How To Build High-Performance Sales Teams – The Ultimate Guide

How To Build High-Performance Sales Teams – The Ultimate Guide

High-performance sales teams don’t happen by chance. They’re developed over time by dedicated sales managers. Those who understand that if you want to see results, you must take your team to the next level. That’s because they take the focus off learning new sales techniques. Instead, they hone in on accountability, goal-setting, and time-management techniques. Ready to build a high-performance sales team? Keep reading and put in place the following 5 strategies.

1. Become a sales coach

Your sales team is looking to you for guidance, direction, and coaching. However, there is one thing you absolutely must do to become a great sales coach for your team. Become a visionary. What is your vision for the department or organization? What are your objectives regarding the sales volume, sales revenue, profitability, return-on-investment, market penetration, and market share? Be specific—set deadlines.

Share your vision with your sales team and encourage them to contribute to take ownership of the organizational vision. As a great sales coach, you focus on the “what” (vision and objectives) and leave the “how” (tactics and implementation) to your sales team. Great sales coaches are great team supporters providing their teams with the resources necessary to realize the vision. Coaching your sales team also includes rewarding them for achieving the objectives and helping them come up with solutions to their challenges. Your sales team performance should always be measured against clearly defined (and clearly understood) objectives.

2. Improve compensation plans | How To Build High-Performance Sales Teams

As a great sales coach, you must provide your sales team with the resources necessary to realize the organizational vision and objectives. This includes financial resources. Is it possible your compensation plans could be uninspiring for your sales team without you even knowing it? When it comes to establishing compensation plans, most organizations look at either fixed salary, commission, or combination plans. That seems easy enough (or does it?), but how do you determine what compensation plan would truly inspire your sales team?

Sometimes it helps to differentiate between existing accounts and new accounts. It’s important to compare the value of each sale dollar produced from existing accounts to new accounts. You could also look at the effort needed to maintain existing customers versus acquiring new customers. Do your existing accounts essentially take care of themselves, or are they high maintenance? If your sales team must continue expanding its effort to maintain accounts, their compensation must be commensurate with their effort.

3. Recruit and retain the best talent

Great sales coaches must also become great human resources managers to recruit and retain the best talent. In recruitment, it’s important to create a list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) candidates must possess and those that are desirable. Something else to keep in mind when recruiting the best talent is the difference between aptitude and attitude. Aptitude refers to competency components, which, while essential, can be increased through proper orientation and training. On the other hand, an attitude refers to a person’s beliefs, values, and work ethic, which are unlikely to change. When in doubt, hire attitude and train aptitude.

How to recruit the best talent

4. Assess productivity and profitability | How To Build High-Performance Sales Teams

The purpose of measuring performance is to clarify the profitability of the sales volume brought in by each sales team member. With that seemingly attainable outcome in mind, why do companies struggle with assessing sales force productivity? They sometimes find measuring sales performance challenging because they have failed to incorporate quantitative and qualitative criteria. Quantitative criteria include sales volume in dollars or units, growth over previous years, new accounts, and profitability.

Understanding productivity and profitability criteria

Qualitative criteria include attitude, product knowledge, communication skills, personal appearance, customer feedback, selling skills, and personal initiative. When assessing your sales team’s productivity and profitability, be sure to differentiate between aptitude and attitude. When in doubt, train a poor aptitude and fire a bad attitude.

Ultimately, your sales team must be assessed according to clearly defined (and clearly understood) objectives. As a great sales coach, it is your responsibility to communicate your objectives regarding the sales volume, sales revenue, profitability, return-on-investment, market penetration, and market share. Be specific—set deadlines. Then, coach your sales team by rewarding them for achieving the objectives and helping them develop solutions to improve the results from their activities.

5. Automate your sales force

Salesforce automation (SFA) is typically part of a company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system and uses software to help automate some of the sales’ business tasks. These include order processing, contact management, information sharing, inventory monitoring and control, order tracking, customer management, sales lead tracking, sales forecast analysis, and employee performance evaluation. One of the benefits of SFA is being able to track the productivity of your sales force automatically, such as revenue per salesperson, number of calls per day, time spent per contact, revenue per call, cost per call, the ratio of orders to calls, number of new customers per period, number of lost customers per period, and number of customer complaints.

How to leverage automation

The key to making SFA work is to encourage its use, not just within your sales department but among all departments that deal with customers. Demonstrate how these systems help improve interdepartmental communication, which benefits the customer by delivering the best quality service. People often use the terms SFA and CRM synonymously, but there’s an important distinction. CRM does not necessarily mean the sales tasks are truly automated. Be sure to do your research, try an online demo and/or use a trial version before deciding on the best tool for you to automate your sales force.

