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How to Build a Powerful Sales Team

By: Chris Barnes



Your salespeople need to be the very best you can find, and great salespeople can be hard to find. On any given sales team, a small percentage of the force does a majority of the business, and your goal is to increase the percentage of your team that is making big contributions to your sales totals. Here are a few tips you can follow to build a powerful sales team.

Don’t Be Afraid of Churn
Only a handful of salespeople you hire at any given time will be great, while others will be average and a some will be below average. You know you want to keep the best people, and careful analysis will help you decide what to do with the rest. It might still be worthwhile to keep some of the others, but others will probably cost your business more than they’re bringing in. It happens—you just need to be able to recognize it and willing to cut them and look for better salespeople. Don’t hold on to a poor salesperson just because you’ve already hired them. Always be looking to get great salespeople.

Hire and fire, and hopefully over time you’ll pluck a few gems, salespeople who will make you money and effectively convert the leads you’ve generated. Find a formula that works, and keep repeating it to build a powerful sales team. Your salespeople should know that you need full, 100 percent commitment from them, and that they won’t generate their best results without their best effort. Use your best salespeople as examples, and encourage your team members to learn their techniques. Give salespeople the best opportunities to succeed, but don’t be afraid to make the tough business decisions.

Use a Problem-Solving Approach
Teach your salespeople to take a problem-solving approach that will help them maximize their potential. The most basic question any salesperson needs to know is what they are selling. Do they think they’re selling a product? Do they think they’re selling themselves? You want your salespeople to understand that they are in the business of selling solutions.

The foundation of any successful business is recognition of a problem that consumers have, along with an ability to provide a solution to that problem. If your salespeople are effective listeners, they will better be able to identify the problems customers have in their lives, and then demonstrate ways that your business can solve their problems. If your salespeople are concerned about not only profit but also customer satisfaction, that will go a long way. Be service-oriented, friendly, helpful, and informative, and find salespeople who will listen more than they talk, taking time to solve problems rather than just make a sale.

Identify Motivating Factors
To get the most out of any salesperson, you need to find out how to properly motivate them. Many businesses try specific motivational strategies, but make the mistake of failing to understand that each individual’s personality is motivated by different things. Motivation is not a one-size-fits-all commodity. By finding the specific motivating factors for each individual salesperson, you can get the most out of your team and build a strong, diverse sales force. There are seven primary motivational forces that each drive different people:
1. Acceptance. Some people want to be wanted.
2. Accomplishment. These individuals are goal-oriented and look to complete tasks.
3. Environment. Some work best when in a comfortable surroundings, both the physical space and the people in it.
4. Recognition. Many people desire and crave praise.
5. Responsibility. These individuals want authority.
6. Security. You will find people whose actions are motivated by concerns for the future.
7. Status. Status symbols have a strong effect on others.

By identifying the proper motivational forces, you’ll be able to maximize the results from each team member, and not just certain types of people. This increases the chances of finding great salespeople for your business.

Published: April 3, 2013

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Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes is the Director of Business Development at Tarkenton Companies, with a sales and marketing background in a wide range of industries, from sports information to insurance marketing. A jack-of-all-trades, Chris has experience in many aspects of daily and strategic operations for small business.

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