Creating the perfect sales team.
Even the most mundane of products and services can be given an enormous lift by the right sales team. Whatever your product, you can’t rely on word of mouth and existing business, especially not in the current climate where both commercial and consumer spend is not where it was. Good advertising and marketing are crucial in this battle, but your selling methods are of equal importance and should be carefully considered and maintained, as they are pivotal to your business.
If you are building your team from scratch, you will need to follow a recruitment programme which may involve agency help, recruitment advertising and recruitment from within. Bear in mind that if you transfer your team from elsewhere in your organisation they may need sales training but should have a comprehensive knowledge of your business and the product they will be selling, whereas recruiting externally should mean you employ crack sales staff who will need full product training.
When recruiting, you need to look for:
• Confidence and enthusiasm
• Self motivation and a real desire to earn
• Listening skills
• A competitive streak
• The ability to cope with rejection without being demotivated
Sales people are the force who bring in new customers, but they are also in many cases the front line in customer service, so they need to be bright and personable, as they will reflect most heavily on the image of your business, and build the relationships which will help your business to thrive and prosper.
The role needs to be clearly defined and a job description including full targets and expectations will get the best from your team. Remember that in any sales team you will, and should (!) find some very strong personalities, which can give rise to conflict, so certain policies are important to ensure the smooth running of the team under good management.
Your team and management will need clear benchmarks of performance, in terms of both activity and productivity. This may mean targeted sales, call rates or duration, or revenues, and these should be both transparent to you and the team, and easy to measure. This will enable you to pick up on any problems early, reward high performance and implement any extra training where it becomes necessary. It will also flag up questions like rates, if your sales team are selling the products you particularly wish to market, and what your margins are on the products they do sell.
One of the main issues for any salesperson is salary package. Of course it is a tough job, and needs remuneration to reflect this. Make sure that the set package is understood properly by new sales people as this can be one of the leading causes of dissatisfaction and therefore high staff turnover, so make it clear and do not move the goal posts once they have been set. At the same time, remember the efficacy of spot incentives, achievement awards and individual methods, as not all sales people are solely motivated by cash. Some enjoy recognition and praise, and this can go a long way towards motivating a good team. Once you have a good team in place, it will take maintenance, so listen to feed back from the people who sell your business, and make sure you value them for the work that they do as well pushing performance, and you should have a sales force to be reckoned with, and a growth to be proud of.
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