Developing a Successful Sales Team
Becoming a great salesman is a frequent topic of books, videos and seminars, but you rarely find much on developing a successful sales team. Yet this is probably the real key for companies that rely on sales – and most do.
A first step in “making” a great sales force is finding, hiring and retaining natural sellers. But talent alone isn’t enough. You must also define a sales strategy – who to sell to, what products/services to offer and what sales process to use.
Next is providing clarity about sales force roles and responsibilities. Without this, there may be confusion about which channel (e.g., direct sales, selling partners, inside sales, e-channels) or sales role (e.g. generalist, specialist, key account manager) is best suited for different customers.
by Scott Arnold
CEO, Concord Sales Leadership
Focus on Talent
The third component in making a strong sales force is a continual focus on talent. Top salespeople are unlikely to join your team without this focus because they want to be with a winner. If there is a lack of training, growth and opportunities, those who join your sales force may not stick around.
A fourth point is execution. An effective sales force requires using tools such as sales compensation, recognition programs and goal setting to motivate salespeople.
Without this focus and motivation, sales roles may get side tracked by other activities. For example, a sales person may spend too much time responding to service requests, important as they are. This takes away from more crucial tasks like approaching difficult but important prospects. Tip: don’t let sales people veer off course. It can happen quickly.
For sustained success, top notch sales teams are backed by a strong operations capability. This should include expertise in areas such as sales planning, forecasting, compensation, administration and territory design. A lack of discipline in sales operations can lead to inefficiency and lost opportunity.
Creating a successful sales force can appear daunting. There are no silver bullets. The best sales forces are able recognize the need for upgrades, are committed to making continuous improvements and can transform themselves as needed to align with new strategies or market shifts.