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Growing a High-Performance Sales Team

Picture of Corinne Thomas

Corinne Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

How can you grow high-performance sales teams? We talk to ethical sales leaders to learn from their expertise and experience

Growing high-performance sales teams is a challenge.

In our recent ‘lunch and learn webinar, we welcomed three industry experts who offered valuable advice based on their many years of experience that they hold. 

Jon Williams is the Chief Commercial Officer at Zedify, a company that works towards decarbonising the last mile of home delivery through their 10 UK Hubs and fleets of electric cargo bikes. 

Nadia Watts is the Operations Director at Professional Sales Academy. She focuses her time as a consultant on growing and enabling salespeople to perform at their best. 

Jordan Bamford is the CEO at Sustainable2 which is a platform of vetted green suppliers to help businesses on their journey to net-zero.

Corinne, our Managing Director, asked the panelists three questions, resulting in an hour of interesting discussion and thought-provoking insights. 

Read on to find out how to tackle those inevitable sales challenges. Learn about the best approach to growing high-performance sales teams, and what to focus on to make it happen!

Growing a high performance sales team

What sales growth and team resourcing challenges are you experiencing right now?

The simple truth is, that the only way to modernize your sales organization is to hire the top talent in your industry. Thus Jordan Bamford opened the conversation by saying that in this post-pandemic world salaries for salespeople have gone through the roof .”If we want to go to senior sales managers and head of sales roles the market cost is so high…as a start-up, how do we keep up with this inflation?”  

Inflation is one of the biggest issues, with increased competition for high-level salaries. One of the most daunting challenges today is to compete with other companies in the space. To offer adequate salaries, and still maintain a healthy profit margin.

Jon Williams brought up the subject of location and the emerging decentralized organization. He talked about the challenges of where to place employees for the best effect. “What makes someone the right person? Understanding the local business economy and finding individuals who are tuned into that. And where our people should be as a UK-wide organization.”

Jon also noted that the biggest challenge is knowing when to add resources to the team. “We have aggressive growth ambitions and so it’s when to add resources which is the crystal ball gazing we need to do.”

Common thoughts

All panelists agreed that the move to virtual sales can be quite challenging because the in-person element we were familiar is fading fast.

Nadia highlighted the importance of the growth and investment mindset. “Investment in someone’s personal development is one of the top two attributes that attract someone to come and work for you”All panelists agreed with Nadia’s closing statement.It’s about the attitude and behaviour that they bring”. 

How are you currently organizing your sales team and their activities to support your business growth goals?
Growing a high performance sales team

While there is no one size fits all approach to success, our panelists had a few pieces of advice for how you can grow your business and increase your revenue. Firstly, have structure. Implement segmentation to ensure that you are meeting the needs of multiple customers, not just the majority of them. Focus on retention and growth. Lastly, create a long-term strategy.

The way Zedify is structured is about retention and growth, it’s about adding rather than replacing. Jon highlights that: “‘We are in a tough marketplace….we are decarbonizing that process but fairly often we’ve got a number of “sales” to make for a number of people. We’ve got to win the hearts of the sustainability and marketing people but offer the prices that people expect”. He explains the complexity of the business and that the team has a linear approach. “We are all on the same side and shooting for the same goal!”

Jordan brings up the importance of segmentation and how it is key for the business: We segment everything, marketing and sales need to have a joined-up approach”. He mentions the importance of having laser focus when you are on the path of growing a business. He explains how he leveraged the kickstart scheme to bring new talent to his team.

Nadia agrees with all that has been said by Jordan and Jon and mentions the challenges she faced at the Institute of Sales Professionals. “As an organization, we need corporate partners. Nobody knew about what we were doing and we had to articulate our value proposition, and look after our key customers.”

What do you think makes a high-performance sales team and how are you aiming to achieve this at your organization?

Growing a high performance sales team

Nadia’s top tips for leading a high-performance sales team are clarity, communication, and consistency. Add to that strong leadership and you have the winning formula for success. “Teams can’t collaborate if they don’t communicate well with each other”.

She makes a strong point saying that teams can’t collaborate if they are not consistent and don’t communicate well with each other. “How we behave as leaders will set the tone for a high-performance sales team”.

In terms of building up trust with your team, Jon highlights the importance of treating everyone like grown-ups. “We can’t get together as often as office-based organisations can but we do a daily stand-up as much as we can. Keeping everyone facing in the same direction and that they are part of something.”

He brings up product knowledge and the importance it holds: Product knowledge is key, ensure that salespeople are familiar with the operational side of the business if necessary.”

As the business grows, Jordan says that he considers everyone should be an entrepreneur. “We started as a remote business, we operate as a hybrid business…..I believe everyone should be an entrepreneur. A high-performance sales team should have that trust and that KPI setting. If you trust someone to do the job and they might actually do it.”

Did you find these insights useful?

Watch the full 1 hour webinar to fully understand how you can start growing high-performance sales teams.

We also covered:

– Why a multi-channel approach to sales team activities is recommended

– Leadership tips and strategies for managing your team

– Why you should consider recruiting for attitude, not market experience.