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How to Revamp Your Sales Team in a Quarter

Posted: August 13, 2021 at 3:15 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

No business gets very far without a great sales team. However, even the best salespeople can struggle when they don’t have the right guidance and resources.

If your business is struggling to generate leads, secure conversions and grow revenue, you may be using an ineffective sales management strategy. In the long run, these inefficiencies can make it much harder — or even impossible — for your business to compete. 

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With the right changes to how you manage your sales team, you can transform your business within a quarter, providing your sales team with the structure and tools they need to succeed.

1. Start With Strategy

Any shakeup can risk disrupting current business, the existing sources of revenue that your company depends on. 

At the same time, all business owners want their company to expand, to innovate and to reach new markets. Without the right guidance, even talented salespeople can be caught in a bind — needing to both play it safe and focus on short-term numbers, but also to keep innovating and thinking about the future. 

It’s possible to build a solid revenue base while pursuing new leads, but it requires a strong understanding of your market and how to manage a business’s sales team.

Effective sales strategies need to be connected to your overall business strategy. Otherwise, the sales team won’t necessarily adopt practices that actually line up with what you want your business to accomplish. Instead, salespeople may naturally rely on more generic selling practices or tactics that could be ineffective in your current market.

Your sales team will work best when all other aspects of your business have been thought through — like branding, marketing and strategy.

Now is a great time to review your business goals and think about what sales strategy will secure your business the most revenue. 

For example, which customers should you prioritize? What brand values do you need to emphasize in day-to-day processes? These questions can offer valuable guidance for both managers making high-level decisions and salespeople working one-on-one with individual clients.

While planning your new strategy, it’s a good idea to loop in the sales team along with the rest of your business. Strategy affects every department of the company and communication ensures that they understand the changes you plan to make before you make them. 

This communication will also allow you to get a range of perspectives when making big changes to how the business operates.

2. Review Sales Team Structure and Incentives

How your sales team is organized may also be holding your business back. Factors like structure, incentives and sales team culture affect how your sales department will function. 

If it’s been years since you’ve reconsidered your sales team structure, or if you feel like your current structure isn’t working for you, reviewing your options and making a change can seriously help your sales team secure conversions.

The classic model for sales teams is the island approach. Each sales rep is fully responsible for each step of the sales process for every customer they work with. They’ll be in charge of generating leads, nurturing them and closing deals. Depending on the overall structure of a business, these reps may also be responsible for following up with customers after a sale is complete. 

This structure requires very little managerial oversight and can reward businesses with an aggressive, highly competitive business market. In a crowded niche, this strategy can work well. The more complex your sales process becomes, the less effective it will be, however.

You can also use alternative sales strategies, like the assembly line strategy, where sales reps are assigned to certain steps of the sales process, or the pod strategy, which groups reps into pods that cover certain segments, like geographical regions. 

These strategies are often a good fit for startups, or businesses with complex sales processes that can’t effectively use the island approach.

3. Plan Your Follow-Through

When sales team reorganizations are effective, they start providing results within the quarter. Communication breakdowns often become a thing of the past, and sales team members may become more confident in working with management and each other. Sales strategy will become more in line with business strategy, helping the sales team to grow revenue and generate more valuable leads.

You’ll still want to plan for how to keep these benefits locked in, however, which is why you should also plan your follow-through when changing how your sales team operates.

Now is the time to review your metrics, and re-evaluate how you determine sales team success.

Most businesses rely on data to keep team members informed and to make educated business decisions. Quickly audit the data you have, and review your approach for applying metrics to business decisions. You may find that you have significant data gaps or areas where you’re not collecting information you need. 

Ideally, you should have enough information by the end of the quarter to know how much these changes have improved your sales process. You’ll also have enough data to help you continue making improvements to your sales process through the rest of the year.

Transform Your Business’s Sales Team

The success of your sales team will help guarantee the success of your business. Reviewing structure, strategy and sales metrics will help you know if your sales team has the right support — and what changes you can make if they don’t. 

With the right alterations, changes can happen fast, and you’ll begin to see positive results within the quarter. Over time, there can be even more significant benefits — like improved communication, a better branding strategy and data-collection that helps your business team make the best decisions possible.

Eleanor is editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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