Is Your Sales Team an “A” Team?
During these economic times, revenue generation and growth have become the number one topic in corporate offices. A better question to be asking now is – Do We Have an “A” Level Sales Team? Assuming that you have an “A” team, then sales growth and sustainable revenue levels should be a given. A Sales Team loaded with “A” players knows how to win.
So how do Sales Executives know that they have “A” players on the team? Well, first they can sell during good and bad times. They are students of selling and are at the front of the line for sales training – product and technique based learning. And, they have an inner drive – sometimes referred to as a winner’s edge – that gives them the persistence and ability to pursue business in the face of adversity. Also, adversity does not slow these winners – it challenges them to become more creative and find new advantages to use to secure business.
Our experience is that “A” teams can be found at any type of company or industry category. The key is the sales executives make it a goal to find the best talent, retain them and train them. These people are then challenged to perform at high levels, are given the authority to make choices and are fully responsible to each other. A key point is peer pressure is used within the “A” teams to maintain higher levels of discipline and performance standards. Peer pressure tends to create a culture of winning and internal or individual motivation that sales managers dream about!
By the way, one tip for sales managers and executives to remember during the hiring process if they want an “A” team. Stop hiring on credentials alone. I have seen too many sales managers hire a sales person just because they worked for some large company. They assume that they must be good since they worked there – either because they were there for a number of years or they had must have had a lot of sales training. Well, this method is only a 50-50 gamble for success.
The reason the above system does not work all the time is two-fold: One, the company’s brand or product reputation make the sales rather than the sales person and Two, actual performance is not uncovered during the hiring process.
The brand or size of the company can allow a “B” or “C” team to be present at this company. I have seen the evidence of a “C” level sales team with a Fortune 100 company. Due to the outstanding strength of the “Brand” – any sales person can be successful at the company. Always test the sales candidate for sales process knowledge, how much do they know and what is their sales philosophy – especially during good and bad times.
The other issue to review is the actual performance of a candidate. Can you get information from the company or evidence that the person was a high performer. How many awards did they earn? Sometimes if no information is available – the other organization is excited that the sales person is leaving due to their low levels of performance.
Finally, check to see if the salesperson is a match to the philosophy of your organization. Again, too often I find sales people hired that sold a certain type of product or service that is not a match to the product or service that you are offering to customers. This causes a mismatch of sales philosophy and usually leads to under performance. An example is someone from a large company with large support staffs, product specialists, and marketing generation systems is hired by a small company. The smaller company does not have the additional support and expects the sales person to learn or provide these skills by themselves! Expectations do not match and under-performance is the result.
Use a reliable resource to assist you in the selection process. Use assessments to give you some objective answers to how a candidate will perform in the position. This information is very useful when debriefed by an experienced advisor. Expectations will match the levels of performance and the levels of performance will match expectations – a win-win situation.
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