A Start-ups Guide to Building a Stellar Sales Team

Oftentimes, start-ups have great product or services ideas. They’re innovative, refreshing, and just what people need — but despite this, Medium reports that 90% of startups fail. While this can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a lack of capital or no market, a large chunk can also be attributed to simply not having a great sales team, which makes creating a great sales team vital for business success.

Understand the concept of sales

Sales and marketing are often interchanged, and while they aren’t the same, they do go hand-in-hand and support each other during the entire business process. Maryville University explains that marketers have the technical skills to initiate the sales process by creating and managing marketing plans. Salespeople, on the other hand, finish the process. This is done by following up on leads, identifying customer pain points, and closing the deal. In essence, marketing finds and nurtures the deals, while sales close them.

Start hiring the right people

Everything boils down to hiring the right team. Choose candidates with experience in your industry and target audience, and skip candidates without applicable experience — even if they do have the skills. As you refine your sales team’s onboarding, training, and coaching process, it’ll be easier for you to avoid candidates without applicable experience. In the beginning, however, stick to hiring at least two salespeople so you can compare their effort, results, skills and style as you go.

Create the right culture

Culture plays a huge role in the success of a business, and the numbers don’t lie. A study by the University of South Florida  notes that companies generate higher profits even years later if they’re highly “graded” by their employees. But aside from this, sales teams may have their own micro-culture (as do all teams), and knowing how to nurture this is important. That said, consider the type of culture you want and make sure all your actions are based around it. Recruit individuals who follow your values, and align your plans with the culture you’re cultivating.

Use the right tools

Having the right tools to support your team is vital, as they will help make your team sell better and more consistently. As you grow you’ll also have to invest in tools that can help you expand the business. With SalesIntel, you can integrate tools like Salesforce and Hubspot to have easy access to all your sales tools at once. Choosing something that helps you choose quickly and efficiently will help you streamline operations and make your sales team more efficient.

Track your progress and success

At the end of the day, knowing what works and what doesn’t is important for growth. Make sure that you’ve clearly defined the goals needed to succeed, and ensure that the sales process is measurable all throughout. Look at measurements like conversion rates, ratio of cost to sales and revenue, and forecasted vs. actual sales. At the same time, don’t be too hard on your sales team when it comes to these metrics, especially during a sales slump, and look at other areas such as the number of new accounts contacted, or the number of contacts made in certain segments.