No matter how good your product is, or how hard you push, if you don’t have the best sales team, you’re not likely to reach your full revenue potential. But what do we mean by “the best sales team”? We mean world class. If you’re pushing everything you’ve got in the right way and maintaining the highest standard, there’s no reason you can’t bring results that show your product, your organization and your sales team are a cut above the rest.
So how is this achieved? These 10 steps will see you through to building a world class B2B sales team
1) Hire the right people
Whether starting from scratch, or looking to bring some new blood to your existing team, having the right people on board is crucial. It’s likely that you get tons of applicants for entry level sales positions - as everyone thinks “I can do that” - but they couldn’t be more wrong! If you want a world class B2B sales team, you need to build it with the best talent, so try these in your next interview:
- Ask yourself - can I coach this person? If they’re untrainable they’re not right. Confidence is key, but so is the ability to learn and grow. If they already think they’re great at it, they’ll never be world class. Look at the interviewee and ask yourself - could I train this person, could I manage them, and could I take a genuine interest in their future?
- Do a role play sales phone call - This is a given. But we often know it as “sell me this pen”. They’re expecting this, so change it to a phone call role play, where they still have to sell you the pen, but you see how they introduce themselves, how they come across and how they dig for a personal connection as well as a business one. Good salespeople can do more than just sell, they make lasting impressions and remain memorable.
- Ask about their failures as well as successes - As much as you want to know about a time where they showed business flair and achieved success, ask about a time they failed, and what they did to move forward. B2B sales as a profession can contain crushing lows, you need to be able to take a hit and carry on fighting. Make sure they can bounce back from a rejection having learnt a valuable lesson from it, to carry forward into their next call.
2) Encourage diversity
Your sales pipeline will be full of very different business leads - so you need a diverse sales team ready to combat that! If you have a sales team full of one personality type, you run the risk of isolating your buyers, and all making similar mistakes. Balance your team, with extroverts, introverts and ambiverts, (read more on that here) and encourage them to share techniques. You’ll see your team become well versed in interacting with all types of personalities, and closing more sales doing it!
3) Lose the wrong people quickly
The biggest killers for a sales team are bad salespeople, and time. If there are members of your team that aren’t right and need to go, then waste no time in getting it sorted. It may seem harsh, but the longer your team carries them, the further away from world class you’ll get.
Mark Suster says it best - “There is only one answer: fire fast.
Firing somebody is no different than the other 10,000 decisions you need to make in your company to survive. You free up much needed budget. You free up the org chart to bring in new blood. Almost universally your staff will come out of the wood-works and say, “thank you, he needed to go.”
When people aren’t pulling their weight other members who are know it. And they’re grateful to work in an organization where they’re valued and slackers aren’t.
Managing a sales team is already hard enough. Managing a BAD sales team is even harder.”
You need to remember - there’s no point going through all these 10 steps, if there is someone on your team you know won’t be any better off afterwards. And if you have someone in mind as you read this, then you may need to take action soon…
4) Get the best tools
Though some might see this as a given, it’s surprising how many B2B sales teams aren’t using the proper tools to improve their performance and boost their sales pipeline. If there’s something on offer that makes your job easier - then do it! Here are some ideas:
- LinkedIn - this is a great help to sales teams - and in its basic form - it’s free! LinkedIn can broaden your team’s network, and is great for referrals, which 91% of your customers are happy to give despite only 11% of salespeople actually asking for them! Look into the additions, like Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Helper, so you can target new prospects and work your business leads easily through the sales pipeline. They carry a small cost, but can have a hugely positive impact on your sales team’s activity.
- File sharing - whether part of your business network or not, ensure files can be shared easily and accessed quickly. This saves time and makes everyone’s lives easier. Look into Dropbox if you’re in the market for a file sharing platform.
- CRM - you probably already have one - but make sure it’s as easy to use as possible! Nothing is worse than being slowed down by technology when you’re on a roll and ready to make a sale, so ensure your CRM is simple and slick.
- Teamwork platform - there’s plenty to choose from, but a platform allowing you to track the progress of each team member, where they can continually update their status, and reach out for help if needed can do wonders for team communication and morale. This not only improves efficiency, but also enables you see at a glance how your team are faring and areas to celebrate and focus on.
