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Sales Team: How to build one successfully in six easy steps

To build a sales team comprising of smart and dedicated salespeople is crucial for businesses. Yet, finding these dedicated salespeople is not that easy!

A sales manager will face many complications and hurdles while trying to build a sales team. It’s all part and parcel of today’s modern business.

You might initially find a few deals or maybe, just maybe, land a big client! Yet, we would like to inform you that such feats can never be left to destiny or fate.

Managing a business is not a game of chance. You will build your business and scale it with

  • being persistence
  • competence
  • taking risks at the right time
  • with a great sales team

Luck is just a favor, and favors have a tendency to run out on you!

As a business owner, we are sure, your dream is to build an empire someday. For that dream to come true, you will need a strong customer base.

Sales is the revenue engine. If you build a sales team successfully, it adds to the inner component. A well-executed sales hiring process helps build a sales team that will seamlessly execute strategies for fueling your revenue. And a great sales leader already knows these facts.

Your competitive team of skillful and good salespeople will not just help in accelerating the growth but also help you build an exemplary business in the product market.

In this article, we will be pointing out the crucial 6 steps on how to build a sales team successfully.

When you must build a sales team?

Before we get to the ‘when’ let’s explain the ‘why’?

The answer is quite simple, you need the right combination of resources if you want your business to thrive.

In a startup, understanding the need for having a functional sales team often evades from the business owner’s thought process.

When you’re running your startup, it’s not always clear when your business is ready to bring in a talented salesperson in your sales team.

The task of making successful sales, in addition to every other business task, falls upon the founders. 

This is where we will help you understand ‘when’ to build your sales team.

If you notice any of these signs in your daily business process, gear up for hunting the salespersons:

  • You have been receiving positive reviews for your product/service from your current customers.
  • Your product or service is in high demand.
  • You are garnering high favors from your customer’s and the lead generation is more than you can handle at present.

If most of the points mentioned above are included in your checklist, then we would advise you to build a sales team that is competitive and hunts for every opportunity.

Here are a few steps you must follow for creating your pool of salespersons.

How to start building your sales team?

Every salesperson will become part of your ‘first assembles’.

The core group that will comprise of salespeople who are going to assist you in selling your products and services to a broader network of customers.

You can say that these hires will become the founding members of your sales department. 

You must hire salespeople who easily understand and adapt to your business’s goal and also your company’s culture.

If the hiring is not done keeping these points in mind, your business will incur hefty hiring expenses, employee turnover, and lose the grip on those recently acquired customers. 

Here are a few steps to start building your successful sales team.

Step one: Role-based hiring

Decide your sales hiring process based on skills, experience, personality traits. Also, make sure you have a clear vision of the role you want them to play in your sales team.

What we are trying to say is that you must hire salespeople who are ready to switch between roles depending on the situation. 

Once your business starts scaling, you can decide if you want to hire a salesperson with varied skillsets and particular specialization.

Specialization enables every salesperson to use their individual skill sets and use it to make more sales for your business. 

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Growing businesses should hire their winning sales team members based on these five key sales roles.

1. The inside sales rep

  • The inside sales reps are responsible for a major chunk of sales. They are the heart of your sales process.
  • These sales professionals are taking follow ups over phone or emails.
  • Inside sales reps are a smart choice for businesses that have just started out with a small team.

2. The outside or field sales rep

  • Field sales reps are typically assigned at a particular location. 
  • These reps spend more time on the field to achieve their sales targets.
  • However, businesses that are eyeing enterprise-level companies, then outside sales reps are the best option for you.

3. The sales development reps (SDR)

  • The primary task of every sales development rep is finding qualified sales opportunities and scheduling meetings and demos with prospects. 
  • They carry out this task by sending out cold emails and making cold calls to prospects. 
  • Top performing sales development reps will always try to keep the flow of qualified opportunities steady, based on your business’s standard rate.

