Congratulations! If you're reading this, there's a chance your company is growing exponentially in sales, and you need help figuring out how to scale your sales team properly. Well, this is the place to be! And this guide can also be used for sales teams that haven't had that major step yet of their business taking off.
Every business needs advice. When the time comes that your product does go up in demand, you'll know exactly how to approach your business model effectively.
Scaling a sales team is the process of enabling and supporting the growth of your company and growing without being hindered, which requires planning, funding of the proper systems, staff, and partners. But why is it so important? Let's say your product is super high in demand, and your business is taking off. Suppose you continue running it with the same amount of people as you were when it was starting up. In that case, you will fall behind and not accommodate your new customers or beat competitors, leaving your business to ultimately fail.
But, don't stress!
We won't let that happen, as long as you follow this comprehensive guide that will help lead you through the process of scaling, tips, and tricks, what you should not do, and how firms can help. Let's get started.
The Process of Scaling a Sales Team
There are many steps you need to take in the process of scaling a sales team.
(Side note: This guide is intended to be helpful for businesses or sales teams, but you can also choose to follow the process that suits your business/sales needs best.)
1.) Make an Efficient Sales Process
The first step and the most important is making sure you have a clear and efficient sales process that reps can easily follow. Map this process out, make sure reps are trained and informed how each step works, and follow it every time. Of course, make sure the sales plan also yields significant results. If it doesn't, it might be time to switch up your sales plan. Sales processes can be different for each business, some have 3 steps, while a different business has 10. It's whatever works BEST for you.
Example of a sales process: Sales Pop gives a real-world example of a B2B Software Company that used a sales process approach that led to doubling sales every year in its first three years. Check out their website to find out what steps they took to achieve this. The typical steps in a sales process look like this:
- Find prospects
- Qualify them
- Make contact
- Present your business/product
- Close the deal
- Keep as a customer
Also, make sure your sales process empowers a growing team of leaders and growing demand. It should be easy enough that any new hire can jump in and begin working after quickly learning the sales process and being mentored properly. (We will get more in-depth with this later.)
The steps mentioned above are typical/average steps. There are also major parts to each of a repeatable sales process, including:
- Important KPI's (key performance indicators)
- The pipeline must be clearly defined- a sales pipeline is a visual snapshot of where prospects are in the sales process. Pipelines give data on how many deals salespeople are expected to close in a given week, month, or year and how close a rep is to reaching their sales quota.
- Making sure a lead is a qualified prospect- this is figured out in your pipeline stages. Have it set out what determines a qualified prospect, so reps know who to keep up with during the sales process. (See below for information on qualified prospect characteristics)
2.) Activity-Based Selling Strategy
Once you have your sales process down, it's time to move onto the next step, choosing a strategy that best fits your sales team. The most effective strategy that is utilized across many businesses is activity-based selling.
But what exactly is that?
It's the idea of keeping your focus on the actions that make a sale happen and not the results of the sale or the sale itself. There is, of course, a reason this works so well and why we are recommending you utilize this strategy!
The sales industry can be a very tough field, and if you focus all your time, energy, and resources on making one, it's just not going to yield the results you want. Instead, try focusing all of your energy on an activity-based selling approach. It puts you as the seller in the driver's seat. LinkedIn gives a great 8 step routine to follow to master this type of selling down.
- Understand your goals-what specific actions will result in meeting your goal?
- Know your why- beyond just money, what another personal meaning is behind this business/goal?
- Map your success- take notes when you were successful, take notes when you are not. See if a pattern evolves.
- Tap action resources- use the internet and determine what sales techniques have worked and have not for other businesses. Insight can go a long way.
- Calculate action metrics- know your KPIs (key performance indicators), keep track of them, analyze, and compare data.
- Set weekly and daily action metrics- set a realistic target goal each day and week and track hitting them.
- Take stock- look back at the metrics when the week is over, celebrate what you've accomplished, and look at areas you can improve in.
- Evolve-recognize when and where things are moving better and keep moving forward from that standpoint
3.) Remote Selling Strategy
Don't be closed off to new experiences. Take the coronavirus, for example. The virus shut down the world, and there were no in-person interactions for a long time. Because of this, remote selling gained popularity, and guess what? It worked!
