14 keys to building your sales team.

Many larger companies deal with a friendly – or not so friendly – rivalry between sales and marketing, each of which believes it holds the key to the enterprise’s success. It’s, however, a little like asking whether a heart or brain is more important to your survival: no company can do without either a sales or a marketing team.

The reality with most small businesses though, is that a handful of people – or even just you – wears many hats, sales and marketing being just two.


When it comes to sales, as your organization grows, you’ll want to start giving thought to building a well-defined team. And entrepreneur, Dharmesh Shah, has developed several keys to help you do just that, including:

1. You don’t need sales people, you need sales. Don’t get caught up in fancy titles, he says, focus on dollars in the door.

2. Don’t hire several sales people at once. Your goal is to figure out the “pattern” of what kinds of people are best based on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.

3. Resist the temptation to create complicated compensation plans. Start simple.

4. Agile methodologies can work in sales. Refine your demo script, slides and collateral. Capture the lessons learned by the best-performing people and spread it to the rest.

5. Always connect incentives to ultimate customer happiness – not just rewards for getting deals done.

6. Understand the economics of your business. Figure out your total cost per customer acquisition – including sales people, marketing people and marketing campaigns.

7. Your pricing should be in line with your sales structure. For example, you can’t expect to have an outside sales force that meets with customers in person if your average deal size is only $10,000. The math won’t work.

8. Start watching the shape of your “funnel.” How many leads are you getting a month? How many turn into opportunities? How many are converted into paying customers?

Adds Ann Damani-Mckinney, of Conceivable Solutions : “Team building is huge for creating a great sales team. You want to create desire and excitement; however, be careful not to create a cut-throat environment if you want long-term success.”

And click here for 9 more marks of a great sales department.

What successes or hurdles can you share about building your own sales force?

By Adam

July 19, 2010