By Solomon Thimothy, who is on a mission to help as many entrepreneurs as possible start and scale their businesses. | President of OneIMS.
In my experience, building a high-performing sales team is not that difficult, but too many leaders are making the same mistakes and skipping the foundational principles. Here are three steps that can help you increase the efficiency of your sales department and generate higher results in the long run.
1. Empower Your Team
If you put pressure on the sales department to produce results but don’t empower them, they’ll end up using “snake oil” tactics to push for the sale and never get to building trust and rapport with customers. Do this for long enough and people will not want to deal with your company anymore.
Instead, take the other route. Think about sales as the heart of any organization. What can you do to support the heart? You can eat healthy, do aerobics every day, quit smoking and manage stress better. And what would that mean for a business? Doing lead generation, running ads to give our salespeople more leads than they possibly need and setting up automation to make their life more efficient. You can also add on an operations team to qualify the leads, score them and prioritize them.
Also, remember that salespeople come in different forms. Some are super technical but not so good at closing, while others are not technical but amazing on the phone. As a leader, you have to help them overcome these barriers and close gaps. Those who are highly technical may need to be taught how to ask better questions, while those who are less tech-savvy need to learn automation.
2. Assess Their Skills
Different people have different skills and sales is definitely a skill. However, not everybody is cut out for it. Your job as a leader is to match the skills to the job.
Some people just don’t have what it takes, and there’s a way to figure it out by putting them through a personality test. First, conduct the DiSC assessment. Once you have the results, you’ll be able to more clearly see which members of your team are suitable for sales and which ones would be more effective in other roles, such as customer service. If they are great at hosting a demo but afraid to ask for a sale, they shouldn’t be in sales. Your ideal salespeople need to be confident in your solution and assertive enough to lead a conversation.
Good salespeople also should not be prospecting. If you have a top-level salesperson on your team, hire a prospector to support them. I’d personally just have them do calls. They’re going to make way more money by making five calls a day than spending five hours trying to get one meeting (and running it, too). I recommend finding two appointment setters to feed their calendar. You’ll still make more money after paying the two appointment setters than you would otherwise if you had one person do it on their own. And your star salesperson is less likely to burn out because appointment setting can be exhausting—especially if you don’t enjoy it.
3. Train Your Team
The best way to turn a good sales team into a great one is by training them. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy not only learning about sales but also training our people. And I really want to emphasize that sales is a skill. Your B players can definitely become A+ players if you help them fill the gaps that they have right now. But you also need to be serious about it if you want to see the results. You can’t recommend a book or send them to a one-time conference and then expect that they will become significantly better at their job. The only way to do it is through constant training. I recommend finding a professional sales trainer and putting your team on an ongoing, well-structured weekly program with role-playing exercises that give participants a chance to practice overcoming objections.
Implement these three tips to start seeing your team grow in their knowledge and skills. I think you’ll find your team will become more efficient and you’ll be more likely to meet your revenue targets.