5 Ways to Build an Effective Salesforce & How to Assess Your Team’s Talent

Sales teams are at the forefront of any business, they’re vital to viability – and not only in terms of revenue, but just as importantly, in brand reputation, customer relationships, retention, and product improvement.

If you are determined to build a revenue engine, you need to hire a team of passionate, resilient, and target-driven sales professionals.

Devising a well-thought-out strategy will define your hiring efforts and enable you to consistently win new business, upsell existing ones, and forecast growth over the coming financial years.

In this blog, we highlight 5 ways to build an effective workforce and share advice on ways to assess sales talents.

 Top-down view of two people sat at computers.

 

Firstly, let’s look at how you can support your sales team, and improve productivity.

1. Outsource Administrative Tasks

On average, salespeople only spend 14 hours out of a typical 40-hour work week selling, the rest of their time is spent on activities that don’t directly generate revenue for the business, like administration tasks. You don’t want your highest-paid employees that bring in new clients and drive the business forward, spending valuable time completing admin work. Hire a team of sales administrators that can support with processing orders, issuing invoices, maintaining sales records, and compiling sales reports.

This will enable your sales team to focus solely on what they do best.

 A pie chart split into a third and two thirds with the text: On average, salespeople only spend 35% of their time actively selling.

2. Qualify Leads for The Best Use of Time

You need qualified leads that are likely to convert into profitable sales - those that fit your customer profile. These qualified leads need to be readily available for the sales team to swoop in and close the deal.

Targeted lead generation requires time and focus; therefore, it may be worth considering hiring a dedicated team to manage this or outsourcing it to a specialist lead generation business that understands your industry.

3. Invest in an Efficient CRM System

An all-encompassing customer relationship management (CRM) system needs to be effective, user-friendly, and easily accessible.

An efficient CRM will keep the sales team organised, customer records up-to-date, track order status, lead progress, and forecast sales. This is essential software for any high-performing sales team. If you don’t have suitable software that can manage this, then it’s time to consider an upgrade.

Close up of hands on a laptop with graphics representing different users floating above the keyboard.

 4. Align Sales and Marketing

Ensure these two crucial departments are working proactively together and toward the same goal. Marketing needs to be supporting the sales team with leads and the sales team need to be converting those leads or advising the marketing team if they’re navigating differently on a certain sale.

It is crucial not to solely rely on marketing, but by working together you’ll avoid duplicating efforts.

5. Set Clear Expectations and Sales Targets

Be clear on what success looks like to your sales team and its reflection on company revenue, by having a set of metrics that you manage and hold everyone accountable to.

Setting out clear expectations and targets will keep your sales team motivated and engaged. Generate team-wide goals and expectations to ensure collaboration, but likewise, individual targets tailored to the level of salesperson or experience.

 Close up of hands cupped together with a target symbol floating above.

 

Effectively assess and hire the right people that will encourage sales.

Hire Right

Before advertising your role on the job boards, evaluate your hiring process, and identify your minimum and preferred qualifications, market experience, and sales accomplishments, for the position you’re trying to fill. Use those to filter your applicant pool and only engage with prospective salespeople who fulfill that.

If there is a high-performing salesperson in the business, that has great techniques and skills, use this person as a benchmark for your next talent.

 

Train New Hires in a Consistent, Measurable Way

When hiring an experienced salesperson, remember you’re not teaching them to suck eggs, they know what they’re doing, that’s why you’ve hired them, but they will still need basic training – on processes, expectations, products, USPs, and the CRM system.

If you’re hiring someone who is just starting out in their sales career or only has a few years of experience under their belt, they will require more detailed training, covering the product or service, buyer personas, effective communication during meetings, emails and in proposal preparation, market intel, and company expectations.

Although both offer a different level of depth and purpose, these training programs need to remain consistent for every new hire, to ensure success within the team, time and time again.

 A manager greeting two new employees.

 

How to upskill your current sales team.

Trust and Believe in Your Salespeople

Harvard Business Reviews teaches us that companies that trust their employees are more productive and subsequently, experience lower employee turnover, so surely instilling such an environment within your sales personnel should have the same outcome.

 The Harvard Business Review logo with text: According to Harvard Business Review, companies that trust their employees are more productive and subsequently, experience lower employee turnover.

As a sales leader, start by demonstrating skills in scoping new markets, negotiating, closing deals, and securing highly respected clients. It’s also crucial to remain consistent, lead by example, and regularly check in with your team.

 

Give Consistent Feedback

If you want to improve the outputs of your sales team, giving feedback is critical – it encourages succession.

Take the time to review each employee’s performance and have 1-1’s to share your feedback. This approach will allow them to understand what behaviours to continue and the areas of improvement, whilst also, ensuring they feel valued as an individual and as a vital member of the company.

A 1-to-1 meeting.

 

Continually Improve Product/Service Expertise

Why should your prospects buy your product or service?

If you’re continually bringing out new products or additional features to your service, it’s crucial that your team are trained on what value the product/service offers and what the key features are.

Ensure prior to the release of any new products/technologies, that your sales team have had thorough and extensive training directly from the experts who built it.

Having a deep-rooted knowledge of the product means your sales team will be able to effectively answer any questions, devise a creative solution to customer problems, offer consultations that’ll lead to opportunities, and identify your unique selling proposition.

Implementing the above strategies will significantly help you to upskill your current team, whilst making certain you hire the right people to improve your sales output.

As a Sales Manager or business leader, your efforts should be focused on those that drive revenue and ultimately, keep the business operating. You need to ensure you are equipping them with the right tools to make their working day more efficient and proactive, whilst keeping them engaged and motivated to retain their employment within the business.

 

Find Your Next Top Sales Professional

If you are currently looking to hire a sales professional for your business, please contact Kara Ellison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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