4. The account executive

  • Account executives keep tabs on the existing accounts and hunt for new opportunities for your business.
  • They basically are tasked with all the sales quotas that a business decides for a particular time interval.
  • Your business account executives research prospect goals and their pain points.
  • Based on this research, they tailor the offerings for individual prospects.
  • The major task of the account executive is to consult with business prospects, negotiate contracts, and identify up-selling opportunities.

5. The sales engineer

  • Also known as pre-sales engineers and solution architects.
  • They are familiar with all the technicalities related to the product or service a business is offering. 
  • The best part about them is that their technical knowledge allows them to sharpen their sales pitch. 
  • Their technical knowledge and selling skills make them the perfect choice for businesses that are looking to sell top-end yet complex solutions to their prospects. 
  • Having sales engineers in your sales team allows you to deliver personalized demos where the sales engineer can easily highlight your product’s USP to your prospects. 

Step two: Advertisement for attracting sales talent

Businesses looking forward to building a great sales team include their particular expectations and skill requirements.

Businesses looking to pool in the best sales talent must draft their job description in such a manner that it appeals to the salespeople looking for jobs. 

You can kickstart the job description in this manner:

  • “We are looking for a sales engineer at ABC Pvt. Ltd. who can navigate the sales while balancing the technical terminologies and ensuring the prospects get the layman side of the sales pitch.”
  • “If you have a past record of selling SAP to retail stores, then we need you as our field sales rep.”

Personalize your sales job listing if you are looking to expand your sales team. 

  • “We want an inside sales rep who is not just a smart seller but also a team player and can balance between personal and organizational revenue goals.”
  • “We will be really excited to have a competitive and reliable sales development rep in our team to boost the revenue.”

Business owners must keep in mind the traits they want in a sales rep to make their sales team productive and successful.

Step three: Screening candidates

No matter at what capacity your business works, be it a large or small scale, time is important for all of them.

Screening the candidates before scheduling their interviews is really important. 

Test the candidates over a quick phone call before calling them over for an interview.

Plan your phone calls with your candidates in such a way that it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time.

Doing so allows you to get a brief idea regarding the candidate’s overall selling personality, his or her ability as a quick-thinker, and their ability to develop rapport.

Screening candidates allows you to save much more time and identify the top candidates early in your selection process. 

Apart from the calling option, you can always send them a good-old email.

Emailing the candidates a list of preliminary questions allows you to judge their written communication skills and their level of email etiquette.

The written screening process lets you see how much effort the candidates are putting into the answers and helps you learn how much interested they are to get the job.

Step four: Interview of the selected candidates

The screening process must always be brief yet help you understand the psyche of the candidates.

The interviews must be detailed because you do not want to waste your time, and you also want to make sure that you’re hiring the right person.

Involve the two best or the oldest salesperson from your core sales team while you are taking interviews.

Doing so allows you to remove any kind of bias on your end.

Have a repeatable interview process that helps you derive benchmarks for future hires.

Create an interview question bank. 

Include varied questions in this question bank so that you can completely understand the candidate’s true selling skills.

Create a scoring system and let your interviewers share their ratings freely.

Doing so will allow your interviewers to determine which candidate fits the description of your ideal sales candidate. 

This will also help you understand their personality and the reason which drives them to be in this profession. 

For instance;

Pose your questions based on the daily encounters your sales team is having with prospects. 

  • See how the candidates are responding to the objections. 
  • Take a closer look at how their negotiation tactics are. 
  • Identify the reason that drives them into making a sale or closing a deal.
  • Is there technical knowledge at par with your product’s features?

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Have various stages set in your interview process.

Keep one stage as a demo stage where you test how well your selected candidate is able to give a demo to your sales team members.

These mock demos will allow you to judge how well these sales reps will be able to explain your product or service. 

Step five: Making a job offer to the candidate

Once the interview stage is over, you will have a list of the candidates that passed your test.

Have a clear discussion with your team regarding the selected candidates and try to find out what the interviewers actually think about them. 

