Building a Sales team from the ground up is not easy to do. If you’re a start-up, then you need to balance your need to attract and retain business with the resources that you have on hand. When you factor in a hiring process that, for new companies, can often be rudimentary, then you have quite a challenge on your hands.
With the UK’s unemployment rate hitting record lows, the market is overwhelmingly candidate driven, so you need to offer something special if you want to engage your salesforce and hire sales people who can really make a difference to your blossoming department. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to do this: from putting a strong recruitment process in place to setting unified goals for your new team to follow, you’ll soon be closing deals and hitting targets like seasoned professionals.
Here’s how to build a sales team from scratch.
Create unified goals
71% of sales professionals say that closing deals is their top aim, so channel that ambition and enthusiasm into results that benefit your company, by setting out what you expect from them. Take stock of your business objectives and create some unified goals for your new team that will help you grow and develop in a way that benefits the company; by communicating these targets from the start, you’ll give your team something to measure themselves against, as well as a sense of purpose. More importantly, you’ll ensure that there are no mistakes or miscommunications in the way that you operate, right from day one.
Create working standards from the outset
One of the best ways to ensure that your team hits the ground running when you build a sales team from scratch is to create a set of sales standards that will lay the groundwork for all the work you do in the future. Don’t let people develop their own ideas of how they should work within your team: 21% of sales teams say that a lack of insight into the sales process creates ineffective internal processes, so it’s something that you should definitely be taking into consideration.
Whether it’s by creating a set of processes for your sales reps to follow, or developing a standard sales cycle that can be applied to all new leads, sit down with management and come up with some rules and guidelines for your team that will inform how they go about doing business with your clients and suppliers. After all, the faster they know what’s expected of them, the faster you can get down to closing deals in a way that reflects your organisation’s aims and values.
Take small steps
Though it might be tempting to start hiring for your new team almost immediately, hold back a little. You need to make sure that the people you hire are right for the business, so take things slowly and only recruit a few people at a time. When you build a sales team from scratch, hiring at scale could prove a disaster, so take it slow and build up your numbers as your confidence, and sales, grow.
Find your second in command
Every great leader needs a great second in command: after all, 69% of sales people who exceed their annual quota rate their sales manager as excellent, or above average. If you’re indisposed, you need somebody equally capable to step up and manage the team where you can’t. Hire somebody with experience, who can develop quickly into their new role and somebody with whom you can build a strong relationship, the better to provide seamless leadership to your sales reps.
Recruit for different levels
Don’t assume that recruiting directly from your competitors will help you build a strong team: though you want experienced sales people, you also need to cultivate a talent pipeline that will stand you in good stead for the future. Given that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, you need to work on attracting and engaging these hungry new sales people to your company. By creating a mix of new and experienced sales people, you’ll create an atmosphere where new starters will rapidly be able to learn from their peers, upskill and use their digital savvy to come up with new ways of cultivating leads.
Expect fall out
Sales people are inherently ambitious, so don’t be surprised if some of them will choose not to stay with you: whether it’s because of better opportunities elsewhere or finding out that the role isn’t the right fit for them, you will always have a certain level of staff turnover when you build a sales team from scratch. Don’t be disheartened, but do take heed and have a contingency plan in place. In an industry where top candidates only stay available for 10 days before being taken off the market, you need to be constantly on the look-out for talented candidates to meet, stay in touch with, and ultimately recruit.
According to Salesforce, 76% of sales teams have shifted their focus within the last few years to focus on being more proactive in the way they sell and keep up with the evolving market. To avoid being caught out or left behind, you need to do the same and keep on top of your sales processes. Regularly conduct reviews to find out what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your goals, processes and expectations accordingly. By constantly assessing and adapting- as well as conducting feedback and one-to-one sessions with your team- you’ll be better able to prepare for the future, whatever it may bring.
Get a sales training partner
Sales training is incredibly important to a lot of sales people- as it should be. After all, the best sales training will improve the performance of an individual by an average of 20%: that’s a lot more deals closed and targets hit. However, good training can also prove time consuming, especially when you’re also trying to get your new sales team off the ground. To solve this, take the time to source and engage with a good sales training partner: it’ll ensure your team get the attention they need to develop and improve, whilst also letting you focus on your sales strategy.
Get some recruitment help
We work within a candidate-driven market, where it can often be hard to source the people you need. To make this easier, why not turn to the experts? Develop partnerships with some recruitment specialists who work within your field, the better to source candidates quickly and easily, should you need them.
Plan for the future with BMS Performance
Are you looking to build a sales team from scratch? We can help. Contact our experts directly, or delve into our sales insights with more blogs on how to improve your bottom line in our Performance Hub.
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