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How To Build An Effective Sales Team: Common Misconceptions

As long as companies are in business and want to grow, they’re constantly looking for ways to improve the results from their sales team. Usually, this is done by some combination of hiring additional resources, adding new products and providing ongoing training. Whether you’re looking to create a sales team or expand an existing one, there are a few misconceptions you should address if you want to have a sales team that’s truly thriving.

I just have to find and hire rock stars.

Every sales leader who’s building a team wants to start by hiring the best, the brightest and the most experienced sales professionals they can find. That’s an admiral goal to have, but one that’s often hard to achieve. It’s impossible for every company to have all the best talent. The reality is that most sales teams will have professionals with varying degrees of talent.

Perhaps a better goal is to first ensure that you have the appropriate environment — one with a clear vision, properly set expectations, easy-to-understand procedures and great sales leadership. These characteristics are usually present with teams that are highly productive. When certain aspects are missing from the environment, great talent will leave. In fact, high turnover is a sign that something is missing. There are few things more damaging to a company than having highly qualified professionals leave because the environment is not conducive to accomplishing great things.

It’s all about activity.

I recently had a company explain to me how it administers a productivity bonus in the first six months of its salesperson’s tenure, since the salesperson isn’t expected to close many sales immediately. During this initial period, the more meetings they have, the higher their productivity bonus. It’s the age-old “fill the funnel” concept, which theorizes that the more prospects one engages, the more successful they’ll be. The idea is that the more people who know about your business, the better. No one will argue that activity is a bad thing. However, it’s the quality, not the quantity, that’s most important.

If the overall goal of the salesperson is to generate the most revenue, then we can’t mistake activity for accomplishment. Increased activity will lead to increased brand awareness, but by itself, it doesn’t lead to increased revenue. In fact, if you’re not careful, a concentration solely on increased activity could have negative impacts. It doesn’t usually benefit the company to have salespeople talking to prospects who are never going to buy. Each minute a salesperson spends with someone who’s not going to buy is a minute they’re not spending with someone who is willing to buy. It’s critical for them to learn how to differentiate.

Written by: Donald Hatter is a best-selling author, speaker and expert on teaching professionals and businesses how to maximize their influence.

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