7 characteristics of high-performance sales teams

Regardless of whether you’re aspiring to build a high-performance sales team that exceeds results, or you just want to see if your team checks all the boxes- you’re in the right place. Read on below to discover the 7 characteristics all high-performance sales teams have:

1. Lifelong learners

High-performance sales professionals thrive on discovering new knowledge and using it to transform their customer’s lives for the better. Such individuals understand that being a lifelong learner is the defining factor that will separate you from everybody else, making them substantial assets to the company. What’s more, they increase sales and the mutual morale of the team – a challenge many sales managers struggle to maintain.

2. Strong sense of purpose

High-performance sales teams work in synergy. They agree on a shared vision and have delegated roles and responsibilities to achieve it as soon as possible. In fact, studies show that people are more willing to work harder and longer when they share a common goal with their coworkers, which is why as its leader, it’s crucial that you share its mission and how your team plays an integral part in reaching it.

3. Trust & mutual respect

When a team is supportive of each other and works towards team goals and not just individual goals, everybody’s job gets easier. The team starts to collaborate, they share best practices, and everyone helps everyone get better. For example, high-performance sales teams understand that it’s not enough to set a goal and demand it be instantly met. Instead, they check in with sales reps to see how they’re doing and to find out if something is holding them back or getting in their way.

4. Effective communication

The most significant hallmark of high-performance sales teams is that they understand that we cannot control what goes on outside our businesses, but we can (and must!) control what goes on inside them. That’s why these sales professionals can give and take criticism without offence, which means that ultimately, no one is afraid to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

5. Shared accountability & leadership

Each sales professional on the team accepts they have a shared role and responsibility for the team’s overall performance and results. As a result, expectations are already high, but that doesn’t mean a high-performance sales team is limited to the competency of individuals. Instead, they foster a spirit of collaboration to achieve shared gain. Leaders of high-performance sales teams possess an objective perspective and can skillfully balance foresight, performance, and character. In particular, they break the mould of a traditional sales leader by being emotionally intelligent. They understand how to recognise emotions and how they affect others and can use this to fuel motivation or morale.

6. Adaptability

Us salespeople wear many hats; whether it’s calling prospects, administrative work, presenting, replying to emails or handling objections, we’re always on our toes. No surprise that high-performance sales teams do it with ease; in fact, they know how to utilise every single minute of their time effectively. They’re incredibly decisive when it comes to spending time on prospects that aren’t likely to convert. That’s why they only focus on identifying high-value opportunities and cultivating high-quality leads.

7. Differences are leveraged

Differences are exciting opportunities to formulate different strategies, educate reps, and promote critical thinking; however, they must be managed. 74% of leading companies have said that regular coaching is crucial for their sales team to perform consistently. That’s why high-performance sales teams have excellent sales coaching methodologies in place. Usually, leaders will coach sales reps by:

  • Review a call session to understand what went wrong and develop areas where the sales rep can improve. 
  • Conducting weekly meetings on areas sales reps are less confident in and discussing strategies to boost their confidence.
  • Joining sales reps in their day-to-day sales activities for mentoring.

5 strategies for building a high-performance sales team

I encourage sales managers to implement the following five strategies:

  1. Becoming a sales coach which means sharing your vision with your sales team and encouraging them to contribute to the organizational vision.
  2. Improving compensation plans by differentiating between existing accounts and new accounts.
  3. Recruiting and retaining the best talent and keeping in mind the difference between aptitude and attitude.
  4. Assessing productivity and profitability by incorporating quantitative and qualitative criteria.
  5. Automating your sales force and encouraging the use of SFA and CRM among all departments that deal with customers.

How To Build High Performance Sales Teams

Attitude and mindset go a long way when building a high-performing team. When the attitude and potential are there… but the results aren’t YET… train them, teach them, mentor them. If the right attitude isn’t there… you know what to do…

On any team you’re always going to have people that are producing well and then some that are not producing. That’s very very common. You’re always going to have a situation like that. Your number one job is to look at, okay, I need to keep supporting the top producers and because those top producers don’t need much help, you give them a little bit and they do a lot because they’re so talented, they’re so skilled.

Some of the lower producers need a bit more help and it’s a bit harder. So your number one job is to realise do they have potential? If they have the potential and they have the right attitude, well then you can teach them, coach them and give them the aptitude.

But if they don’t have the right attitude and you don’t think they have the potential you got to let them go. You’re building a team and you want to have the best people on your team so make sure that you’re seeking out what are the qualities you’re looking for, for contributors on your team and start attracting those people, it’s not just the skillset, it’s the mindset.

8 Ways To Build A High Performance Team

Not all teams are created equally. Some work together as 1 unit, pushing boundaries to excel in everything they do while others are full of conflict and confusion.

Here’s where to start when it comes to building a high performance team.

  1. Build mutual trust and respect
  2. Create and articulate a clear purpose and vision
  3. Model the behaviour you want to see in your team
  4. Foster a team environment that supports each other
  5. Use SMART Goals to keep staff motivated and focused
  6. Recognise efforts and accomplishments
  7. Praise in public, correct in private
  8. Hire for attitude, train for aptitude 

How To Build High Performance Sales Teams

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