How to Build an Effective Sales Team Jonathan Herrick Modern salespeople wear many hats. Selling isn’t their only job, and they are just as responsible for educating the consumer as they are selling to them. It can add a lot to their plates and make their jobs a lot more challenging. In fact, 61percent of salespeople stated it was much harder to sell than it was five years ago. It’s not an easy business, which is why building a productive and resilient sales team is critical to the success of a company. In this article, we’ll explore some essential practices business leaders should implement to assemble a team of top-performing salespeople. Consider An Internal Hire First Bad hires are costly, so it’s important to take your time and do it right. The best place to start when building a sales team is to consider the resources you already have. The most successful sales hires are typically internal. Why? Well, these people already know the brand, company policies, expectations, and ROI of what your company offers. They’re well-versed with your service and product, which makes the learning curve much lower than if you were to hire externally. Before you look outside the company, open the job up internally. If you need to, ask around for referrals. Perhaps there is someone in operations that would love to try sales. Don’t eliminate someone if they don’t have direct experience. Sometimes, the best salespeople are the ones you can train from the bottom up. Know Who You Want Before you can hire someone, it’s you must have a firm grasp of what you want your sales force to do for the company. Yes, you want them to be able to sell your product and set leads up to be strong customers. But, do you want this new salesperson to be visible, or only handle large accounts? Understanding your needs will help establish a baseline for the team. The best way to hire a salesperson is to look for a willingness to engage and successfully perform tasks. Also, consider the company culture and infrastructure. Mull over questions like: Do you need field sales or inside sales? What kind of experience are you looking for? What skillsets are the most essential? How many team members do you need to scale? How will you support them? What processes will they be using? What tools do you need to budget for? How will you measure their success? These questions can help to better define the type of person that best suits the role and create a profile of your ideal candidate. Consider traits like: Energetic Competitive Motivated Non-traditional Resilient Quick-learner Self-starter People-oriented The more you work to understand the perfect fit, the easier it will be to hire. Develop a System for Hiring Work on creating a standardized hiring process across the board. This will make the evaluation for each person equal, which helps you better compare candidates against each other. Think about the questions you want to ask that will give you the answers needed to make an informed decision, and don’t be afraid to get specific. You can also consider having candidates take a personality test or skills test. Some brands are too busy to recruit internally. In this case, they work with an outside recruiter or headhunter to save time. Recruiters have a big database of candidates at their disposal and are well-versed in the vetting process. Going this route is a viable option; however, if you want more control over who you bring on, you’ll probably want to own the process. Train and Motivate The real key to building a capable sales team lies in engagement. You have to keep your people motivated and inspired. Establish the resources needed to actively learn the job and clearly outline goals and benchmarks. Creating key performance indicators (KPIs) to be reviewed on a weekly or monthly basis also helps to motivate a team. You can also try to gamify your training. This is an incredibly motivating way to teach a team new tricks. It involves various elements of gaming, like a points system or leaderboard to inspire competition. It puts the sales rep in charge of their education and can also be used to adopt new training tools. Provide The Keys to Succeed The final step in building a successful sales team is ensuring they have the tools necessary to get the job done right. It’s not just about hiring the right people; you must also provide the necessary resources. Make sure your sales team has a knowledge base to enable their process and assist them in conversations. If they need more content, then bring your sales and marketing teams together so they can discuss the types of content that need to be created. When choosing the right platforms for your team, consider how your team will best interact with customers, and work to close sales. If your efforts are based more on digital marketing, a CRM system works great for automation. Sales can then follow up with warm leads and prospects. If your sales team interfaces with customers, a web-based conferencing platform is a useful tool for your roster. You should be giving sales an efficient way to write and submit orders, as well as manage mobile accounts. Salespeople are more than just the workers that build your ROI. They are the front-line troops and the people speaking to your customers the most. With this in mind, it’s crucial to not only scale your workforce but do it correctly. Building the proper sales team starts with the right planning, understanding who you need, and giving them the tools to succeed.