Building Your First Sales Team? Here Are Five Things You Need to Know

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Congratulations you made it. You’re a manager now and you need to draft your first team of sales representatives. It’s your first time building a sales team. You put up a job posting and the application’s come in. One candidate is a seasoned Sales Development Representative that has worked a year in this field before. However, the details of his leaving that company raise several questions and the hair on the back of your neck. Alternatively, you have a fresh-eyed novice straight out of college with presumed eagerness and ambition, but lacks the field testing in both actionable ability and prolonged persistence in such a role.

How do you do it? Where do you start? What qualities should you look for? What does any of this mean? Oh, man. Don’t worry. Building your first sales team. Here are five things you need to know.

Know Your Goal

This is everything. A team, while it is composed of sentient and autonomous people, it ultimately does serve as an instrument with which a goal may be accomplished. Remember your team can appear for a multitude of reasons; they like the work, they like the company, and they share in your vision. Whatever. Regardless of whatever it may be, they’re going to expect money in their account on a semi-weekly basis.

If your employees don’t care about getting paid then what you might have is a cult and you may be working in the wrong industry. But, if your team is like what I can only hopefully imagine is 99.99% of the rest of the world, they will want money.

This is where you need to keep them to the goal. By knowing what that goal is, you can set up a team that is both passionate about it, and work toward it with some degree of autonomy. Finding people who are passionate about their work is always a good rule of thumb.

Beyond this make sure that they are willing to ascribe to the vision or goal. As well as your individual take and approach to it. Whether that is through their appreciation for the work, pride in the job they do, money that you are paying them, or loyalty you have instilled inside them.

Culture First

This is mapping out one of the intangibles. Company culture precedes any of the work that you will be doing. Anything that comes out of the company will start within that company be it a product, or a service. This is the mentality of the company, and now with a team of your own, you can decide the nature of that team. 

Culture is what will govern your team when you are unable to. You are one person, and at a specific point, your team will begin to drive and furthermore business than you. By hiring based on the culture you can effectively pre-co-sign the decisions of the company. Think about the story of the Three Little Piggies. What you chose to build your house with will in turn have an effect on the ability of that house to reach its specific goal.

Find people that share a common outlook and will easily adopt your goals. By setting the stage with a similar culture and emotional baseline, you can confidently begin to extrapolate to strategy.

Find the Right People

The best part about a sales team and position in the modern age is that they are largely geo-independent. With commonplace technologies of our time salespeople are free to work remotely and more importantly come from anywhere.

As the team builder, this allows you to remove location as a barrier and thus put greater emphasis on elements that are harder to find and target in a team. Attitude, opinions, demeanor. All the little things that go into a culture. You can coach strategy. You cannot coach attitude. Do not be afraid, based on your company’s barriers to reach into unconventional areas to find the team that best suits your company’s lifestyle and demeanor.

This is informed by the goal, which shapes the culture, and the culture ultimately helps set the prerequisite criteria for the qualities and attitude of your team. Look for the things that are the hardest to instill in your community and then partner and cross that with the traits that are the most necessary and most valuable.

Understand Your Hiring Priorities

Your team is an instrument, intended to be set toward a task that it must complete. This means you as the team lead, get to place priorities on making your hire. If you are in a big company there is likely some level of involvement coming down from the top, however, it is your team at the end of the day.

Know what you seek to have around you and work with on a daily basis. For this reason, many people hire for culture over even attitude and attitude over skills. However, if you are in desperate need of action maybe skills take precedence given the time of training and gamble of unclear on the untested’s industry mettle. 

Regardless, having your situation and circumstances clear and your priorities recognized, will better align you with the appropriate people. Whether that be on the basis of culture, outlook, skills, or coachability.

Know the Industry’s Climate

The world is always changing, and always growing. A new piece of technology can revolutionize and change an industry. Likewise, the often subsequent “spiritual death” of another medium can once again, albeit less often, change an industry. In sales understanding, the current market informs how you can best organize your sales team. Sales are about understanding and communicating. Additionally, connecting with people. Specifically the right people in the right way. Your team should be able to understand where the world is at and have a thorough enough understanding of the product and the climate to reach out and connect with the individuals you want to buy into your product. 

Find the right team that can become an inverse mirror of your client. The one that understands and reflects the pain. Yet the team that offers the solution. Find people on your team that are distinct enough in their talents and lifestyle and approach that the team can balance itself out fully and also be enough in tune with each other that they always agree on the baseline and don’t eat each other alive.

The main aspect of recruiting is perspective. Find and connect with people who all agree on what needs to be done but are unique and distinguished enough in their ways they can all bring new solutions to the table to accomplish that.

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