Building High Performing Sales Teams at Scale
In this section, I am sharing my experience and my journey of building sales teams. I talk about hiring, coaching, and motivating sales teams. What is working and what is not working and the best practices on how to motivate and coach field sales teams.
Hiring Sales Teams
Hiring sales reps is one of the most important decisions you make in your startup. Hiring good reps can help you scale at the speed of light and the bad hires make you miserable as you may think it is you, your business model, lack of product features, or even competition that beat you up. Especially if you are hiring your first sales rep, things can become very ugly quickly.
The first tip is to understand how the sales team can plug into your business model and sales process. You need to, as always start with your customers. Who are your ideal customers in B2B space and what are their roles and buyer personas? Whom they like to talk to, where they hang around and what life choices they can potentially make. Also, what is the nature of your sales process as is it transactional commodity sales or more complex enterprise consultative engagement?
Once you document all this info, all you have to do is to find sales reps that have done this before successfully!
Also, the deal size is very important. Deal sizes of $10k or $20k are very different from deal sizes of $200k to $500k and also deal sizes of $5M to $20M. The sales reps for each bucket have different treats and characters.
Do you think you need hunters or farmers?
Do you need people to do end-to-end sales, meaning they generate their own leads, or do you provide leads for them?
Do you need your sales team to qualify the leads as well or do you build an SDR team to have the initial qualification with your prospects?
Also, what level of conversation do you expect the sales reps to hold? Do they need to talk to C-Level, small, mid-sized or enterprise space or just mid-management level?
All these variables will dictate the different treat and type of sales rep that you should look for.
Also, do you prefer to hire somebody that has the soft skills and know-how to sell to your target audience, or do you need more a technical person that knows the ins and outs of the solution from the technical side, and you will coach them through sales soft skills.
In addition, I get asked that can I hire commission-only sales reps?
My answer in 90% of situations is NO!
It is very rare to be able to find someone GREAT that is happy to work for you for free and then just rely on commission. The great sales reps have established good quality life expectations and standards and they can not rely ONLY on commission.
Unless you want to hire a newbie in a fast sales process selling a commodity, you could not find commission-only sales reps.
In addition to all of that, let's talk about qualities.
I normally look for qualities like coachability, competitiveness, smart and curious reps in the industry. These 4 qualities are the most important qualities that a rep can have and make them a great asset.
Your business may have different requirements, however, in a tech startup, the above qualities will fit in very well.
So there you have it.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or you want to hire great sales reps.
Coaching Sales Teams
The key to having a successful coaching approach is to be empathetic. Put yourself in your rep's shoes. We have been there. Sales is not an easy job. There are lots of variants that can make reps' jobs complicated. This can be competition, market trends, technology forces, and most importantly company and sales culture.
If you are not promoting the support culture and it is always about who is winning out there, you are pushing your sales team to go and win at any price.
If you are only compensating those who deliver, then you are promoting the culture of delivering results no matter what.
Remember, your sales team is in front of your customers all the time. What kind of image do you want to represent to your customers?
The key to coaching is to think about yourself and see how you want your customers to see you.
And the coach your team to promote those qualities.
Motivating Sales Teams
The key to motivation is to understand what drives your rep and try to give them reassurance that they can achieve them if they do their job well.
Some reps are motivated by money, attention, career growth, expensive lifestyle, sense of impact, or achievement. You need to know which rep is motivated by what and map their result to what is important for them.
This is very important because if you cannot motivate your team, they either do not deliver or they stay and underperform.