The success of your sales team determines the success of your whole business. After all, without new business coming in, any company will eventually start to fall apart.
If you’re looking to grow your business, an SMB sales strategy can be the trickiest thing to get right. You’ve got to plan and create the opportunity for growth, without doing too much too soon. It’s therefore not surprising that many managers find it hard to reach the right balance in their strategy.
Defining scalability in sales
So, what are you hoping to achieve with your sales team? On a practical level, a scalable sales team should be:
- A team and sales process which can cope with more prospects entering the pipeline
- A team that can crank up the sales activity when needed – without breaking the pipeline, or having a negative impact on win rate or pipeline velocity
- A training and hiring programme that allows you to quickly add to your team
- A team which can grow in a cost-effective way, based on metrics such as cost-per-lead
Ten essential tips
Here are ten ways that you can ensure your sales team is ready to grow your business – and grow as a team at the same time.
- Hire right – choose the same successful sales person every time
Most companies like to hire mainly on “gut feeling”, but the problem is that this process is not scalable. There’s no way of repeating this on a larger scale and quantifying it. Develop a process of scoring applicants – an article on HBR recommends focusing on prior success, intelligence, work ethic and coach-ability.
- Train new hires in a consistent, measurable way
You not only have to make the way you hire new employees measurable, but the way you train them too. Beyond measurable, training needs to be consistent so that everyone starts with the same information and goals.
Too often ‘training’ is just shadowing someone who has been there a while. And depending on who you pick, you could get a completely different training programme. To allow your team to grow successfully, you need a comprehensive training programme that you can repeat, time and time again.
- Align sales and marketing
To be truly effective as a business, you can’t afford to have two departments working independently (or worse, against each other). It’s essential that sales and marketing work together – with marketing generating a certain quantity of high quality leads each month, and sales looking to close a certain amount of leads per month.
- Work leads with the same process every time
Consistency is key in ensuring your team is scalable – from hiring to the actual on-the-job processes. You should establish a best practice at your business for what tends to work best by analyzing your team and the data in your CRM. For instance, how often should you call a prospect per month? What is the right balance between quantity and quality?
- Ensure your CRM allows you to grow
Too often businesses are confined by out-of-date software, which doesn’t allow them to easily update their processes or grow their team. Cloud solutions such as ContactWorld for Sales allow you to only pay for what you need, so that you can scale up and down with ease. Plus, you’ll always be using the latest version, so that you can stay competitive.
- Encourage remote working
If businesses aren’t confined by the limitations of their software, they’re often confined by the physical boundaries of their office space. But with mobile technology and cloud-based SaaS, there’s no need to be confined by a firewall perimeter.
Encouraging remote working is a great way to expand your team, but not your office space, allowing you to grow easily and at your own pace.
- Engage employees in their work to keep key talent
It’s hard to grow as a business if all your star performers leave, and your core staff aren’t engaged in their job. To make your business scalable, you need to consider employee engagement tools such as our Motivate solution for Salesforce.
Gamification is a way to not only encourage the right behaviors and processes as mentioned above, but it keeps employees engaged with immediate feedback and a healthy sense of competition.
- Hire overqualified sales reps at the early stages of a start-up
One tip from David Baga, Chief Business Officer at Honor is that start-ups looking to grow should hire a small team of reps who are overqualified for their job description. Hire people who are excited about this new venture and who can develop a repeatable, scalable and profitable model before you build a larger team.
- Encourage peer mentoring
If your team is going to grow, you need to encourage a collaborative atmosphere. Individual ambition is great for pushing sales people to close sales, but a sense of collaboration is essential for the business as a whole to grow.
- Look to the future
While you can’t predict the future, a sales manager should be able to get a sense of what’s coming and how to prepare. To ensure this is possible, your sales team needs to be using your CRM to its full potential, so that you can have an accurate pipeline for forecasting.
Read our Small Business Guide to Cloud Communications to find out more about how cloud technology could help your business to become more scalable.Have you managed to build a scalable sales team? Share your tips below.