If you run a manufacturing, distribution, or another type of wholesale business, you may have started by doing all the sales tasks yourself as you built up your venture.
As time goes on, though, it becomes apparent that one person can’t do it all, and you may be in a situation right now where you need to build a sales team to help your business grow further and give you back some time for yourself.
This growth can be tricky, though, so read on for some tips to help you tackle this next stage for your organization.
Determine Essential Skills
To start with, work out which skills you believe are the most important for success in the sales roles and hire for that. Of course, you’ll want to employ people with plenty of sales experience or at least ability. Your team needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively via different methods, such as face-to-face, over the phone, by email, and potentially over Zoom or other conference calls, too.
Salespeople need to organize their time effectively and stay in touch with customers. They require decent administration skills and must be able to remember details about products in order to explain them effectively to clients. Different leaders will have different traits that they prioritize depending on the type of sales team they want and what they sell. However, no matter your wares, ensure that your interview process involves asking candidates questions that help you to determine if they possess the skills you see as most vital.
Hire for Personality and Mindset Too
In addition, you’ll want to think about what types of “soft skills” your sales team needs to achieve goals. For instance, salespeople need to be confident, resilient, and persistent to keep going if they receive lots of nos. You’ll likely want them to be ambitious and driven, too, and perhaps coachable so you can train them in the way you prefer.
You may also want your sales team members to be empathetic and understanding and have an interest in human psychology. These skills will enable them to understand customers better. In turn, they’ll get an idea of what consumers may or may not want to hear about when items are being recommended to them, and they’ll see better which types of sales strategies to employ for different situations.
Hiring for personality and mindset is just as important, if not more crucial, than finding people with sales skills and experience. You can train people in the latter, but the right former aspects are much harder to change.
Set Yourself a Budget
Another tip is to ensure you set yourself a budget before you start the hiring process. Know what you can afford to spend on a sales team annually, and then break this down to determine how many people you can feasibly bring on board. You might like to use some tech tools to help you with your spend management planning.
Also, remember that it’s possible to hire sales workers on a commission-only basis, meaning that they only make money if they make a sale. This is a way to expand your team without having to have a lot of cash flow free to pay them a salary. You’ll likely need to offer a good commission rate, though, to attract interest from quality candidates.
Set Clear Expectations for Your New Team Members
Always set clear expectations for your new team members so they know their priorities right from the start of their employment. You may want to consider your overall sales goals and then break these down per quarter and month to come up with targets for your employees to work towards.
It’s wise to give some examples to your team so they truly understand what quality jobs and results look like to you, too. Giving a frame of reference for success can help avoid misunderstandings and will often motivate people to achieve more, too. If you have particular ways of doing things, you might like to have your new sales staff watch you work. They might listen to some of your sales calls or take turns going with you on in-person sales calls.
Other ways you can create a successful sales team are to give feedback regularly and invest in training each year so people continually learn. Monitor performance and other data closely and provide reps with tools to assist them in their roles, such as handheld smart devices to place orders or check stock, and the like. It’s also beneficial to create processes and standards for people to follow to ensure consistency.
You can take many steps to build a sales team that gets results. Follow the tips above to help you create yours in the coming year.