Sales is an indispensable and specific area of any business. The particulars necessary when building a sales department offer a glimpse into the often complex and detailed approach that must be taken. Although it is time consuming and hard, focusing on a healthy sales department is simply smart business, says top sales experts like Mark Stiffler. Here are some specifics on building a successful sales department.
- Get a handle on the type of sales your company will be doing
Step one is having a clear understanding of exactly what you will be selling and how those sales will be taking place. Are you selling lower priced products, high-end goods, or both? Are you selling products, services, or both? Will your company wares be sold in-person, online, as direct sales, through third parties, or all of the above? These answers will give you an indication of both the type of department you need to build and the type of sales people you need to hire.
After determining #1, decide the type of sales team you need
The products and services you sell and how you intend to sell them determines the type of sales team you need. Do you need inside sales, field sales or both? Can they be managed from one central location or does management need to be decentralized? How big of a sales team do you need to be effective? Do you need for all of your sales team to be very experienced or can you get away with some less-experienced and lower priced sales staff?
Hire the right kind of salespeople
Hiring is a key element in the process and you need to create a process that gets you the right people. This might mean hiring a recruiting firm to bring you the right prospects, so don’t shy away from this approach. The smaller the staff you intend to hire, the more critical each hire will be.
Success in sales is directly related to bringing on sales people who resonate with the job and the tasks related to performing the job. This flies in the face of the belief that sales success is based on a certain personality type.
You need to bring on people who have experience in successfully selling (selling your type of products or services is best), over a long period of time. These people understand the job and what it takes to be successful at it. Make your focus on high achievers who can take some direction and work within a team environment.
- The Compensation Plan is Critical
Your company compensation plan will determine to a large degree the type and quality of sales people you will attract. Sales people are typically motivated by an ability to work hard and be compensated well for their achievements, so you need a compensation plan that fits into their expectations. So tying compensation to performance is a necessity to get sufficiently skilled and motivated people on your team.
Your goal is to find the best balance between base pay, commissions and bonuses that resonate with top sales people. Use the industry as a barometer for what to offer. If you are a newer or less well-known company, expect to have to offer more to get the best people interested. And in the beginning be prepared to have to provide a better base pay while your sales team ramps up their commissions.
- Give Them Success Tools
In order for your sales team to do their best they must have the tools they need to win in the sales battle. This breaks down into three critical areas:
Keep them well trained – Sales markets change quickly and dramatically these days and training is a way for you to know for sure that your team is best prepared to succeed.
Make sure they have the latest sales tools – Do they have tools that allow them to present your company wares in their best light? Are they able to get too sales meeting on-time? Do they have materials to leave prospects?
Company support – This means that they feel supported by the company at all times. Do you commend them when they do a great job? Do you talk to them respectfully when they do not and keep them motivated when sales are off?
Paying a great amount of attention to sales is smart business. Get it right and your business is positioned to succeed.