Developing Prospects. Driving Revenue

The First Friday ReportTM

Building a Sales Team Takes More Than You Think

Posted by Dan McDade

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Aug 2, 2013 10:56:00 AM

Experience, Training and Pay are Only Half the Story 

Building a successful sales force is not as straightforward as many believe. Most sales executives will tell you it involves three fundamental steps: Hire the best-qualified candidates; train them; and compensate for results.

Any organization can follow this step-by-step course of action—but it’s not all that’s necessary. There are in actuality three additional steps that more savvy sales leaders know make the difference between a mediocre sales team, and one that consistently generates the deals needed to achieve revenue goals.

These three often-overlooked elements are critical to optimizing sales performance:

1. Deploying Sales Resources

2. Monitoring & Managing How Reps Spend Their Time

3. Coaching & Counseling

Let’s take a closer look:

Six Steps Toward Building a Successful Sales Force

Deploying sales resources:

Should the sales team be deployed by geographical territories? By vertical? This is how most organizations manage deployment—in large part because it’s easy. It makes more sense to apply critical thinking to assure the best salesperson is in front of the best prospect at the best time.

The most successful sales managers ask themselves: “Who has special knowledge of this prospect’s business?” “Who has a connection to that prospect’s CEO?” and “Who has the track record that can increase the likelihood of closing our largest deal this year?” These are the same sales managers who consistently meet their numbers.

Monitoring and managing how reps spend their time:

Not all prospects are created equal. That’s why it’s vital that team members prioritize the best opportunities—both near- and long-term. Sales managers need to provide guidance to their reps to be sure prospects continually move through the funnel—and that the pipeline contains the right mix of deal size and decision cycles.

In addition, managers need to be sure their reps are assigned a realistic number of accounts to work. This assures they’re effectively working their deals, they’re not spread too thin—and that a good prospect doesn’t fall through the cracks.

Coaching and counseling:

What’s the difference between these two functions? Coaching involves a sales manager working with a rep who’s capable of doing the job, but has knowledge gaps. Counseling on the other hand is what sales managers need to do with team members who have the knowledge to do the job, but aren’t getting it done.

Coaching is time consuming and needs to be managed long-term. It’s a necessary process to help sales reps reach their full potential. Counseling on the other hand is a more finite process. If it works, great. If not, it’s time to find someone else. Sales managers need to approach counseling from the bottom up (working with the lowest-performers) to improve overall sales team success.

Laying the foundation—hiring, training and compensating—is fundamental to building a sales team. But it’s also vitally important to incorporate deployment, monitoring & managing, and coaching & counseling to keep performance levels high.

Download The Truth About Sales

If you want to better understand and manage the entire spectrum of sales management functions—from the most basic to the more difficult—and significantly impact the outcome of your revenue generation efforts, download this month’s First Friday special, The Truth About Sales. This excerpted chapter from the book The Truth About Leads by Dan McDade is newly available to friends of PointClear.

PointClear is a prospect development company. Founded in 1997, the Atlanta-based company helps B2B companies fill their sales forecasts with qualified opportunities. PointClear closes the gap between marketing and sales—nurturing leads, engaging contacts and developing prospects until they’re ready to close.

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Topics: Sales Process, Sales Training