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For small businesses, recruiting an entire sales team is a laudable accomplishment that strongly indicates tremendous progress. But hiring a few sales representatives is only half the battle. Sales departments are responsible for most of the sales journey from awareness creation to lead generation, closure, and occasionally after-sales services. Ergo, a small business’s success is largely influenced by its sales team’s abilities; hence, the need for recruiting and maintaining teams with a long-term mindset.

How to Build a Successful Sales Team

  1. Determine the Company’s Sales Needs
    Building a sales team without reviewing the customers’ pain points and the business’s development needs is akin to setting off on a journey without a roadmap. Factors such as a company’s products and the existing market can influence its sales needs, including the available sales positions, existing skills gaps, and the number of sales representatives to hire.
  2. Define the Sales Strategy
    Before hiring new employees, companies should define their initial sales strategies to help the new hires transition into their roles smoothly. The sales strategy should specify details such as the company’s buyer personas, sales territories, and processes.
  3. Recruit In-House
    Fight the urge to hire experienced sales representatives from other companies and instead hire in-house. In-house recruits are already familiar with the company’s operations and are likely to have shorter learning curves as they transition to their sales roles.

How to Maintain a Sales Team

  1. On-The-Job Training
    Even with the best sales team, small business owners should not expect to run their sales operations on autopilot, especially with new hires. On-the-job training – whether outsourced or in-house – is a crucial part of the onboarding process and a tool for bridging the gap between the company’s expectations and the employees’ performance.
  2. Team Motivation
    For most businesses, hiring and retaining top-quality talent all boils down to motivation through irresistible compensation models. However, small businesses may not be able to afford lavish employee incentives like free trips, above-market wages, and bonuses. Small businesses can employ creative motivation techniques like internal recognition, more job autonomy, and extra leave days to ensure employees consistently reach or surpass their sales quotas.
  3. Sales Leadership
    Poor sales leadership is perhaps the most significant contributor to sales team failure. A small business may benefit immensely from hiring a part-time sales executive, especially if its owner is constantly unavailable due to other obligations.

Final Thoughts

Building a sales team can be an enriching endeavor for a small business. However, recruiting more sales representatives beyond a certain point only provides marginal returns at the expense of revenue growth. Small businesses should identify this point of diminishing returns and focus on nurturing in-house talent to make the most of their sales teams.