How to Build Your Sales Dream Team

Building a great sales team is a tough and expensive job. 

A recent study noted that it costs $50,000 when you lose a sales representative.

As a sales leader, not only do you have to hire and retain top talent, but you also must keep them inspired and motivated, all while you manage forecasts and pipelines, help deliver results consistently, and keep drama to an all-time low among people who tend to have competitive personalities.

Let’s face it sales managers, it can be painful, right?  So, how do you do it all?

Let’s apply the Talent Optimization framework to your sales team, shall we?

Diagnose and Design

Many clients ask me what an ideal salesperson profile looks like, to which I reply, “let’s talk!”

You need to really think about:

  1. what you sell
  2. net new business vs. current account expansion
  3. to whom
  4. how complex your solution is
  5. what your average sales cycle looks like 

Is what you sell more tangible or intangible ?   Is your sales culture fast paced, intense, or does your sales process require a more methodic approach with a high level of detail?

Once you define your sales role requirements, then tools like the Predictive Index can help you translate those into traits so you can find the right talent to meet your specific needs in your business context.  When possible, it is extremely helpful to benchmark the behavioral traits, cognitive abilities, and sales skills of your current team to decode what you may need next time you hire a new salesperson.

It is important to understand the strengths, behavioral traits, and leadership styles of your sales leaders. It is also important to think about the overall culture of your sales team, as defined by objective criteria.  Attitudes, team dynamics, values, and reinforced behaviors drive your sales culture. Do all signs point to the fact that you have the appropriate sales culture for your business right now?

People often say…

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

However, if your culture is not aligned with your strategy, you will not get the results you want how and when you want them.

Hire and Inspire

Talent Optimization provides the discipline to define, prioritize, and communicate job requirements, then build a job ad that will attract sales reps who you actually want.  So many sales ads I read are ridiculous, either asking for magical unicorns who are good at everything, or listing traits that don’t even align to the type of sale.

Don’t ignore team dynamics when hiring a new salesperson.  Particularly in team oriented sales cultures.  A shift to your group dynamics could be detrimental to overall team performance and culture.

Once you hire your salesperson, make sure you onboard them in a way that suits what you’ve so carefully measured: personality, behavioral drives, cognitive ability, speed of learning, and sales skill level. 

Sales can be an uninspiring job at times, when facing rejection, long sales cycles and customers that delay hopes and dreams for winning.  It is critical for sales leaders to keep their sellers motivated. 

Some salespeople are competitive, motivated by contests and leaderboards, while others prefer a private pat on the back.

Communication and selling styles vary.  Some salespeople like to talk through their calls with their sales leader, calling you to brainstorm or share great news.  Others like to think through their approach introspectively.   Some salespeople readily ask for help while others may want to blaze their own trail.  You will have to decide when to jump in and when to let them figure it out.

Some sellers influence their customers leaning into relationships, while others lean into expertise and technical prowess.  Sales leaders can help sellers identify when their selling style may not be meeting a client’s apparent buying style.

Talent optimization is key to building all teams, but who more important to “get right” than the people responsible for driving revenue for your company?

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