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10 Steps to Building a High-Performing Sales Team

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In business, the people you work with are your most valuable asset. They contribute to the company culture and help you increase revenue and profits. However, even if you get several high-performing salespeople on one team, it doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get the best sales team among your competitors.

Getting the right people on the team is only one step. Making sure that they work together as a team is another step.

Here are 10 ways you can build a high-performing sales team.

How to build a top-performing sales team

1. Define high performance

This is an obvious step but somehow it is often overlooked.

What does high performance mean to you? How do you define it and how will you measure it? Start with the very basics. It’s not enough to have the right people on the team or begin hiring with the right mindset.

Define your criteria and determine what it takes for your team to excel. Keep in mind that high performance may vary from one company to another.

2. Don’t jump into hiring

To build a successful sales team, you don’t always need to hire. You may already have the right people on board or maybe hiring is out of your budget for now.

Besides, not every performance issue can (or should) be solved through hiring. Hiring is a complex process that requires careful consideration. There’s no foolproof way to identify the exact traits you need to look for in successful salespeople.

Before starting any hiring process, try to figure out why you want to hire in the first place. Is there any skill gap that you need to fill? Is it possible to fill it internally by developing the skills of your existing team? Do you feel that your current sales team is not up for the job?

Identify the reasons for hiring—maybe hiring is not the right solution to your performance problem?

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3. Discover your team’s strengths

Take a closer look at your existing team and consider your next steps.

Each team member has unique strengths and abilities. Some may be excellent at reaching out, while others thrive at closing even the toughest deals. Identify the strengths of individual team members and allow them to use and build upon those strengths.

If there are skill gaps that can’t be developed internally, consider expanding your team by hiring new talent.

4. Double-down on communication

It’s hard to believe how many world problems can be solved with good communication. Business and sales problems are no exception.

Communication is key to success.

Effective and honest communication keeps your team connected to the business and to you. Here are some ways to improve communication within your sales team and set them up for success:

  • Encourage inputs from everyone when working on your sales strategy, building buyer personas, setting targets, or doing any other changes that have a long-term effect. By tapping into the diversity of opinions you can broaden the horizons of what is possible and see some things from a new perspective.
  • Set clear expectations, including performance metrics to measure progress. Remember the last time you felt when there was some unclarity or indecisiveness in your life? You can eliminate these frustrations from the work environment and help your team stay on track. High-performing sales teams consistently hit their targets.
  • Become an avid advocate for feedback loops. Actively listen to your team’s feedback and use it to address any gaps or concerns. In turn, provide constructive feedback too. It’ll create an environment of continuous improvement.

Building a high-performing team takes time. It’s not enough to hire a few talented salespeople and put them in a room together. They need to learn to work collaboratively, eventually operating from a collective mindset rather than an individualist one.

5. Foster collaboration and creativity

While conflicts should not be avoided, it’s important to create a culture of trust and self-trust. Both of these elements are equally essential for creating a high-performing sales team.

If your team members can trust each other (and also themselves), productivity will naturally increase. Prioritize mental health and well-being in the workplace. Encourage your sales team to be creative and take calculated risks. When people are not afraid to try new things, they find innovative ways to do sales and bring in revenue.

Create an environment where team members recognize and appreciate each other’s strengths. Successful teams are built on mutual trust, respect, and collaboration.

6. Introduce incentives

Many salespeople find excitement in selling and achieving their sales targets. Encouraging friendly competition can improve productivity and help you build a top-performing team. Consider using incentives, bonuses, or visible metrics to acknowledge and celebrate individual and team contributions. Rewards, no matter how small, are powerful motivational tools that make team members feel appreciated and valued.

How do you motivate someone to make a 50 calls a day? The answer depends. We are all different and your team members will require different motivation tactics and approaches. If for one sales rep financial recognition is important, the other sales rep might be more motivated by new experiences (especially, if they are at the beginning of their career).

By asking questions, you can find out what works best for every team member.

7. Look to solve your customers’ pain points

Help your salespeople become experts in your products or services and encourage them to expand their expertise. The more they can do for your customers (potential and existing ones), the more confident and productive they will be. This will create a positive cycle of excellence that benefits both the team and the company’s revenue.

Sales teams, like many other teams in your business, should look to create value for customers.

8. Encourage the growth mindset

Business people, especially those working in sales, are hungry for self-development and continuous learning. High-performers want to become better because they have a growth mindset.

If you are not sure what’s on your team’s mind, talk to them. You can schedule one-on-one personal development meetings every month or every two months. These meetings shouldn’t be based on metrics but rather on their individual goals. Ideally, they are casual conversations over a coffee or a break rather than a 1-hour long conversation in the office.

Brendan Short, former Head of Sales at Wiser, shared how he approached these conversations:

“Is there anything you are annoyed with? What does the next 3-6 months within Wiser look like for you? That really ultimately is going to drive results. I want to put people in a place that they are excited about in 3-6 months time but also that growth path is a carrot. You can’t become an AE unless you hit SDR numbers three months consistently. Hey, you want more money? That’s a goal of yours? Great. Let’s put something in place that if you hit numbers three months in a row we’ll bump you up 10%.”

Weekly team-wide meetings can be also used to share best practices, pain points, and new product information. By addressing problems together, the team can come to unexpected and practical solutions. This creates a culture of knowledge sharing. If someone on the team is having a problem, you might have another team member who’s already tackled this problem.

9. Create accountability

Monitor critical sales metrics and encourage team members to set personal goals. Accountability is essential for driving sales team performance and ensuring that everyone is aligned with the business objectives.

Accountability can come in various shapes and forms. You can schedule regular one-on-one pipeline reviews with individual members and talk with them through their challenges or concerns. On top of that, you can also have team meetings every week where everyone updates each other on their priorities for the week—and what they accomplished (or didn’t) last week.

Don’t forget to ask about both—successes and obstacles. Sometimes by talking about your challenges with someone else, your team might gain clarity and a new perspective. Besides, if you constantly ask questions about what is blocking them from hitting their quotas, you might be able to address minor hiccups before they become major issues.

10. Provide the right tools

To build a high-performing team, equip them with the tools they need to make sales effectively.

This includes providing the necessary information to answer customer questions and overcome objections. This is why a good CRM system plays a very important role in your sales success and boosts the performance of your sales team.

For example, OnePageCRM lets your team not only easily collaborate but also focus on the tasks at hand. By adding tasks to every contact in the database, the sales team can make sure that no sales opportunity slips their attention.

prioritized list of tasks

Building a successful sales team

By keeping these steps in mind, you can build a high-performing sales team that generates consistent results. Salespeople are representatives of your company, and their interactions with customers shape the perception of your brand. Invest in their success, and they will contribute significantly to your business growth and success.

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