Building your ideal sales team is difficult. As sales leaders, you already know you’re in the business of people. Your customer—and their behavior—is the driving factor behind the business and the decisions you make to drive that business forward. You have the people, you know the process, and have likely already implemented call coaching platforms or conversational intelligence software to help you measure the two other components previously mentioned.
However, it’s equally important to look inward and ask yourself: Are my people happy? Because at the end of the day, your internal team is responsible for driving new business (and your success as a sales leader).
Building your ideal sales team is no simple task —but it can be done. The leading companies in the world, growing at the rates necessary for unicorn status have cracked the code of repeatable sales motions. Here are the three steps for making it happen:
1. The Hiring Process
Hiring is unpredictable, and study after study has shown the chances of success in hiring the right person are about as high as trying to hit a balloon, with a dart, from 30 feet away, blindfolded. Get it right, however, and you’ll build a team of individuals who challenge each other and organically build on one another’s strengths. Sure, it’s important to define a profile of required knowledge and skill competencies.
But it’s just as important to figure out your team culture, including your overall sales process, and technologies like call intelligence platforms to support that process. *Pro-tip – do not let previous (or lack thereof) software sales experience deter you from someone.
What is your personal managerial style? Are you looking for your potential replacement as the team scales in size? What is the persona of your buyer? Is there a need to align the personality profiles of sellers to buyers? Are there specific skills required to sell your product? How do your vendors prefer to be sold? Jason Lemkin’s The 48 Types of VP Sales provides some great guidance on how to hire sales leaders, but the same principles apply to sales representatives.
Write a concise, attractive job description, utilize your (and your colleagues’) network, and run ads in the right places and before you know it, your candidate pipeline will be solid!
2. The Interview Process
You’ve sifted through the resumes and referrals and discovered prospective reps you want to pursue. Now it’s time to bring them in for an interview. *Pro-tip – do not wait! In this competitive market, offers are extended quickly, and delaying the initial interview for top talent could end with you losing that candidate.
Even if you’ve interviewed candidates before, it’s important to brush up on your interview skills, because trust us—many managers do things wrong in the interview process. There are a lot of sales leaders out there that will say they take interviews, just to get the at-bats.
Hire character, train skill
I often like to quote Peter Schultz, “Hire character. Train skill.” Are you looking for the right person or the right skills listed on a resume? Here at ABSTRAKT, we look for the first. The skills can be taught, the person is who they are.
If you’re calling in somebody for a formal interview, it’s a given that the candidate fits your requirements on paper, and as a bonus has established a brand for themselves on platforms like LinkedIn (if that is where your target buyer is).
Your primary goal now is not to exclusively test the candidate’s knowledge, but also his or her overall character. Look for reps who demonstrate a few key things like coachability, intrinsic curiosity, and practice extreme ownership. The first one, coachability is key when trying to make sure they will be able to adapt to your organization’s way of overcoming sales objections, and easily adapt to the tech stack you have already implemented.
Sales isn’t for everyone
A game much like baseball where you fail more often than you succeed. Intrinsic motivation is key, and understanding why reps want to be successful is just as important as understanding how they will be successful.
You might lose candidates early due to competitive offers, you might lose them in the negotiation of the offer phase of trying to hire them. Do not get discouraged as this is really no different than selling a prospect. You are going to win some, you are going to lose some. All part of the game.
Congratulations! You’ve found your dream sales representative candidates!
Unfortunately, your work has just begun. Onboarding is arguably the most important process in a new employee’s career at your company, as it sets expectations and gives him or her tools to succeed. Introducing them to the leading-edge technology, like ABSTRAKT Software, that you are deploying your team will only serve to keep them more excited as they pick up speed and increase their knowledge.
If your sales representative is assigned to maybe a specific territory, or a book of business, make sure they are given all the legacy knowledge about their “patch” so they know what they are working with. Conversational Intelligence software and call intelligence platforms like ABSTRAKT provide reps access to the best talk tracks and objection handling techniques specific to their role, setting them up for quota crushing success.