How well your sales team performs can make or break your business. Some people just seem to click together and lift one another up, while other groups of workers tear one another apart. How can you ensure you develop a cohesive unit that gets results?
After testing 1.8 million salespeople for 25 years, Objective Management Group came to the conclusion that around 74% of salespeople are either average or weak, with only 26% succeeding. Researchers dug a bit deeper to identify the qualities that make one person better able to sell than another.
Managers must also consider the dynamics of the team as a whole. What skills does each person bring to the group? What weaknesses might the group have as a whole and what type of person could join them to balance things out?
Here are some things you can consider to create a high-performing sales team.
What do you want people to say about your company when they encounter someone who works there? Knowing what you want your company culture to look like gives you an opportunity to add programs and make changes that achieve those goals.
Do you want to offer flexible schedules? How does that work inside a sales team so everyone works to their full potential? Talk to your team about things they’d like to see change and ideas they have for improving the company culture.
Have you ever applied to a position and been ghosted? Perhaps you were the employer and the ideal candidate never returned your calls for a second interview. Sometimes, people shy away from taking the next step because they feel uncertain what the company expects of them. Tactics such as ghosting cost precious time as you try to fill open positions.
Your job description should include things such as salary range, expectations about where and when the person will work and job responsibilities. The clearer you are, the better you’ll filter out those who aren’t well suited for your sales team’s needs.
Within the interview process, share an answer to any question you think a potential employee might ask.
Every team has weaknesses and strengths. Spend time thinking about what kills your current employees have. What is your team missing that you might be able to fulfill with someone new. For example, you might have people who are great with leads but not good at closing the sale. A new face with the ability to close sales can not only help with follow-through but train your current team members to gain the same tools.
Every person in your department doesn’t have to be a salesperson, either. You might be more in need of someone to organize leads from the website or remind other people when is a good time to follow-up.
One way to improve skills for everyone on your team is to offer them training opportunities. Whether you send everyone to a conference to build skills via workshops and networking or you have someone come in-house and conduct a training session, time learning is well spent.
If your company uses a specific software or wants to adopt a new process, you can also utilize training sessions to get everyone comfortable with the tools at hand. When workers aren’t distracted trying to pull up old data or figuring out input methods, they’ll put more of their focus on the customer.
Average landing pages convert at about 2.35%, but top performing sites hit 11.45% or so. Look for ways to optimize customer experience so they’ll want to convert more often and come back for repeat sales.
Keep careful records of each client and what matters to them. Are they a family person? If so, their anniversary or child’s birthday matters. Remembering it and shooting out a quick email can help your salespeople establish a personal connection and improve the way the entire team relates to customers.
Train your employees in communication skills and empathy. The more they actually care about the people buying your products, the better their overall sales performance will be.
One of the best ways to improve your team is to offer regular and consistent feedback. Both the leaders and people’s peers should give constructive criticism. Make sure people know what they’re doing really well before you try to correct anything. If you aren’t careful, they’ll only hear the criticism and be more inclined to look for a new job than change.
Once you’ve shared what you love about their work, point out an area where they might improve. Take things further, though, and actually give the salesperson the tools to fix any issues. If they aren’t closing sales, then put them through a course on closing or have them shadow someone else who is adept at that particular part of the job.
A connected team is going to accomplish more. If John is out sick for two days, Bill will know he has a big meeting with an important client and step up and take his place temporarily. Your employees should understand that it’s more about performance as a unit than an individual.
Offer incentives for those who help others rather than only a numbers-based reward system. People deserve recognition for being good team players, which might be even more important in the long run than simply hitting a sales goal as their behavior impacts every part of the work day.
You can’t have a successful sales program without a team mentality. Your workers must be able to work together and lift each other up. Sales is difficult even under the best of circumstances. Remove any tension between coworkers and teach members how to best represent your products. With a little work, your sales team will reach new heights and bring on loyal customers who became repeat buyers.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.