Top 3 tips for building a well-oiled sales machine

  • April 13, 2017
  • by Natalie Steck

If you’re fortunate enough to own a sports car—a vehicle purpose-built to perform—then you understand what a thrill it is to drive it on the open road. There’s nothing like the feeling of being forced back into the driver’s seat as the car lurches forward and gathers speed. And that’s what you’d expect, as top performance is exactly what the vehicle is designed for.

But for that vehicle to perform at maximum capacity, the engine needs to be cared for. Without lubricant, the engine will seize and that head-turning sports car you’re so proud of will eventually slow down, before stopping altogether.

Running a high-performance sales team is surprisingly similar. And having managed teams for the better part of two decades, I’ve spun my wheels and parked on 3 top tips that are critical to the success of a well-oiled, high-performing sales team. 

1. Mechanically sound

Any good driver knows the importance of checking the vehicle before driving. And just as the engine is the lifeblood of a sports car, people are the most important thing in having your sales teams running on all cylinders.

Securing the right people—those who fit with the company culture and believe in the sales vision—is critical to success. Over many years I’ve learned that you can’t replicate these components. Like sports cars, good sales people offer companies varying styles, but to have the sales machine running smoothly, they should all fit together to make the team work.

TOP TIP #1–

When hiring salespeople, ensure they truly understand and embrace the fact that they are salespeople and are in sales. A salesperson in denial won’t sustain the wear and tear that a sales journey will put them through.

2. Finely Tuned

Once you’ve found the right people, the next step is to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. To finely tune a sales team, I recommend ensuring three very important things are implemented right off the bat:

  • Each salesperson must be well informed of the vision
  • Each salesperson must be well trained on the product or service being sold
  • Each salesperson must be well supported at both a pre-sales and implementation level

As with maintaining a sports car, supporting a successful sales team is a moving and iterative process.

TOP TIP #2–

Consider building the ideal salesperson persona for your for your organization and create a training process that helps train others to achieve that level of precision. As an example, I have previously set up a ‘Sales Academy’ where individual team members ‘graduate’ through the ranks of sales as their skills and success increase.

3. Well fueled

For a vehicle to run it needs fuel, and generally speaking, the cleaner and purer the fuel is, the better it will perform.  This is the same for your sales machine.  Again, your people are the fuel for sales success and to have them performing optimally they should be well rewarded and recognized for their efforts.  Consider setting up a ‘Presidents Club’ to publicly recognize your top performers, but always make sure to provide the team with the tools they need to do their job well. Because, just as your people are the fuel for your organization, they need to be fueled also.

As a manager of a sales team, I find that it’s critical to continually tune your Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs), data lists, and sales-based tools so that your team is fueled to accurately and efficiently produce proposals, pitch decks, and contracts.

TOP TIP #3 –

Take some time to learn how your individual team members like to be rewarded.  Are they ‘coin-operated’ or success driven?  Find out what drives them to achieve the vision you have set and then implement those rewards.

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