Building a sales team from the ground up is a difficult task.
As a startup, you must carefully balance the requirement for sales with the necessity for resources to be conserved. When you combine it with the fact that most firms lack standardized hiring and onboarding strategies, things quickly become problematic.
Today, we’ll go through the steps you should take to develop a sales team that generates money for your firm without sacrificing culture or performance. But first, let’s talk about how to determine whether your firm is ready to hire dedicated salespeople.
When Should You Start Putting Together Your Sales Team?
A sales crew is not required in the early stages of establishing a business. After all, you’re most likely making sales on your own or with the assistance of a few independent salespeople. Even if you are aware that this is a temporary solution, it can be challenging to determine when your firm has expanded sufficiently to merit hiring a sales crew.
Some clear signals that you’re ready to take the plunge are as follows:
- Consistently good comments from present and prospective customers
- An increase in the demand for your goods or service
- Having more leads than your present staff is capable of handling
- Earning enough money to hire a full-time sales representative or two
If this sounds similar, you may be ready to grow your workforce. Here are some actions you can take to create a solid and efficient sales staff for your business.
Are you ready to grow your sales team? Start with These Steps
1. Get the Timing Right
When you’re a startup, cash flow is usually your biggest concern. This is why you have to be careful about when you start hiring new sales reps.
Here are some tips you can follow to time your team expansion properly:
Ramp up your sales before adding staff: A sales team is different from traditional marketing because it’s based on direct, one-on-one interactions. You must be able to find customers before you hire a sales team. That way, you can utilize your entire team to generate revenue. Plan for seasonal growth: Depending on your product, market, and customer acquisition strategy, your sales activity may spike at certain times of the year. For example, certain types of businesses experience their most significant growth in Q4, while others experience their highest sales volume in the summer months. Before adding any new sales reps, make sure you understand how these patterns affect your business.
Plan for transitory growth: If you’re in a highly seasonal industry, your sales activity may ebb and flow throughout the year. As a result, you’ll want to adjust your sales team to match your growth. For instance, if you’re a marketing agency during the year but a consulting firm during the summer, you’ll want to hire sales reps who can fill in during quiet months while your consultants transition to sales reps when demand increases.
2. Set Your Sales Strategy
Successful sales strategies are built on a foundation of goals, metrics, and stages. Your sales strategy should reflect how your business succeeds overall. It should also align with your company’s mission statement and more extensive set of goals. By aligning your sales goals with your overall mission, you can help ensure that your sales reps are better equipped to sell.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you set your sales strategy:
What is your ideal customer profile? Knowing your ideal customer’s demographics, psychographics, and behavior can help you create a sales strategy that’s more likely to connect with your customers.
Set expectations for your sales team: Just like every employee shouldn’t have the same job; every sales rep shouldn’t have the same sales process. You should align your sales strategy with your overall goals and expectations for your reps. Create a sales playbook: A sales playbook describes the ideal sales process for your business. You should outline the exact steps your sales reps should follow to sell your products or services.
Outline the ideal sales process: Your sales team should follow the same sales process from start to finish. This process should be well-defined and clear, with each step clearly outlined. If you outline this process in detail, it’ll be easy for your sales reps to repeat your sales process with every single customer.
3. Identify Qualities to Look for in Your Sales Reps
At this point, you’ve set your sales strategy so you know the type of sales reps you want to hire. That said, you can’t simply hire anyone and expect them to be successful. To hire the right sales reps for your business, you must know what you’re looking for.
Here are some qualities you should look for in your sales reps:
- Confidence without cockiness
- Accountability without rigidity
- Data-driven without being dependent on data
Knowing what to look for in your sales reps can help you get the most out of your team.
4. Hire Your Team
Now that you’ve set your strategy, it’s time to build your sales team. To find suitable candidates, you’ll need to post job listings and recruit some candidates to interview. You can also ask your current sales team members to recommend some candidates.
Here are some tips for making sure you hire the right people:
Write a clear job description: Your job description should be a one-page document that outlines the responsibilities of a new sales rep. It should help attract candidates who are a good fit for your company’s goals.
Screen candidates thoroughly: Your hiring process should include phone screenings, technical assessments, behavioral assessments, and in-person interviews. Make sure you know what you’re looking for before bringing anyone on.
Hire candidates who can be flexible and adaptable: No business works the same way, so hiring reps who you can mold to your specific business will give you the most ROI.
5. Set Goals for Your Sales Reps
Once you’ve established a solid process for building a sales team for your startup, you should focus on establishing clear goals for your sales reps.
Here are a few tips you can follow to solidify your sales team’s goals:
Build a team that has the right skills: When you’re building a sales team from scratch, the quality of your sales reps can have an outsized impact on your company’s revenue. By taking the time to hire the right people, you can ensure that your team is maximizing its revenue generation potential.
Set goals that focus on revenue, not just conversion rates: Sales reps who focus on revenue generation can generate more revenue for your startup, but they also tend to have more specific goals for their sales activity: revenue targets, making a certain number of calls per week, etc. Conversion rate-based goals, such as signing up a certain number of new customers per month, may not be as effective because they may not lead to revenue at all.
Set sales targets that are hard enough to be challenging but not impossible to achieve: You want to set goals that will challenge your sales reps while increasing your revenue. If your goals aren’t challenging, they aren’t likely to lead to the right kind of growth.
If you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, you can follow these steps to build a sales team for your business. By taking the time to set a strategy, identify the right qualities in your sales reps, and set clear goals for your team, you can build a sales team that generates more revenue for your startup.
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