How do you develop a high performing sales team?

by Patrick Thorp - November 17, 2020

A team can achieve more than an individual. Perhaps too obvious a statement, but it is worth reinforcing because the greatest sales organizations have not only hired the right people, but they have retained them within an environment that encourages risk-taking, rewards performance and is a safe place to not be afraid to fail. So how do you foster this? I feel you can break it down into 5 areas (in no particular order):

  1. Focus on the individual: every person is different and might be at different stages of their career. Some may be fresh out of school or college and it is their first entry-level sales role, or, you may have seasoned AEs joining with 5+ years of experience under their belt. Either way, it is working with that individual directly, understanding what motivates them, and making the link between activity levels going up leads to results going up, meaning rewards go up. Understanding what motivates them, what they are working towards, will reveal this.
  2. Have an effective onboarding process: now, more than ever, a well thought out and detailed onboarding process for new recruits in a remote environment can be the difference between “up for the challenge” and “I’m going to look elsewhere”. This isn’t just the first week, but the first few months working with the individuals until they get to their full pipe, or time to get a second deal.
  3. Incentive plans: this isn’t simply what the base commission scheme is (although very important) it is also considering Named Accounts, Territory Splits, Industry splits (if relevant), Accelerators, Referral incentives and other ways of rewarding salespeople for bringing in new business.
  4. Well defined hiring criteria: so many businesses will clamour that they have a great sales culture and ask for gurus/rockstars/jedis to join their business (don’t ever use these terms in your job adverts by the way) but you have to hire against that criteria. You don’t have to have all the finished articles in the right seats. That is the beauty of sales. You can take an individual who initially isn’t as competent but very quickly grows, matures and develops into a top performer and that is the person you want on your team.
  5. Coaching and mentoring: as a leader, this may sound simplistic but ongoing coaching and mentoring i.e. listening back to reps calls, being involved in strategic discussions they may be nervous about, offering advice on an ongoing business to nurture this talent is not only empowering for the individual because they can see results coming as a result of this mentorship but it sets your team up for success by having extremely strong foundations on which to hire more great talent!

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