Monthly Archives: July 2018

Sales skills: How to create a winning sales team

A few weeks ago, I read about the old American TV show, The A Team, and how, whilst it was a great success with the viewers, the actual team of actors got on very badly behind the scenes bringing the show to an end. It made me consider team work and how important it is for long term success.

In my previous Blog this month, I wrote about sales profiles and how having the right profile for the right job is key to sales success. The Blog was useful in terms of outlining the differences between sales profiles and the consideration of each skill alongside your sales strategy.

But what about the sales team? Surely, to achieve success you must consider not only the sales profiles, styles and skills of each member but also how they will all work together in one team. Like any other recruitment process this can prove difficult, so I thought it might be helpful to put together some key considerations when putting together your sales team:

  1. Consider your sales strategy and key goals: Is your company planning to achieve growth through growing your clients’ spend or are you focusing in developing new markets? Most growing companies have a requirement for both and their sales targets will be a mix of new and existing business. This means you will need the right mix of sales profiles in your team to make this happen.
  2. Consider your sales process: So many Sales Managers miss the fact that in order to increase conversion and productivity, the team must adhere to a clear sales process. This is not just about how you many times you follow up and what agenda you follow in your meeting. An important part of this process is considering who in the team does what, based on their profiles and skill, to ensure maximum conversion is achieved.
  3. Consider what roles are required within the team: once you are clear on your strategy, goals and process, you can draw up the ideal sales roles you require to fulfil this most productively. Ideally, you would want to have the right number of Account Managers, New Business Development Managers, Telemarketing Consultants and Sales Support Managers.

I hope you think the above considerations make sense, but you may well have a few further considerations:

  • What if you already have a team, perhaps even some decent sales people within it but it does not meet the profile you require?

I would imagine that this may well be the case with many companies and there are four key things to do in this situation:

  • Analise the current skills and profiles you have and identify the gaps
  • Train and skill your existing team where possible
  • Provide focus through plans and goals
  • Hold on to those who embrace the change and replace the ones who don’t

A full sales team require a myriad of roles and skills, should they all be provided in-house?

I think that the answer to this is absolutely not. Take follow up and telephone work for example; I have written before about the behaviour profile best suited for telemarketing and it is not a sales profile. It can also be hard to keep and motivate a Telemarketing Consultant in house.  My advice would be as follows:

  • Consider the roles in your team again and decide which would require specialist knowledge of your company’s products.
  • Consider which of the roles might not be specialist but would benefit from being managed in-house.
  • Outsource all other roles to a specialist company

If you view this page on our website, you may find that we are able to support your sales team with both of the scenarios above. Get in touch if we can be of further help.


Sales skills – typical sales profiles and why they matter

I have attended countless training sessions and read many self-help books and all of them agree on one thing: knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key to making a success of whatever it is you choose to do. Over the years I have found this to be very true yet so many people I meet could not actually tell me what their strengths and weaknesses were.

This is particularly apparent when it comes to ensuring you have the right sales person for the job you need them to do. Hiring, managing and motivating your sales staff is always a challenge, but it is even more so if you have the wrong person in the job. Many managers and business owners, who are not sales people themselves, might be confused by this idea of sales styles, just like so many tend to bundle all promotional activity under the banner of marketing.

Another challenge I come across, is in well established companies who may have long established sales people who have been in the role more than anyone can remember. The company may have acquired other companies which landed them with additional sales people. It might be a combination of all of the above, but the result is the same in many cases: you end up with the wrong sales profiles and that can have a devastating effect on your growth.

So, what are the different sales profiles you might ask. There are a few ways to look at it but put simply there are two main profiles to consider:

  1. Farmers: Just like real farmers, these sales people are skilful at looking after their land. In other words, they are good at looking after existing clients, ensuring they are satisfied and therefore continue to place business with the company.
  • Strength: nurturing relationships through loyalty and care
  • Weakness: Responding to rapid change, approaching unknown entities, working fast, thinking on their feet, spotting new opportunities
  1. Hunters: These sales people are skilful at identifying targets and approaching them. There is nothing that pleases them more than closing a new deal. They are very often demanding and controlling, sometimes fly by the seat of their pants and not known by their attention to detail.
  • Strength: Identifying strong opportunities and developing them into a sale
  • Weakness: Working to a plan, adhering to rules, compiling paperwork, listening

Of course, this is very black and white and there are many sales people, me included, who are a hybrid of the two. However, painting the two profiles in this way allows you to immediately see what I mean: if you require new business development and you have a team of farmers, they will struggle to deliver and vice versa, which is why considering this is so key to your teams’ success.

But what if you have inherited the team and they are what you have? I think that you can develop and hone different skills within your team. People are creatures of habit and often choose the path of least resistance. With the right training, some KPIs and support, you can deliver different results. With some rapid change affecting the UK market next March, it might be something to consider sooner rather than later.

Check this page on our website to see how we can help or get in touch to discuss in more detail.