According to Hubspot, 64% of sales reps who invested in remote selling either met or exceeded revenue targets this year. Sales technology is even more prevalent than before. 43% of salespeople were using digital tools in 2020, which's 54% more than 2018. This report shows that to scale you must be willing to move with the times and how important technology is in all types of sales strategies. If you're scaling up, try and think about how you can utilize remote sales in the job.
4.) Choose a CRM
It's time to start looking into areas you can gain more free time and take away the responsibility you once put towards it. Your business is growing. You're scaling up. It's time to evolve with your business.
So, how do you do this, and what exactly is CRM? It stands for Customer Relationship Management.
Simply put, it's the technology and processes that a business uses to manage its contacts and relationships. Examples include email subscribers, sales leads, sales opportunities, customers, and employees. CRM software can help you organize and track relevant information for any prospects, leads, deals, and retaining customer information/data.
This can lead to stronger relationships, increased sales, and make your business more efficient. It also helps your sales team by tracking their performance. If you're a fast scaling company, you need to find a CRM best suited for that. Here's a list of the best CRM softwares to use. Take your time and research to find which one suits your scaling business the best and is up to date with technology and the times.
Follow these steps to the best of your business's ability and see the success it'll bring.
When is the Time to Scale Your Business?
If you're having trouble deciding if it's the right time to start scaling, we have advice on when you should begin.
- Are you turning down potential business opportunities?- If you're turning anything down like new customers due to lack of inventory or employees, it's time to scale up.
- Surpassing current goals- take a look at your current goals. If they are being met or higher than you thought, it could be time to start scaling your business.
- High sales/strong cash flow- demand is high, it's been high, and it's staying high! This is a sure sign you need to scale up.
You may also want to research your business model and try to develop future forecasts before making your decision. But, if any of these three or if all three are happening, it's time.
The Support You Will Need
Your business is growing. You need to scale up with it, so that, of course, means new hires! Let's go over the best way you should start hiring new employees. First, you have to know exactly what you need based on the changes you're making with your sales structure.
Are you looking into the new geographical territory? You'll need to consider where your new location will be and other practical issues like what type of recruits are in your new area, office space, and what types of employees you will need.
Having an efficient and quality hiring strategy is a must. Find one that suits you best, but here's some advice you can follow. Hire the same type of successful salesperson every time. Set criteria you want each new hire to have and make sure they do!
Train new hires consistently, set up a classroom for the first few weeks to a month to learn the basics, test their skills, and shadow salespeople. Finding an effective routine ensures each will be trained to their full abilities. Make sure your sales team is getting the same quantity and quality of leads each month. To sum it up, set a hiring plan and conditions and stick to them. That way, you get the best sales team you can get, and no one gets left behind.
Another helpful piece of advice: learn exactly who you need to hire. You'll need the top three groups of employees (at least) are sales reps, a marketing team, and customer service.
Each is essential for a growing business. The company becomes more complex as it grows bigger, and a marketing team can help deliver a message. Passive elements become more important than before.
You will need content on social media, videos, blogs. So, keep this in mind when you begin your hiring process, know exactly what and who you are looking for to make scaling up that much more productive. Of course, depending on your business and or business model, you may need to hire in more areas like supervisors, account managers, etc.
Who Are Qualified Prospects?
As mentioned above, you need to know who qualified prospects are in your sales process, so you are not wasting time on leads. Here are some characteristics you can look for in potential prospects that you can utilize in your process:
- A need for the product- If your prospect is unsure in any way of what they may need, it could be a potential waste of time. Having a prospect aware means they know they have a problem that needs to be fixed.
- Committing to the purchase- Reps should determine if the prospect can buy and not have to run it through a manager, for example. Make sure the prospect is the person who has the power in the buying decision.
- Sense of urgency- a prospect who is in a hurry is the best prospect. You don't want to play the waiting game.
