Developing a sales team isn't as simple as hiring people, sending them out in the field and hoping they do well. You could do that if your company's success didn't matter to you, but most likely it does matter. Your sales team is your path to success, and for that reason, they need a bit of investment from you. Here are some times to help improve your team.
Focus on Negotiation Skills
Negotiation skills contribute to the success of a business. They help build relationships with customers and they help seal the terms of a sale; yet, negotiation is also an art that should be taught if it hasn't previously been learned. Send each member of your team through negotiation training to optimize their performance when they're out on a lead.
Let your sales team focus on the customer instead of tedious tasks. Customer relationship management software takes care of a lot of work for the members on your team. It can help organize leads, store communication history, and optimize time spent out in the field.
Many sales teams have found that having a CRM greatly improved their performance. There are numerous CRMs on the market. Get a feel for several options and decide which one is best suited to your industry, company size and goals.
Have Good Communication
Communicate the company's vision, where you see its future, and what obstacles may be in the way. Employees want to be a part of the vision and goals.
Don't just develop a relationship with your team, develop a relationship with each member. Not only does this help you as the sales manager when you assign tasks, it helps the team members better understand your vision for the company. Always share information and be honest. They'll also be honest with you.
Hire Good People
Many people interview well, and you can usually gauge a sales personality in a short amount of time. If they're able to sell themselves to you as their employer, they should be able to sell your product as well.
Be sure to follow up with their references and past employers. Sometimes these sources can reveal things that you wish you had known sooner. If you sense any red flags, don't add them to your team. One bad team member can bring the whole team down.
Invest in Their Abilities
If you have a strong team, you want to keep them strong. Send them to training and seminars so their sales tactics stay fresh. You can also invite guests to your business to give half day training. Providing these opportunities is good for your business and good for the career development of your individual team members.
Be Mindful of Your Company Culture
The culture of a company starts at its leadership. If the leadership is sending negative signals, those signals travel down the pipeline until everyone's unhappy. You don't want an unhappy team.
An unhappy team provides poor performance and doesn't care about the success of the business. The team members will stay until another opportunity comes along. If you send positive signals, you'll have better employee retention and a sales team that looks out for the success of the company. Be sending those positive signals.
Keep track of each team members performance. Know how many sales they are handling each day and what their conversion rates are. Have open communication with each member about individual goals and how they can improve their performance, but also share with them what they're doing well.
Make Sure They Know the Product
One of the first training each team member should have is learning about the product. Make sure they've touched it, used it, have one at home or have one in their car. Whatever the product is, your sales team needs to know it inside and out.
It's hard to sell someone else on a product if you don't understand it yourself. If your sales team uses the product, they'll understand how it can benefit the customer as well.
Lead by Example
As you communicate your goal to your team, and set out expectations for their performance, prove that you are willing and able to do these things yourself. Be a part of the team and be a part of the sales.
If a team member needs some help, go with them on a sale and demonstrate some of the tactics you find to be most beneficial. They'll learn something new but also have a newfound respect for you as their leader. Never ask a team member to do something you aren't willing to do yourself.
A good sales team takes time to build and develop. With the right attitude and strategy, you can nurture a high performing team that believes in the vision and values of the company. Your sales team is your company's path to success, so placing value in them will bring you the greatest rewards.