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What Is a Sales Team?
A sales team is the department responsible for meeting the sales goals of an organization. Led by the sales manager, this department consists of sales representatives, sales specialists, and customer service representatives who work in tandem to meet daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals. The personnel in this department focus on sales generation, customer acquisition and retainment, and business growth. A sales team can range in scope from a handful of roles to hundreds of team members, depending on the company’s size.
What Are the Roles on a Sales Team?
A sales team can feature any number of roles—here are some of the most common:
- Sales manager: The sales manager oversees and guides the sales team—hiring and training new team members, driving sales, managing the budget, establishing sales goals, evaluating their team’s performance, and addressing performance-related issues.
- Assistant sales managers: Bigger organizations may add an assistant sales manager to the sales team to support the sales manager with team management. This position serves as a liaison between the sales manager and the sales force.
- Account executives: Account executives, also known as sales reps, are the core of the team—they speak directly with the clients to make sales. Sales reps can do their work door-to-door, virtually, over the phone, at conventions and shows, or through a combination of approaches.
- Customer success representatives: A common role on a sales team is a customer success representative (or customer service representative). The focus of this position is customer retainment. Customer service reps reach out to existing customers to renew sales and follow up on previous transactions. This position prioritizes existing customers, allowing the sales reps to focus on making new sales.
- Sales specialists: Many sales teams include sales specialists who are trained experts on all facets of the product or service. When a customer has a difficult question or a complex issue, a salesperson can pass them over to a sales specialist, who can help them resolve any product-related issues.
How to Build a Sales Team
There are many factors to consider when building a great sales team. Whether you’re just starting a new business or have decided to implement a formal sales team into your current organization, here’s how to craft the perfect sales team:
- Decide your sales values. Before posting job openings, you need to determine the expectations for your sales force. Do you want immediate sales regardless of the sales strategy, or do you want your salespeople to develop long-lasting relationships with customers to create a longer sales cycle? Are there particular products or services that take priority over other products, or should your salespeople sell whatever they can? Do you want your salespeople to focus on a specific audience? Would you like your salespeople to work door-to-door or engage with customers by phone or email? Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of the type of sales force you need to build.
- Choose the right scale for your business. Sales teams can consist of a few sales reps or hundreds of employees in different roles, depending on the company’s size. Allow your company’s size and needs to dictate the size of your sales force. If you have a small business, consider hiring one rep who can make sales calls based on your qualified leads and prospecting. As the business grows, you can continue to hire more roles for this department. If your business can support a larger team, start by hiring a sales manager, several sales reps, and a customer service rep.
- Start hiring. Once you’ve determined your sales values and the size of your salesforce, you can commence the hiring process. If you’re adding a sales manager to the team, consider hiring this position first so they can help you hire and train their sales reps. To hire, look internally for any current employees who might be perfect for a sales position. These employees are already familiar with the business, the culture, and the product, making it easier to train them for this position. You can also ask your employees, colleagues, and friends for referrals to find a good fit or advertise with a local college to appeal to recent college graduates.
- Spend time on training. Even if you hire the perfect sales reps for the team, you will need to devote time to training them for the role. Every company approaches sales in their own unique way, so your new hires must understand your company’s values, culture, and overall expectations for their particular role. If you’ve also hired a sales manager, work with them to create a comprehensive training program that they can use to train the entire team during onboarding.
- Track the team’s sales performance. Once your sales team starts selling, you’ll need to monitor their performance. Meet with your sales manager to analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) in your customer relationship management tool (CRM), from the average sales revenue per salesperson to their individual sales statistics. If certain sales leaders are outperforming others, try to determine a rationale for this deviation in performance. Are the sales territories unevenly distributed, or do your sales professionals need additional training on your ideal sales process? Your sales manager should also partner with your top performers for any key insights that they can share with the rest of the team to boost overall performances and generate more revenue for your company.
- Consider adding other sales departments. Once your sales force is up and running, you can establish other sales departments to generate additional revenue. Larger sales organizations include teams like