Building a High-Performance Sales Team: A Comprehensive Guide

How can you build a sales team that is competitive? A team that is not only high-performing but also agile, diverse, and productive.

Right now, these might sound like buzzwords, but by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to find, train, and retain a goal-crushing sales team that sticks. 

We’re not going to lie; building a high-performance sales team can be a challenge! It requires a holistic approach that takes into account a myriad of different factors. But we’re confident we can equip you with the information you need to succeed. 

Why? Because we at Martal Group have spent the last 14+ years scouring the globe for top talent and helping them become the best they can be in sales.  

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

💡 Research has consistently shown that the sales experience plays a significant role in customers’ buying decisions. It has been proven that successful companies prioritize both the customer experience and the experience of their sales representatives.

1. Understand Your Sales Team Needs

Understanding your sales team’s requirements, challenges, and goals is vital for their success. Regular communication, feedback sessions, and performance evaluations can help gain insight into their needs. 

Analyzing factors such as product nature, customer preferences, competition, and market trends can determine the most effective sales approach. Tailoring the sales team’s strategy and structure to align with the unique demands of the business is also crucial. 

To maintain efficiency, productivity, and adaptability, the structure of the sales team should be aligned with the scale and growth stage of your business. 

For instance, a lean and agile sales team may be suitable for small startups, while expanding businesses may require more sales representatives, managers, or specialized roles. 

2. Master the Art of Hiring the Right Sales Team

Building the perfect sales team requires a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional recruitment methods. Employers should actively seek out exceptional individuals through various channels to attract potential candidates. 

A balanced sales team with a blend of experience, product knowledge, and soft skills is important. This can lead to more innovative problem-solving approaches and a better understanding of customer needs. 

💡 Keep in mind that embracing diversity in recruitment is also essential for building a high-performing sales team. 

Building a High-Performance Sales Team: A Comprehensive Guide

3. Structure Your Sales Team for Success

Setting up a successful sales team involves the consideration of key roles and sales approaches.

Traditionally, sales teams have a hierarchical structure with a manager overseeing account executives, but this can hinder collaboration. Modern sales team structures, like the pod model, prioritize collaboration and specialization. 

Building a high-performing sales team requires considering key positions. Sales managers play a crucial role in leading and guiding the team, setting targets, and providing coaching. Account executives are frontline representatives who are responsible for building relationships and closing deals. Other positions that may be included in a sales team are appointment setters, sales development representatives (SDRs), and customer success managers.

When it comes to sales approaches, it can be top-down or bottom-up. But the ideal approach combines elements of both, allowing for innovation and flexibility while aligning with business goals.

📝At Martal, our fractional sales teams are segmented into pods of two to three — typically two sales executives, with the occasional SDR for additional support. However, each pod has a sales operations manager overseeing the big picture. We have found that this structure keeps our teams agile while maintaining accountability and structure in the sales process.

4. Employ Effective Onboarding and Sales Training Strategies

A well-organized onboarding procedure helps new employees transition smoothly into their roles, understand the company’s culture and expectations, and leads to higher employee engagement and retention. 

Consistent training and education are key components of an effective onboarding process. New employees should practice scenarios, observe successful interactions, and continuously learn through workshops or online courses. 

Continuous learning through workshops, seminars, or online courses ensures that employees stay updated with industry trends and best practices, enabling them to adapt to changing customer needs and market dynamics.

💡 Customized Training and Tailored Skills: Key Factors Driving Performance 
Leading companies are twice as inclined as “laggards” to customize training based on sales roles. 
Additionally, almost 50% of these top performers dedicate considerable resources to training, in contrast to just over a quarter of underperforming companies. 
McKinsey Sales DNA Survey

📝It typically takes 3.1 months to onboard an SDR, but this timeframe can vary depending on the skill level and experience of the individual. For example, we hire sales professionals with at least three years of B2B sales experience. By combining this hiring strategy with our accelerated onboarding process, we are able to ramp up in two weeks or less. 

5. Optimize Your Sales Process and Workflow 

Optimizing the sales process and workflow requires a combination of targeted strategies, effective tools, and leveraging technology. Creating a well-defined sales process can streamline operations and increase the chances of success. 

Integrating different systems and platforms, such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, lead generation software, marketing automation, and AI-powered databases, can streamline the flow of information and eliminate repetitive tasks.  

📊 According to a study conducted by Salesforce and McKinsey Global Institute, 40% of tasks in traditional sales can already be automated. What’s even more interesting is that this number could surpass 50% in the future, thanks to advancements in technology, especially in natural language processing.

By centralizing customer data, sales teams can easily access and update information, improving communication and collaboration. Integration ensures consistent and up-to-date information across departments, reducing errors and improving efficiency. 

💡 Sales teams typically rely on around ten different tools to successfully close deals.
However, 94 percent of sales organizations plan to streamline their tech stacks in the upcoming year to enhance productivity and efficiency within the sales process.State of Sales Report, Salesforce

6. Set and Track Sales Performance Metrics

Creating and monitoring performance indicators is crucial for measuring and improving sales performance. By establishing clear and transparent Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), businesses can align their sales team towards common goals and objectives. Regularly tracking progress is essential, and this can be achieved through the use of software or tools that automate data collection and reporting. 

