Note: This series, “Building a Brilliant Sales Team,” looks at how you can purposefully design an incredible sales force to reflect your values and align them with your goals.
Brilliant sales people are like diamonds. They’re rare and they require painstaking and tedious work to polish.
It can take serious effort to make them shine. But it’s all worth it when you see their captivating inner fire that grabs the attention of everyone they meet.
A sharp sales team reflects the values of your organization, as well as reflecting your customers’ needs. As the voice of the customer, your sales team makes it possible to innovate just the right products and services to meet market demands.
By generating both immediate and future revenues and profits, they’re arguably the most valuable commodity on earth.
The Challenges of Building a Sales Team
The world of sales isn’t what it used to be 25 years ago—or even 10 years ago. As products and services become more complex, the role of your sales team needs to evolve, too. Here’s why:
- Sales teams must work much more closely with internal resources to close deals.
- Shorter product lifecycles mean more time spent learning new offerings.
- Emerging social media and social selling skills must be mastered in order to engage a new generation of prospects.
- With rising sales recruiting and training expenses, combined with average annual sales force turnover north of 30% in the US, sales managers face more challenges than ever to find and retain sharp personnel.
How can you purposefully design an incredible sales team to reflect your values and align them with your goals?
To pull it off, you must get these four steps right:
Recruit Diamonds in the Rough
Miners know the difference between quartz and diamond. Quartz is one of the most common materials found on earth, but diamonds have been treasured for generations. Though they look similar, being able to discern between the two is fundamental.
The first step is mining the right sales team. But that means knowing the skills, traits and characteristics that lead to success. And, like a miner, you need to test for the characteristics to discern a diamond in the rough from a piece of quartz that will be crushed under pressure.
But, once you do, you’ll have a reliable, valued member of your sales team.
Create a Roadmap for Sales Success
When you see a sparkling diamond in a jewelry store, it looks nothing like it did when it was found. When it was mined from the ground, it was muddled, dirty and opaque.
How do diamonds get that way? They’re cut. Jewelers expertly map out every single millimeter of a rough diamond to get the most from it before shaping it to their vision. Similarly, to make a shining sales force, you have to map out a winning success strategy for them to follow.
Add New Facets
A facet is a flat face on a geometric shape. To make diamonds sparkle and reflect light, jewelers facet them. The typical “round brilliant” diamond involves 58 cuts—an awful lot for a rock less than a quarter-inch wide!
Your sales force must be multi-faceted, too. They need to be able to respond to different situations and have an encyclopedic knowledge of your products and services to meet the needs of unique customer situations.
The more skilled they are at helping customers—the more facets they have, if you will—the more likely they will be to generate future revenue.
Sales people tend to be motivated by incentives. To harness that motivation and encourage top-notch performance, shine a big spotlight on your most well-polished gems.
To create heroes in your organization, you’ll need to gamify the process of selling so sales team members are constantly competing against each other for higher rewards. When they succeed, so does your company. It’s a win-win. Sales incentive programs, when done correctly, help move the needle by keeping your top performers performing well and the rest of your team performing better.
In the next post of this series, we’ll dive deeper into recruiting strategies and ideas to help you identify those diamonds in the rough with the potential to become your future sales leaders.