The emphasis of this article is on the word Team. In my book, a great sales team is more than just a group of great sales professionals who are employed by the same company. A great sales team works together to sell more and sell faster.
They take advantage of each other’s strengths, care less about who gets the credit and care more about making the customer happy and closing the sale. This type of selling is critical when dealing with complex products or services or selling large national or international accounts.
Here are five steps that will help you build a team that can help you close the big deals.
- Know the job – Before you can build a great team, you need to have a plan. Design your ideal sales process and think through how your team should work together. Some companies train different sales people in unique specialties so they can be the ‘expert’ when one is needed.
Some focus on accounts and have one rep who is the leader for that account and coordinates all major sales. It is always amazing to me when I come into a new account to find out how little the sales people work together.
You might have three reps selling to divisions of the same company in different cities and none of them know it. Imagine if they were communicating and comparing notes. What if they actually coordinated their efforts? If you define the sales strategy with the team in mind, the rest is much easier.
- Hire the right people – Now that you know what you want them to do, hire the right people to do it. While few of us get a clean slate to work with, we all have the opportunity to add a few people to the team over time. A tool like the Predictive Index (PI) will help you isolate those candidates who are motivated to work together and weed out the lone wolves who will fight your efforts.
- Train them well – Team selling requires skills that many sales people lack. Not only will they need to be knowledgeable about their offerings and proficient in sales skills, but they must know how to work as a team. The great news is that team training can be integrated into your product and sales skills training. If your reps learn to work as a team in everything they do, they will function that way in the field.
- Motivate and compensate them properly – I like to say that you should be able to look at the pay plan and know what you want people to do. That said, make sure that your plan rewards team work and not just individual effort. Show your reps why it is worth their while to take the time to spend the effort to work together.
- Bring them together – We know from experience that teams form best when they meet face to face. While it may be expensive, find opportunities to bring people together so they can bond as a team. It is amazing how much more team selling occurs after we bring a sales organization together for a few days.
While I know the training is part of it, I can hear them learning about each other and learning to trust one another. This is what it takes to make the team effort a success.
Good luck building your team. Remember, they will look to you to tell them how to function. If you support a team approach, they will too.
By Daniel Blare