How to Build a Sales Team that Really Teams

If anything in my last post sounded like a good idea to you, don’t bother reading this one. However, if you really want to implement change for the better, and you are a sales manager (or business owner), read on…

Here are four ways to start building a sales team that really WILL team.

First, think through what you expect the successful sales person to do every day, but instead of thinking only about what they do, also think about HOW they will go about doing it. Ask someone who really enjoys the job:

  • In what ways do you have to team with your prospect to get their attention? To advance the opportunity? To get the sale closed?
  • What is there about your work that makes you feel valued and respected? What does the opposite?
  • If someone else could do some portion of your current task list, which tasks would you give to them, and how would the change enable (or motivate) you to focus more on winning new business?

Second, work this information into the job posting. You might be surprised to find that it attracts people who are more likely to be successful in that job.

Third, start thinking team instead of individual. Even a heroic individual achievement cannot equal the results of sustained team success. Every team has a range of survival needs, and when these needs are met collectively, amazing things can happen. Instead of having eight salespeople wasting time filling out reports and pretending to be organized, consider the value of having seven people selling every moment of every day, plus one person who actually enjoys the work of keeping them all organized, and filling out well-documented reports.

And last, while sales turnover may always be higher than you would like, it doesn’t need to be as high as it is. Get some inside information on how sales managers are treating their staff. Are they saying ‘no’ too often? Do they take delight in terrorizing people the way Alec Baldwin did in “Glengarry Glen Ross?” (Your best sales folks probably know that speech by heart, even if you don’t.) If so, you will have to decide whether you want to continue down that road, or instead, to create a culture where the marching orders include positive, supportive sales teamwork, respect, and trust.

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