How to Scale Sales Teams – Tips for Modern Sales Leaders
Shortly after graduating college, I moved to New Orleans to do some volunteer work. I worked in the communications department of a charter school organization, and oftentimes needed to attend different events around the city to help document.
Being a recent transplant, I regularly got lost on my way. Though getting lost was kind of fun, and did teach me how to get places in a roundabout way, it wasn’t a good long-term plan. My semi-weekly meandering wasn’t scalable.
The same is true with selling. When you begin selling, the journey is as important as the destination. You’re learning who your customers are, what messages resonate with them, and generally how to get where you’re trying to go (aka close the deal).
However, as the company grows and you start bringing in new reps, you may not have the same luxury of time as you did at the start. It’s not to say there’s no room for any metaphorical wanderlust, discovery will always be a part of sales, but there does need to be some level of structure.
So, how do you go from a team of one to a team of many? In this article we cover four steps you can take to scale your sales team:
- Build a repeatable process
- Hire the right eople
- Implement a sales tech stack
- Measure and adapt
Build a repeatable process
Each time a salesperson connects with a prospect, they have the opportunity to close the deal and build trust. Though it’s always a possibility, finding the most opportune time is key.
Instead of guessing or acting on a whim, create a repeatable process that works. Having a playbook you can pull out reduces uncertainty and ensures your sales reps are hitting all the right notes.
Do you know what the brilliance of McDonald’s is? It’s not inexpensive food, or french fries (though they are irresistible), it’s consistency. No matter where you are in the world, if you walk into a McDonald’s, you know exactly what you’re getting.
The way they’re able to achieve that is by standardizing every element of their process. With a footprint as large as theirs, it’s the only way to maintain standards. Without them, it would be absolute chaos. Though you’re most likely not building a multinational fast-food conglomerate, you can implement the same ethos.
Standardized outreach scripts
There’s only one chance to make a first impression. Fortunately, all that research you did in the first step helps you hone your first contact with a new prospect. Whether it’s replying to inbound leads, qualifying prospects, or cold-calling new contacts, outreach scripts make sure reps have all their needed talking points, and ensure those points are covered.
Nail the demo
Most B2B sales processes include a sales demo or a product demonstration that’s planned in advance. It’s arguably the most hands-on and important step of the entire journey, so it’s important to get it right.
Experiment with different scripts and walkthroughs until you find one that really converts. Write down questions that come up so that you can answer them in advance next time. Once you have a demo that works reliably, share this structure with your team so everyone’s working with the best material.
“You must understand the customer journey, and then develop and document a repeatable process around that,” reiterates Chris Koch, Director of Sales at Procurify.
Build up collateral
Sales collateral can be used by anyone on your team to share knowledge, build trust, answer questions, and move the sales process forward. Here are just a few of the documents you should consider creating for your team:
- Case studies
- Pricing sheets
- Sales proposals
- Sales decks
- E-books and whitepapers
- RFP answers, including answers to common security questions
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Hire the right people (and train them)
A huge part of your success depends on the individual sales people you build your team with. When you hire the right person for the job, structure your team correctly, and offer ongoing training, your sales machine starts to run itself.
Know who you’re looking for
When you’re ready to start hiring, create a job description that showcases the qualities it takes to be successful in your organization. While things like a knowledge of sales tools and prior experience selling in your industry might be useful, consider the attitudinal traits as well.
Andrew Sorokovsky, Head of Enterprise Sales at UberEats, says experience isn’t always the most important trait:
“For me, attitude is an important consideration and often trumps capability and experience. A sales rep can have all the experience in the world, but I look for a few key traits. Are they hungry - whether it’s for the next challenge, to take on new learning opportunities, or to perform beyond just BAU (business-as-usual)? Do they demonstrate initiative and real hustle when approaching their work? Are they constantly striving to better themselves, to perfect their craft? Are they humble and open to feedback and coaching?”
When you hire someone with the right attitude and mindset, you can shape them into a top performing sales rep. “Not only will that be a smoother journey, but it will be much more rewarding for both the individual and you as the manager,” explains Andrew.
Simon Sinek says it best:
“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”
Shape your team structure
Nick Pike, Sales Manager at FoodPak says it’s critical to think about the sales culture you’re cultivating and define how each sales position adds to it. “At FoodPak, our sales team also has a large account management proportion to their role. This can be very time consuming for the Sales Reps and really takes away time that should be spent on large accounts and gaining new business.” They’ve built their team into “pods” of junior and senior account managers to help divide the work.
This offers a few advantages for FoodPak’s sales team. First, it helps the department work as a team, which drives customer loyalty. Second, senior account managers can prioritize their time on higher-value opportunities. Finally, as the company grows, they already have senior account managers in training as they can promote junior reps.
“The layout I have always wanted in a sales organization is that the entry level sales position should be able to see a clear path forward within the sales team whilst getting formal and on-the-job training for the next position.” says Nick. “I also want our senior individuals to take ownership for the health of the team, not just their pipeline.”
Train your team
Remember all that time you spent building up a process and understanding what your customers want? Now’s the time to pull out those documents so you can train your new team on it.
In the early days it may not be possible to have an incredibly formal training process, but you do need to standardize the information you’re sharing. It could be as simple as putting together a PowerPoint, or Notion page.
Once you’re further along, consider dedicating someone on your staff to be the trainer. Though it doesn’t have to be someone from the sales team, we suggest that it is. It helps to have someone teaching who’s been in the position themselves.
Sales quality assurance can also help reinforce good habits and gently nudge team members towards best practices. Encourage things like ride-alongs, and call shadowing. Just be sure you get the ok from your prospect beforehand.
Implement an effective sales tech stack
When you’ve got a library of materials and an all-star team, the right tech stack can keep everything together and help you run even faster by ensuring consistency, automating manual work, and giving your team more time to focus on closing.
For example, using Qwilr to build sales proposals makes it simple for everyone on the team to create impressive documents that contain all your approved assets. Other tools you’ll want to explore include CRMs, scheduling, and chatbots.
Measure and adapt
Finally, your process won’t be set in stone forever. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Detailed analytics can show where the bottlenecks are in your pipeline, your most frequent objections, and your most productive reps. These insights help you continue to improve your process.
Though it’s tempting to try and track everything, it’s best to focus on foundations first, like monthly sales, average deal size, win rate, and percentage of reps meeting quota.
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Sometimes finding your way requires getting a little lost. In sales, when you’re the first hire, finding your way is part of the job. However, as you grow and scale your sales team, you’ll need a map to show the way and guide newcomers.
Though it may not be as exciting, having a defined process allows efficiency and helps maintain a certain standard for your team. So, invest in your materials, the process you use to teach, and be particular about who you hire. If you do, we promise you’ll get to where you’re going.