Whether you are a startup which needs to build a sales team, or you already have a small team which needs to grow, there are several things you should be thinking about so you don’t fail. Or at least minimize the chances of it happening…
Are you sure you want to scale up?
First thing you should ask yourself is if that is the way to go! Of course, for your business to grow, every part of it should grow, including the sales team. But, before jumping in and hiring new sales reps, think about how things are working at the moment.
Is your sales team hitting its goals, as a whole, and per each rep? Is the business they get viable in the long-term, and gets you stable revenue?
Do you get enough sales leads from your marketing efforts?
Also, do your sales reps have enough room to work more sales leads, or are their efforts hitting a plateau?
Answering these questions will enable you to know are your salespeople profitable, and is scaling up your sales team a good move forward. But before doing it – do couple of other things first.
Is your organization ready for new sales?
You should prepare your organization for scaling up the sales team, and among the first things should be creating demand for your product or service. It’s not only about getting new leads; it’s also about creating a sense of need for your type of offer before your new sales reps start doing their work.
Also, other parts of your organization must be ready for the increased demand. If you sell more, you need to be able to produce more and ship it efficiently, as well as provide quality customer service to anybody having any type of issue. In the end, your billing must be able to support this increase in new sales.
When you think about it – it becomes clear that selling involves process and discipline, and these need to exist before scaling up. Otherwise, you’ll end up not only growing your sales efforts, but also any problems there were within the organization.
Take time & document the sales processes!
To ensure any scaling up effort go smooth, first you need to have proven sales processes setup. And not only that, they need to be well documented, so any new member of your sales team can use the documentation and be efficient in their role.
If you don’t believe us, learn from the best – during their early years Salesforce focused on building a repeatable sales process and only in their second year they achieved >400% sales growth! Research by Aberdeen Group gives away another benefit – using repeatable process can shorten the sales cycle up to 18%.
Documenting your sales process should start with analyzing several last deals, thinking about techniques that work always (or most of the time), pain points that your leads care about, content that helps decision makers choose your product or service, and any other insights into what works well for you.
Once you detect patterns that lead to the most successful deals, write them down. Don’t leave anything out – and make sure that nothing is implied. Your new sales reps, once you get the scale up ball rolling, need to be able to apply documented processes in a straightforward manner.
Of course, once everything is written down, it’s not set in stone. You should track and measure every part of each process, and introduce changes to improve them.
Make sure the whole team knows the process – and is able to personalize it
Also, each member of your sales team must know how each process works. All of them should be committed to it, and on the similar level in terms of their abilities and results they are achieving.
Talking to them about the defined process is a no brainer. And of course, if anyone of them is having trouble applying it – work with them a bit more to ensure they understand how the process works.
They will surely respond better to the written down processes if it’s done in a clear, simple and to the point way. If you can’t say it in a couple of bullet points (or 10-15 seconds), think again how to make it simpler and clearer. In that way, you won’t leave any room for misunderstandings.
You should also leave a bit of room for them to give their personal touch to the different parts of the process. Enabling them to make the process their own will make them do better, and increase their satisfaction.
And once they are on their own with the process, they will help improve it. Be open to their feedback, try new and different things, measure the effects, as we already said, and implement what makes sense.
This will not only make them more satisfied, but also bring better results – CSO Insights research shows that in organizations with “dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes” on average 10% more sales reps meet their quota.
Reward achievements – establish sales excellence
Once you’ve setup the proper process, and the results are showing it works, you are ready to expand your team. Current members can help the new guys and girls, but the already proven and clearly documented process will be their go to guide.
To make sure both old and new sales reps are adhering to the process, you could try forcing them by penalty threats for not achieving results, or following the most important steps. But in the long run this approach will backfire.
It’s much better to establish a sales excellence system. Reward them for achieving fantastic results. And make sure that there is a separate reward that recognizes the achievements of new sales reps, who are trying the hardest although are not still on the same level as the “old guys”.
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Now that your team is growing, as well as your revenue, it’s time to continue rethinking your process and trying to optimize how your sales reps spend their time. Maybe start with prospecting and figuring out how to provide them with verified sales leads.