As a consultant and trainer in the field of sales management, I am constantly asked if there is a formula companies can follow to build a winning sales team that consistently maximizes business potentials. Obviously, there is no one-shot formula. The answer lies in the firm's ability to integrate different but interrelated components that build a winning sales team.
 
High-performance teams win because they employ the right sales strategies, follow effective sales structures and designs, and have excellent leaders and members who are talented, possessing the right combination of skills, attitudes, and are hungry to go out and win big in the market. Let me share with you what I call the Seven (7) Building Blocks of a Winning Sales Team, which you can use to redefine your sales team and identify stages toward a winning sales organization.
 
·  Your sales force strategy. Your sales team must be able to clearly articulate your company's sales strategy. Does your sales team know how your customers are segmented? Are they able to identify the right sales drivers per segment? Is your Go-to-Market strategy effectively and efficiently reaching your target customers? Is your sales team undersized or oversized? Can your sales team identify the sales strategies of your main competitors? As Sun Tzu pointed out, The key to success is not in defeating the enemy, but in defeating the enemy's strategy. Begin with a bullet-proof strategy your sales team can execute.
 
·  Invest in hiring the right people. Recruitment is probably the most important sales force decision area which is often neglected. In fact, most sales managers are ill trained in handling interviews and selection process. When interviewing potential candidates focus on behavior analysis and internal motivators of the candidate. For example, What did you do when your Boss did not agree with your proposal? instead of What will you do if your Boss will not agree with your proposal? Remember, past behavior predicts future behavior. Avoid canned and boring questions, like: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
 
·  Invest in training. A Chinese proverb says, If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people. High-performance organizations are training organizations. Most organizations are unable to build a winning sales team because their investment in training is often inconsistent. It is actually far more expensive not to train your salespeople. Invest in the long-term development of your people.
 
·  Supervision. This function involves execution of complex activities that directly impact the sales team and its performance. Often, people leave their company not because they dislike it, but because of a lousy supervisor. The first-line manager is said to be the most important job in the sales organization. Make sure you have the best supervisors in the front line.
 
·  Motivation. How might companies motivate their sales force? What types of incentives would motivate them? Here are some of the factors that influence the motivation level of salespeople: territory design and sales support systems; policy on recruiting and promotions; consistent and deliberate training programs; competitive compensation package; recognition programs and sales contests; coaching and supervision; and the company's culture or values. Remember, your company policies on these areas influence behavior.
 
·   Compensation. Your company's compensation plan attracts specific types of salespeople, types of sales activities, and behavior. For example, salespeople who are content in getting their monthly sales commissions but not interested in moving up to a higher position in the organization will tend to favor a commission-based scheme. A compensation plan that rewards profitable sales and satisfied customers will elicit a different set of activity or behavior versus a scheme that purely rewards attainment of sales targets.
 
·  Performance evaluation. Most performance evaluation practices are focused on the results (e.g., sales revenue, profit, market share) rather than process. Winning sales teams focus on performance areas with long-term impact in the organization such as knowledge, skills, competencies, values, activities and behavior of the salesperson.
 
In this more challenging market, companies need relevant and more focused mechanism in designing a winning sales team - a team that effectively generates sustainable revenues, efficiently manages costs, is adaptable to evolving situations and has flexibility to change quickly. Remember, great sales teams are not accidental.


Bong Macasaet III is partner and chief distribution strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net). For inquiries, please e-mail info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88.


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