- Lead Forensics - I can’t help but bring up our B2B lead generation software! Lead Forensics allows salespeople to identify prospects visiting their website and providing contact details for key decision makers; you can have your perfect sales lead on the phone seconds after their visit. And with a breakdown of the time they spent on your site, you can have an impactful, tailored approach at the ready. Our software increases cold calling success from 2%-40%, so why not book your free demo?
5) Train your team thoroughly
A world class sales team needs a strong and sturdy foundation, without which (like any structure) it will be likely to fall and break. This foundation is built in the training of your team, so get them all together and do it properly. It’s not just a matter of doing a few role-plays and call shadowing (though these are important); it needs to go deeper. Instill a sense of passion and ownership in your sales team, whereby they actively read about the sales process, they’re on top of current affairs and they’re like a sponge, always absorbing information that can help them learn. Encourage them to present weekly for 5-10 minutes, about something they read that week that inspired them, or taught them something new. Essentially - the training doesn’t stop - it’s ongoing; you start it, but they as a team choose to continue it, so they can grow their skill and ultimately, their career.
6) Set the right targets
There’s no point turning to your team and saying “We want to be world class, so everyone needs to close £25,000 this month”. This won’t do anything for the performance of your team. Spend time analyzing your team’s performance against external factors, as well as internal and produce targets that are both achievable and reflective of what you know. If July is always your worst month, then don’t have the same target as you do for your best month - this just makes your team switch off; they don’t see the point of aiming for an unachievable goal. (It may yet be achievable, but put yourself in their mind-set!). Give them targets they can put an actionable plan to, add a sprinkle of motivation, and they’ll feel ready to take the bull by the horns and go above and beyond to hit that target.
7) Sort your KPIs
Though revenue targets are important, and what a majority of sales teams use as their performance measurement, this isn’t the only important factor. There are many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can measure in sales, so choose them carefully to reflect deeper detail about your team. Read this blog for some more information, but with KPIs remember - keep them quantitative, keep them relevant and measure them properly!
This seems like another obvious one, but we’re often scared to communicate too often, at the fear of seeming like a pushy manager. This is not the case! To manage an excellent team, you need to communicate often and always keep the door open. Send daily catch up emails, have AM and PM huddles, weekly 1-2-1s, monthly team roundups - whatever you need. This does several things, it keeps transparency in the group - everyone knows where they stand, all the time. It’s motivating, nothing gets you more pumped in the morning than some team spirit, and it shows that you care. Your team will want to do you proud and bring you the results you need, if you show them that you want to invest time in their career, and that you have a genuine desire to see them reach success.
9) Be a team
This is crucial. You want to be a world class team? The clue is in the title. Friendly competition gets the blood pumping, but you need to be working as a unit, towards an overall, common goal. Put time aside to bond, in work and out of work, get everyone on the same page. Some people don’t find teamwork comes naturally to them, so help them see how easy it can be. Try setting up a reward system that can only be utilized if the team reach target, celebrate team players and selfless acts and always keep a forum open to share. Whether in person or online, find a platform that allows everyone to pitch in thoughts and feelings, where there is no negative behavior. This returns to communication - its key to a happy team. And happy teams, make more sales!
10) Grow together
Now you’re ready to set up that world class team - you need to maintain it to see real success. All these targets, KPIs and bonding sessions lead towards one thing - growing and improving together. In a good team, no one gets left behind, so share every painful phone call and discuss how you all can improve, celebrate every success and let everyone know how it was achieved. Though you won’t want to share all the details, make sure that everyone has their feet firmly on the ground - a great sale made, is made for the team, not just for the individual. A world class team becomes world class together, and remains that way as a unit. Of course, changes will happen - they always do, and nothing remains a constant forever. However, it harks back to those foundations - build a world class team from the bottom up, and employ the right people - you’ll see a sales team with longevity in their achievements.
B2B sales is no easy profession, and managing those in that profession is indeed no easy feat! But nothing feels better than leading that team to victory, and seeing them reap the rewards they deserve.
Don’t forget to discover how Lead Forensics can revolutionize your B2B sales process! Our clients made over $1 billion in revenue last year- you can do it too. Book your free demo today and get started.
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