Once you all come to a unanimous decision regarding the best of the best, make the call and follow-up the with a written offer.

Use this opportunity to highlight all the benefits the candidate will have while working with your company.

Negotiation is part and parcel of the sales process, right!

The same is going to happen when you make the final offer to your ideal candidate.

Be patient and let them know you will wait for their response if they ask for some time to think over your offer. 

Step six: Onboarding new sales reps

Have we reached the last stage or not? 

Pheww!!! See, hiring a successful sales team is really a lengthy process.

You must make sure that your time and resources do not get wasted while onboarding the new recruits. 

Allow the sales reps to learn the ropes of your sales process. Help them to learn the basic requirements your client base might have.

Small businesses use CRM software to make their sales teams more productive and efficient.

Let them learn the sales tools that you’re using to make ends meet. 

Plan the first 90 days of your new hire’s employment in such a manner that half the days are dedicated towards learning, and the other half is spent on applying the learning into real sales deals and selling situations.

Keep a tab on the learning curve of your new hires for the first 90 days. 

Keep communicating with them and know how they are performing during the ongoing coaching.

Make sure they get enough time to know what your product is or how your services actually work for the target audience.

Have them learn more about your organization’s sales strategies and their business goals.

Create a well-structured and result-oriented onboarding process for your new hires and make sure it is productive towards your sales cycle.

Creating a motivating pay structure

There is no denying in the fact that businesses start doing what they do for one simple yet clear motive; generating profit.

The same goes for every top sales professional out there.

They make a living off of selling your product and services.

This is the sole reason your pay structure must be able to motivate them to make more sales. 

Keep these basic rules in mind while you plan the pay structure for your sales reps. This is the foundation of your sales team. 

1. Easy to understand 

Whether you give commissions, bonuses, or combine them into an exciting package, don’t make it seem too complicated for the sales reps.

  • Create an open-ended bonus structure that your sales reps can clearly understand.
  • It gives them the right course of action. In addition to that, it helps bifurcate their energy and resources in achieving sales goals.
  • Clearly chalk out the process of achieving bonuses and commissions in front of the sales reps.

2. No ‘if’ or ‘but’ for bonus and commission

  • Don’t limit the amount a rep can earn in a time interval.
  • Doing so will limit their motivation for the same time interval.

Create a bonus structure that will allow your sales reps to maximize their earnings which in turn will increase your company’s sales too. 

3. Keep it dynamic

Keep your commissions in line with the basic salary and bonus structure so that it does not demotivate the sales rep.

  • Trial and error have always been part of the commission game.
  • Commissions are generally earned based on the sales your sales reps make at one go.
  • There are many hit and miss situations that are not in their control. 

A sales CRM for building your sales team

For every business, setting up a sales team is the first step in their journey towards success. 

Startups need sales reps that are 

  • flexible with time spent on-field or on-site for achieving sales targets, 
  • self-motivated towards making the most of their selling time 
  • grab all the sales opportunities that come their way

As your organization grows and you start getting mature as a business, it’s time to bring in the specialists of specific functions that are involved in the sales process.

With more moolah, comes the opportunity of increasing the revenue that will bring in more moolah. 

Be it a startup, mid-level enterprise, or an organization that has established itself as a business giant, every one of them needs a sales tool.

Sales CRM in this modern business era has used the technology advancements to make the life of sales reps easy.

Sales intelligence software today offer

  • seamless integration with third-party productivity tools
  • built-in telephony
  • workflow automation
  • sales pipeline management and much more

Thinking about how a sales CRM can help you manage and automate your recruitment? Use Salesmate CRM’s 15-days free trial and explore its various features to find that out.


A writer with an uncommon funny bone and a knack for perfection, Saptarshi loves to write about anything that can be of help to businesses, people, and dogs! A true human at heart, he likes to spend most of his time researching the internet to find ways technology is influencing our daily life (positively).

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