- Mutual trust- being a salesperson can be intimidating. You're already stereotyped as this annoying, untrustworthy person. Make sure you and your prospect BOTH trust each other and prove it
- Ability to listen/open up- if you're a salesperson, you know how to talk the talk, but does your prospect actually listen? You can usually tell, and if you notice right away they don't care, then neither should you.
Ultimate Tips For Scaling Your Team
So far, this comprehensive guide has covered a lot, but don't stop reading yet because there is still more ground to cover. We want to make sure you understand everything about scaling a sales team. So, here's our best advice and tips for when the time comes.
- Timing, Timing, Timing!
There are dangers of scaling too fast, causing you to spend more than you need and causing you to hire too quickly. Still, if you don't do it fast enough, you can make the growth of your business slower, ultimately leading your company to fall behind. Follow the advice above for growing your team, and do it proactively.
- Track and Forecast Data
Data is everything when scaling up. You NEED to track and forecast data from your sales processes (see above). The most important data that will need to be collected will concern things like, the number of leads/calls coming in, percentage of qualified leads, etc.
- Mentor and Train Teams Constantly
On top of needing a repeatable sales process, you need to make sure you're properly training/mentoring your team. Have seasoned sales reps show new reps how it's done. Bring in sales coaches or trainers to introduce new techniques and strategies.
- Scaling Doesn't Stop
Be prepared for the fact that scaling never sleeps. Yes, it can be scary, but it's also super exciting for any business, so be prepared for the possibility that you could go from 5 employees to 20 to 400! The best advice we can give is just ready and don't stay stuck in the past with old techniques, learn, grow and exceed your own expectations.
Using a Service to Help You Scale
Another option to help scale your sales team is using a service like Mansfield Sales Partners. It's a company that helps grow businesses with sales strategies, find the best one that suits each specific company, and work with them to scale up. Going this route leaves no questions unanswered, lowers your risk, and provides you the best strategy to optimize your business. An example of how they can help is they test and refine your go-to-market strategy until it is delivering results and then they execute on it with their own sales team until you are ready to stand-up your own sales function.
Don't just take our word for it:
"For several years, we have worked with Mansfield to redefine and grow our sales organization. During this time, I have come to rely on the strategic advice and guidance they have provided to help me shape and grow my companies."
-Eric Doubell, Adaptive Corp. & Razorleaf Corp.
Here's a snapshot of Mansfield’s consultative approach to driving sustainable growth for their clients:
- Assess- performing a deep dive into the company to learn about goals, challenges, sales process, team, and past performance. After the diagnosis is complete, a set of recommendations is presented.
- Build-once diagnostics is complete in the sales environment, and improvements are recommended. It's time to get to work. By optimizing your sales engine, team, or tools, it's all hands on deck. After measurements and data are collected, it's time to present a solution designed to produce results you can also measure.
- Deliver- After the build phase, a plan, goals, management system, and sales enablement programs will be delivered. This will help you every step of the way as you set out a new high-performance sales engine as you continue to scale up your sales team.
Using a sales advisor like Mansfield Sales Partners is a great way to reduce your risk, keep you on track, and improve your sales performance.. As we mentioned before, scaling never sleeps. Having all the help you can get in areas that will continue to lead you towards success. You can reach out today and learn how Mansfield Sales Partners can help with the growth of your business.
We hope this comprehensive guide leads you to the success you deserve. The process of scaling can be a difficult and daunting task. However, if you approach it right, it can be done easily and effectively, enabling you to succeed. There are a few things we want you to remember before we say goodbye.
While all the steps we mentioned are important and valuable, make sure the strategy you decide fits your business model best. Every business and product is different. The market and its competitors are different. But, using this guide can still ultimately help put you in a place you need to be before, during, and after scaling (that's why going with an expert like Mansfield Sales Partner can truly be helpful). Remember, timing is everything. You don't want to move too fast, but you also don't want to not move at all!
I know, I know, it's tricky.
But, you will know what's best for your sales team. The four steps given for the process of scaling are SUPER important to follow (in your own capacity), but if you don't have good hires, it'll all be for nothing. Ensure you mentor and coach your employees, train them for success, and follow an effective sales process.
Okay, it's time! You are now ready to scale up your sales team. We wish you the best of luck in your scaling endeavors!