By consistently reviewing and analyzing performance indicators, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to drive growth. 

Analyzing data and trends allows businesses to make data-driven decisions and optimize their sales strategies. This involves identifying the most effective sales channels, refining targeting and segmentation strategies, and uncovering potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the sales process. 

7. Design Motivating Compensation and Incentive Models

When designing a compensation model, it’s important to understand the difference between compensation and incentives. 

Effective strategies that organizations can use to reward employees for their performance could include commission-based incentives, implementing motivational strategies, and aligning compensation with customer buying processes and sales targets. 

For sales roles or positions where performance can be directly measured, commission-based incentives can be a powerful motivator. By tying a portion of an employee’s compensation to their sales or performance outcomes, it encourages them to work harder and achieve better results.

It is also vital to align compensation with customer buying processes and sales targets. By designing incentives that encourage employees to focus on selling specific products or achieving desired outcomes, organizations can ensure that employees are motivated to meet the company’s goals and are rewarded accordingly.

8. Ensure Open Communication and Foster a Customer-Centric Culture 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, effective communication is crucial for the success of sales teams. This becomes even more important in remote work scenarios where face-to-face interactions are limited. 

To enhance communication within sales teams, several tactics can be employed, including utilizing technology (such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and free project management software), establishing regular check-ins, encouraging open and transparent communication, and fostering cross-team collaboration.

Creating a sales culture that goes beyond targets and prioritizes the customers’ needs and satisfaction can foster a productive team environment. Such a culture typically includes focusing on customer-centricity, recognizing and rewarding effort, and encouraging knowledge sharing. 

By delivering value and building strong relationships with customers, sales teams can achieve long-term success.

💡 What makes top-performing sales organizations stand out from the rest? 
Successful businesses simplify the buying experience for customers and streamline operations for sales representatives. 
They minimize paperwork, automate tasks, and consolidate essential functions. They also employ skilled individuals who can optimize internal processes. 
McKinsey Sales DNA Survey

Building a High-Performance Sales Team: A Comprehensive Guide

9. Scale Your Sales Team Strategically

Scaling a sales team according to company growth involves hiring new team members with the necessary skills and expertise. Ensure proper and effective integration of new hires. 

Additionally, adjusting the team’s structure and sales strategy to adapt to the changing needs of the business is important. This may involve reevaluating roles and responsibilities, reallocating resources, or implementing new processes or technologies. 

Hire a fractional sales team to drive sales 

Considering the possibility of hiring a fractional sales team can be particularly beneficial for B2B companies looking to enhance their outbound sales strategies. 

📈 Salesforce identified a growing trend in which companies outsource parts or the entire sales process. Automation advancements allow third-party vendors to handle the entire sales value chain, from generating demand to acquiring and fulfilling customers. 

Fractional sales teams are external consultants or agencies that specialize in sales and can provide expertise and support on a part-time or project basis. These sales outsourcing companies understand target segments and use big data to identify leads and market to different segments. 

This can be a cost-effective solution for companies that may not have the resources or expertise to build and manage a full-time sales team. Fractional sales teams can bring fresh perspectives, industry knowledge, and proven strategies to help drive sales growth and expand the company’s customer base.

Building a Sales Team That Rocks: Key Takeaways 

To summarize, remember these guidelines for creating a high-performing sales team that achieves success:

  • Assess your business model and target market to align the team structure with the scale of your business. 
  • Balance experience, product knowledge, and soft skills when recruiting new members for your sales team. 
  • Adjust the structure of your team, define roles, and find a balance between top-down and bottom-up sales approaches to maximize efficiency. 
  • Implement a structured onboarding process and ensure continuous training and education for your sales team. 
  • Utilize essential tools for efficiency to streamline sales operations and improve productivity. 
  • Use analytics to establish clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and regularly track and report on them to fine-tune the sales process. 
  • Align compensation with customer buying processes and sales targets to motivate and incentivize your sales team effectively. 
  • Foster a sales culture that goes beyond quotas by promoting regular and open communication, especially in remote settings. 
  • Adapt the team structure and strategy as the company evolves and consider hiring a fractional sales team to help drive growth and enhance outbound strategies.

Looking to scale your tech company efficiently? 

 A common question sales leaders have is, “How do I reduce costs while consistently attracting new customers?” Look no further than outsourcing sales

By entrusting your sales efforts to a dedicated team, you can minimize the risk of wasting valuable resources on a slow and ineffective ramp-up process. With an outsourced sales team, you can have knowledgeable, professional individuals who can hit the ground running in a matter of days, not months. Outsourcing can help you reduce employee training costs and turnover, shorten sales cycles, and provide a cost-effective approach to customer acquisition.

Discover the perfect solution to achieve your sales targets and scale your business effectively by partnering with an outsourced sales partner.

Vito Vishnepolsky
Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group