective sales team in your organization.
But what if you want to get more out of your team? Well, I’ve got just the thing for you!
LaGrowthMachine: The automation tool to take your sales team to the next level
From customizable workflows to automated multichannel follow-ups, you can use our tool to get the most out of your sales team and take your business to the next level.
Our tool allows you to customize and automate your outreach process with a single platform.
Our selection of templates is ready for you to use as-is, or to customize per your specific requirements. You can even start your own campaign from scratch!
I won’t talk much about the features, the video will do that just fine!
What the video doesn’t mention though, is that our tool is perfectly suited for sales teams!
Not only can you have multiple identities for a single account (*contingent on your subscription type), but you can also track each team member’s conversations!
Be it prospecting or customer care, you will get a better understanding of how your team is performing. You can even take over the conversation if you want to or feel like they made a mistake.
Plus, you can use our powerful analytics tab to figure out where each team member should focus their efforts, and how they can improve their performance.