Sales managers are in charge of creating an ideal environment where the magic happens—unfortunately, three magic lamp wishes aren’t enough to get you an ideal sales team.
With turnover costs close to 200 percent a rep’s salary, getting a dream team together not only makes your job easier, but is crucial to the health of your operations. And since Rome wasn’t built in a day, don’t expect your perfect sales team to be either.
Here’s how you can get closer to the sales team (and the results) you’ve always dreamed of:
Figure out your wishes by assessing your current sales strategy/operations
- The client journey, both before and after the sale
- The cost of a sale
- The length of buying process
- Client satisfaction
- How and where marketing and sales work together or clash
Once you determine or optimized the key components of your sales process, you can find and develop the people you need to meet your goals.
There’s no “I” in sales—evaluate your current team
To get a dream team, you’ll have to start by knowing what, or who, you’ve got. Consider these elements of your sales force:
- Size — compare the number and level of employees to the overall workload to ensure your team isn’t spread too thin
- Job requirements — determine what is required of each position, mapping out what’s in the job description as well as the tasks that are actually performed in that role
- Sales productivity — compare the work getting done to the job requirements and sales goals
- Skills and gaps of each individual — know how each employee is being utilized to the extent of their skills or where they need training
- Your team’s expectations — your expectations of your team members aren’t the only ones that matter; keep an open dialog to understand their expectations of you and the company to mitigate future problems
Your sales force is there to get the work done, but you should ask your sales team for feedback regularly through conversations, surveys, and micro-assessments—after all, they are on the front lines of your company with the customers, and could share valuable ideas for improving processes.
Go forth and employ selectively—optimize your hiring process
Regardless of whether or not you need to replace current team members, chances are you’ll need to hire again in the future. Here is how you can be ready for the next wave of resumes:
- Plan your sales hiring process so your new hires are consistently ones with potential and drive (not just stellar interviewing and schmoozing skills)
- Create a profile of your ideal sales candidate, which mitigates the mistake of hiring off of intuition alone (an industry no-no). Incorporate attributes of your current best sales reps
- Consider group interviews as they can be useful for observing which candidates are natural leaders
Rethink the compensation package—reward results with more commission
Commission is a beautiful thing for employees and companies alike. With so many types of commission structures, it’s important to do research and find a structure that will reward and motivate your team appropriately. Though today’s workforce values engagement, training, and purpose over money, compensation still matters. Most importantly, make sure your sales force understands the compensation package to avoid unnecessary issues that could ultimately lead to turnover.
Use the magic wand of employee development—training
If you’ve got yourself a great batch of salespeople but need to revamp your strategy, training is a surefire way to get everyone on track. A learning management software platform like Bridge is optimized so teams can learn quickly from any device, with real-time feedback for managers. Training and practice can make perfect with time, but surveys and quizzes will help you test your new hires and veteran reps along the way—no red pen needed.
Your assessments are only as good as the application of your findings. Regularly check how the sales strategy is matching up to the company’s overall goals and that your team is in line with whatever that requires. Again, dream teams are never easy to put together (just ask the 1992 men’s Olympic basketball team). But following these best practices will help get you there—almost like magic.
What tactics have given you a sales team from the gods? Let us know in the comments.