Ever since Jim Collins released the bestseller Good to Great nearly 15 years ago, managers have been borrowing his analogy about “getting the right people on the bus” — to achieve the results that can make a business stellar. Of course, even as Collins further explained in his book, achieving greatness is much more complex than selecting a certain number of outstanding, motivated employees.
When building a sales team that’s able to achieve greatness, consider these 5 tips from various experts about what it takes.
1. Get the wrong people off the bus. OK. This one is from Jim Collins, though it doesn’t seem to be as frequently quoted as his statement about getting the right people on the bus. In his book, Collins says this of great bus drivers: they “start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
However, it seems some sales teams are lagging because they’re not getting the wrong people off the bus. A study released earlier this year by Velocify revealed that mediocre sales teams were more reluctant to fire under-performing sales reps when compared with best-performing sales teams. The lesson? It may not be pleasant, but letting go of sales reps who repeatedly fail to hit quota will be doing you and them a favor. If it’s obvious they’re not in the right seat — and, more than likely, the right bus, make the move to lay them off.
2. Develop an effective sales process. The same Velocify study also revealed that structured sales processes and monitoring were hallmarks of high-performing sales organizations. Not so much with average or underperforming organizations. Your sales process should include customer outreach strategies, determining what makes a lead qualified, and setting up a conversion funnel.
3. Spend more time on the hiring process. Don’t rely on your “ability” to detect great talent. You, in fact, could be hiring your problems, according to Frank V. Cespedes, author of Aligning Strategy and Sales. He says managers are “excessively confident about their ability to evaluate candidates via one or two interviews.”
However, he pointed out, studies show there’s only a 14 percent correlation between what you predicted as a result of interviews and actual job success. Two companies, Procter & Gamble and Met-Life, go a step further by giving sales candidates a 15- to 30-page case study that requires them to review a selling situation, select prospective customers and develop a sales pitch. During the interview, the candidate must explain his or her approach and then role=play a scenario with a trainer or sales manager.
In addition to building out processes and hiring more effectively, great leadership is also key to success. Provide your team with the tools to help them succeed. MonsterConnect, a sales prospecting enablement solution, can help. Contact us for a demo to find out how.