How to get it right first time when building a sales team
Today’s post is a little different. I want to share with you an excellent video from Dreamforce (the Salesforce annual event held in San Francisco).
The presenters are Aaron Ross and Jason Lemin both founders of a number of well-known hot start-ups.
Both Aaron and Lemin talk quite candidly about the dos and don’ts of building a killer sales team. There are some great takeaways to consider if you want to build a high performing sales team that delivers.
If you don’t have time to watch the entire video I have taken down the salient points for you and listed them in the checklist below the video.
My 8 take-aways for building a killer sales team were
1) Hire 2 sales people not 1
Why? This enables you to do an A/B test. The output is that you will know what works and what doesn’t. Even if you hire one sales executive and they smash their number, you won’t know how they did it – you need a comparison. This is also known as the Noah principle and is popular in many sectors. Not only does it give you comparative data but it also creates momentum and motivation in the individual’s concerned. There is nothing like a bit of healthy competition when it comes to motivating your sales team.
2) Sequence your sales hiring
As with many things in business, sequencing is important. Timing when you hire your VP of Sales is crucial – not too early and not too late (allow at least 6 months for the search for the right person). The best is often worth waiting for, especially as they are unlikely to be on the ‘open’ market just waiting for your call. A shameless plug here for using a search consultant. When it really has got to be the best person for the role, the process of finding and identifying that individual has to be carried out thoroughly. This is where a professional sector specific search consultant most certainly earns their fee.
3) Close the first 10 customers yourself
This is a strategy that high performing start-ups use to their advantage before they hire sales executives. The messaging, objections, features, advantages and benefits are all tested. A blueprint is set that can then be taught. This then accelerates the chance of success.
4) Hire where it’s working
This might sound obvious and yet people still do make this mistake. For example if 50% of your revenue is coming from Enterprise and 15% from mid-market – don’t hire 2 sales people for Enterprise and 2 for mid-market. Focus on exactly what you need and recruit accordingly; we all know the skill set will be different.
5) Focus on the bigger deal
Bigger deals are relatively less work per revenue generated – so don’t grumble about the all the paperwork and the 9 month cycle to close a £250k deal and don’t kid yourself that closing £20k deals with a 3 month sales cycle is easier; it isn’t.
6) Personal brand equity
There is a lot of conversation about personal branding and mini brands. Branding isn’t just for the likes of Apple and Microsoft we can all develop our own brand that a customer will buy into.
The explosion of disruptive brands on the market has shown the way when it comes to making an impact in a short period of time e.g. Snapchat, Uber and AirBnB.
7) Revenue per lead
Classically many people think that revenue per lead might drop when you hire more sales executives. The opposite is true –In fact Aaron and Lemin comment that it will in fact increase.
8) What does a great VP of Sales do?
It is often commented that a conductor makes the orchestra sound exceptional. It’s a similar scenario in business when it comes to management and leadership; especially sales leadership.
A good VP of sales will grow YOUR team from 2 to 10 very quickly. They should be able to bring at least 2 great people with them immediately (give them one week to do this). If after 60 days they have not made at least 3 great hires then they never will.
They also know how to hire and get the best out of egotistical rock stars and identify and quickly and fire the zeros, who can’t deliver.
Building the perfect killer sales team is certainly a recipe which is crucial to get right. Hiring the right people is paramount & hiring the right VP of sales can help the team’s success tenfold. Teem have been recruiting and building some of the strongest sales teams and relationships in the industry for over 17 years and we know exactly what the perfect candidate looks like, from a high performing sales executive right to the VP of sales. Interested in what we do? Click here to find out more.
An interesting video with some great suggestions. Did I miss any?
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