The success of a sales team can make or break a business, so what qualities should business leaders look for when they are hiring for additions to the sales team?
And how can they ensure that the sales team stays motivated to deliver great results consistently as the company scales? As we look ahead to an increasingly turbulent economic outlook, it’s more important than ever that the sales team engine is operating at maximum power.
Recruit for values
To succeed in sales, it’s important to possess the drive to pursue opportunities relentlessly, but the humility to cheer colleagues on from the sidelines.
Hiring sales reps based on the values of tenacity and humility will make the team sustainable, boosting employee retention and helping to attract talent too
Remember it’s the people that make the place. Rewarding employees financially makes them feel valued, but a strong supportive culture builds a happy team.
At least two full weeks of onboarding should be delivered to help new sales reps hit the ground running, however support should be ongoing.
There’s only so much information a full immersion can provide, so ensure support and coaching is scheduled regularly and give the team at least an hour a week with a manager to build on their knowledge and skills.
Sales reps need to learn how to deal with rejection, however it’s crucial to help them understand when a prospect says no, 50 per cent of the time it’s a hard no. The rest could be: ‘No not right now, but maybe later.’
Learning the art of objection handling will ultimately convert into more meetings in the long run.
It’s these contacts who need to be nurtured and should receive free of charge resources to position the business front of mind later down the line.
Set realistic goals
Goals need to be achievable and regular to deliver the best results. Small goals can be ticked off and will help to build confidence and momentum for any sales development rep.
It’s also useful to empower reps to feed into their goals to give them ownership.
Commission clearly functions as a financial carrot and benefits help to motivate sales teams.
However, company culture will propel the motivation of sales teams into the stratosphere.
Reps do their best work when they operate as a team, as opposed to individuals working in silo towards their own goals.
Targets should be set for the team and all wins, no matter how small, should be celebrated to ensure that energy stays high.
Sharing company targets and successes is motivating because it shows the sales team what they are building.
To retain experienced employees paying them well is a given. Beyond pay, transparency about how they can progress and what the future holds for them is key.
Surprise and delight
In truth, sales is a repetitive job. Offering incentives can function as an additional motivator but switch up the incentives to keep these interesting and offer reps variety.
Commission will deliver results but inject some fun with sporadic incentives such as prizes to add a little spice to the nine to five. Remember reps either secure commission or they don’t, so in some ways even this can feel repetitive.
Find out what your individual sales reps would like to win with a value of £25. Maybe it’s an Amazon voucher, or tickets to the local comedy club or a Deliveroo voucher? Then switch up the frequency so they never know when the next competition will land.
When we ran a competition called Game of Phones for two weeks, we provided prizes for successes such as the rep with the most opportunities in one day or spin the wheel for a prize.
During those two weeks we almost doubled our meetings booked for clients, compared to the previous two weeks. It spiked energy levels and made everyone push further. Incentives work but they must be clever and unexpected.
Time back is another fantastic way to give a sales rep who has smashed their targets a surprise incentive. Consider sending top performing sales reps home early on a Friday as a fresh way to reward them.
Ultimately the base salary must be attractive, otherwise expecting sales teams to rely on commission to meet their needs fails to provide them with stability.
As a business scales, the sales team must retain the elements that made it so successful in the first place.
It’s easier to keep a small team energised, so as the business grows, stay true to the company values, hire for a good fit with the culture and the rest should follow.
Remember as a leader that culture flows from the top, so set an example.
Finally invest in a talented coach for the sales team, who is capable of training different personalities. They should function as a constant and will be available to roleplay with reps to boost confidence and up their game. It will be the best money you ever spent.
If business leaders and senior sales directors cheer the team on from the sidelines and act as a positive force, the energy will remain high – and the results will flood in.
About the author
Becky Davies is a Senior Sales Development Manager at sales powered B2B marketing agency Punch!.
With a background predominantly based in consultative sales and account management, she now works with the dynamic and energetic team of sales development representatives delivering for Punch!’s industry leading clients which include brands such as Expleo, Iron Mountain and Basware.
Becky thrives on developing team members and loves creating opportunities for Punch! to make a real difference to their clients.