For your business to be valuable - and sellable one day - you need a way to generate sales after you're gone. Many business owners hire a superstar salesperson to replace themselves as the rainmaker, but that's a trap. By replacing yourself with a single salesperson, you're simply shifting the dependency from you to a sales rep. To be as valuable as possible, your company needs a sales team - not just a single salesperson.
But how do you build an entire sales team? Wouldn't it be more prudent to hire a sales rep first? The answer is no. Hiring a single sales rep will only keep your business reliant on one person. You need a team and the faster the better. Here are 5 tips to building a successful sales team:
- Determine Your Sales Goals: Before you establish a sales team, determine what kind of sales numbers you want to hit each month. Remember that the entire point of creating a sales team is to achieve financial growth. Figure out what your first financial goal will be, then work backwards and see how much you can pay your sales team to reach that goal. Once you've done the math, you will be able to create an appropriate wage structure to incentivize your team to create business.
- Have a Good Hiring Process: When it comes to hiring, a lot of applicants come across as aces. To really qualify a candidate, ask yourself: Is this person coachable? A lot of sales people with past experience tend to think they have it all figured out, and could be difficult to train. It's also important to decide if you'd rather hire someone with more product/service knowledge and no sales experience or an experienced salesperson with no product knowledge. This will help you accurately gauge how much time an individual will need for training.
- Carve Territories into Small Chunks: A sales territory is an asset of your company and, like giving candy to a baby, it is easy to offer and hard to take Carve up your market into sales territories that provide enough opportunity for each rep to make money. It's okay to leave a territory unfilled for years, so avoid the temptation to give the territory to another rep, as it will become impossible to take back when you're ready to fill the position.
- Regularly Communicate as a Team: Keeping the lines of communication open among your entire team will inspire accountability, productivity, and most importantly - competition. Sales people thrive on competition, so regularly share each team member's progress to kick start an aggressive and more efficient sales team.
- Be Nurturing: In order to achieve the greatest amount of success from your sales team, you will need to be available to answer questions, point people in the right direction, and provide ideas on how to sell more. As soon as you start hitting your sales goals, consider promoting your best salesperson to be a sales manager. This way he or she can take over the nurturing task and also on-board new sales people.
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