The first step in building a high performance sales team was to develop and communicate a crystal clear vision and purpose.
Here are the next two steps: Evaluating your existing team and bringing new players on board…
EVALUATING EXISTING TEAM
Once the job responsibilities, personal traits and professional competencies are defined and agreed upon by the management team, this next step becomes much easier.
It’s time to evaluate the existing team… How closely do they fit the profile that is needed to succeed in the marketplace? This is done in a variety of ways:
- Reviewing Performance
- Sales Trends, Profitability, New Account Development, etc.
- Personal observation
- Making joint calls, debriefing accounts and strategy, evaluating their ability and willingness to learn and adapt, etc.
- Utilizing Assessments
- Evaluate skills, attitudes, and behaviors relating to selling. Many such instruments are available from organizations like Assess Systems, Caliper, Target Training, etc.
This evaluation will lead to the determination that perhaps the right people are already on board, that some or all of the team members need additional training to meet high-performance standards, or that some new members have to be added to the team to replace or complement the existing staff.
It’s time for some difficult but necessary decisions to be made… Who from the sales team should remain (meaning that they either already perform as expected or have the ability to do so with the right development efforts) and who should go?
The sooner such a decision is made, the better for all involved. Not enough organizations err on the side of making this decision too quickly. Most often, non-performing employees are allowed to stay on board much longer than is acceptable. Having well defined performance standards makes the need for taking this action much more visible and forces the decision much sooner – and that’s a good thing.
Once you have identified the “openings” the next step is to bring on the next generation of top-performers for the team.
BRINGING NEW PLAYERS ONBOARD
This is an ongoing process – recruiting does not begin the day one realizes the need to add a new member to the team. It starts well before then, by getting to know and keeping in touch with potential candidates early on so they are available to discuss the possibilities when an opportunity arises.
The objective is to bring on board highly qualified, potential top performers. To do this, a systematic and selective approach works best – develop task requirements and an ideal candidate profile, then match traits and competencies to the skills needed and corporate culture.
Utilizing a team approach is advisable when assessing potential candidates. Recruiting is a process that is best carried out by a team of key players with an interest in the success of the sales organization. In essence, these should be people that will be working with this individual when he or she comes aboard (e.g.: president or owner, sales executive, marketing executive, customer service manager, representatives of the sales team).
The interviewing team needs common objectives and tools to evaluate the agreed upon traits and competencies. This eliminates “gut feel” decisions and allows the team to provide the sales leader with specific feedback on strengths and weaknesses instead of “I think she’ll be fine” or “He seems to be a good guy” or similar generic and often wrong assessments.
Finally, utilize assessments to compare the strengths and weaknesses of potential employees to your own, industry standards or sales process-specific norms. This is an effective and unbiased way to receive invaluable insight into potential candidates.
What’s next? Creating the right environment and providing ongoing development. Stay tuned…
John Kypriotakis is the President of Lysis International,
a Tampa based Sales and Management consulting firm,
specializing in B2B Sales, Management and Leadership.
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