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How to build a great sales team for a small business

There are many exciting and daunting challenges for any new and growing company. One of these challenges is how to build a great sales team? As this will form the backbone for your future success, it’s important to get it right.

There are four keys to success:

  1. Choose the right people
  2. Learn to perform
  3. Use the best technology
  4. Focus on the right activities

Here is how to do it:

Hiring the best people

To scale your new or growing business, you must attract the right talent to your team. The first step should be clarifying why you want to recruit for specific roles. An incorrect hire can be hugely costly when you’re starting out, or for any established SME. To get it right, you should review the current needs for your business and identify any gaps that are ready for expansion.

When you have a concise job description in writing, then it’s time to reach out to potential candidates. Carry out your searches strategically and be clear what you are prepared to compromise on for the right person.

It’s important to remain open-minded when it comes to background and experience; the candidate must be relevant. No matter how personable they appear, someone with ten years in manufacturing sales will probably not match the needs of a property company, for example.

The final stage is to work out a clearly defined interview process that includes the values you want from the candidate. Having a list of clear behaviours that represent your company’s culture and aspirations will help you score interview candidates in a useful way. Whether you’re looking for passion and aspiration or experience and an inquisitive instinct, understanding what you actually need will help you find the best person. And in a sales candidate, you want to see a good track record and evidence of success.

When you have a candidate that fits, make an offer and see how they negotiate. A good salesperson will try to get the best offer possible. If they can convince you to alter your salary and commission stricture, then this is a clear indication they are right for your sales team.

Your sales team must perform. It’s a key function for every business. No matter how good your product or service, if you can’t communicate this to potential customers then the business with fail. To succeed, your small business must sell itself and its products to a high standard.

Deciding who to hire for your sales team, which systems to use and when to scale up are all key considerations for business owners.

Take advantage of technology

When you have the team in place, you must provide the right tools to allow them to succeed. Many SMEs neglect this step, and salespeople are expected to achieve the impossible. Research by YouGov, covering 1,000 sales professionals in the UK, has found that 25% rely on pen and paper to keep track of their sales pipeline. This is an incredible number, given the sheer number of digital tools freely available to salespeople in 2018.

Sales tracking is incredibly important to effectively manage sales. To scale up as a business, it’s vital to be able to optimise and refine your sales processes as you go. This is a constant process and needs technology to work well. Build your team using a high-quality CRM (Customer Relationship Platform) platform from day one. This will allow them to track metrics and understand where and how they can change their process for better results.

Focus on ‘winnable’ tasks

A major factor in building a successful team is focusing on the right sales activities. The best route to success is by focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to chasing leads and closing sales.

It doesn’t matter how good the salesperson is, some deals are never going to close. Spending too much time chasing the impossible wastes other opportunities. Sales teams should be trained to understand how to spot low-quality leads and drop them in favour of those than can be converted.

Remember that rigidly focusing on end targets rather than the steps that could be taken to move deals on, can be counter-productive.

James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited said: “A good sales team really matters. Research shows that SMEs in the UK are losing an average of £15,000 every month due to poor quality sales processes. This must change if you want your small business to smash through growth targets and become successful.

“The market in every sector in increasingly competitive. Teams are increasingly needing to secure both national and international sales, for example. By allowing inaccurate or unfocused sales activity to slide, your business could be losing substantial amounts of money on a regular basis.

“Invest in decent technology and tools to allow your sales team to do their job. The importance of this can’t be underestimated. A well maintained and productive sales team shouldn’t be something business owners take for granted. It should be nurtured, encouraged and supported.

About Turner Little

Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction/repair, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.

Turner Little

Turner Little and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Material on this page has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.