As the saying goes, a company is only as good as the people it keeps. This certainly applies when it comes to your sales team. With sales revenue the heart and soul of a business and the most critical component of its success, it follows that building a high-performing sales team will help organizations achieve their goals and generate profit.
You need to hire staff with the right set of talents to deliver your targets. They should be teachable, complement each other’s skills, and match your own drive and motivation. While assembling your ‘dream team’ will begin during the recruitment process, it continues throughout the employee lifecycle.
Creating and hiring for key roles and the way you structure your staff will have a huge impact on their success. Read on for more information on the top sales team roles you’ll need to ensure your team’s success.
What is a Sales Team?
Before you start assigning roles, it’s essential you know what a sales team is and how it’ll function within your business. Put simply, a sales team is responsible for selling your company’s products or services. Your team will work together towards sales targets with the ambition of increasing profitability while creating and maintaining customer relationships.
Building an effective sales team is a skill in itself. Sales teams will comprise numerous staff, each with varying roles and responsibilities. Depending on the size of your organization, teams will range in scope from a handful to hundreds of roles. No matter the size, they should function together to perform at least the following: prepare sales plans, source and identify leads, conduct research, make sales, handle sales issues, and build customer relationships.
In order to achieve a high conversion rate, improve profit, and retain customers, you’ll need a team that can manage the above functions with ease. This requires recruiting from broad talent pools and structuring your team to align with your company’s unique operations and ambitions.
What are Sales Titles?
Sales titles describe the job responsibilities of each member of your team. These can range from salesperson all the way up to sales director, the individual that manages the department. Depending on the size of your business, there may be several divisions within your sales team and multiple people with the same job titles.
Creating a winning sales process starts with identifying the key roles you’ll need to assign within your department. It’s important to identify which jobs will be essential for your team. For example, organizations that sell across regions will require area managers, while local businesses will not. And there are multiple roles that are crucial no matter the size or scope of your business, like sales managers and account executives.
When assigning sales titles, you should also keep in mind your business responsibilities. Just like with your other internal business processes, the COSO framework principles should underline your hiring targets. This means prioritizing competence and employee development, hiring qualified individuals, and providing ongoing training.
How to Hire Your Sales Team
Define your Sales Process
Assigning roles within your team starts with defining your sales processes, i.e., the repeatable actions that your sales team takes to turn a prospective customer into a buyer. Consider the steps your organization takes to convert customers and prioritize roles based on this.
Look for Internal Hires
Prior to embarking on a recruitment process, it’s worth considering how to grow your business with internal hiring. Often, sales hires with existing experience in your organization, its culture, growth targets, brand, etc., have a shorter learning curve and save costs.
Standardize Your Hiring System
A simple, standardized system should improve the efficiency of your recruitment process and help to compare candidates more objectively. Consider a set list of interview questions and determine a standard passing criterion.
It’s worth noting that standardization shouldn’t stop at hiring but is integral to the wider efficiency of your organization and your sales team. Alongside recruitment, simplify procedures like onboarding, your market research processes, payroll service, and product development.
10 Essential Sales Team Roles
Start planning your sales team by considering these ten essential roles:
There’s no sales team without a sales director. This person is responsible for the strategic leadership of the team. They manage all operations, draft sales reports, and make sure the department is meeting its targets.
The sales director should be an experienced person, capable of managing a large team and planning for the future of the company. They’ll propose the direction your sales force takes and construct a personal brand for your department.
Sales Team Leader
Sales leaders manage teams within the sales department. Roles will vary depending on the size of your company, but generally, they’ll oversee their sales team and report back to the sales director. Duties often include recruitment, training, and setting targets and deadlines.
A sales ops manager should have great interpersonal and project management skills. Their task is to keep the sales operation running smoothly, with an eye towards growth. Duties can include improving forecasting, monitoring independent performances within the sales team, and maintaining sales tools like AI and automation.
Area managers will organize your sales teams positioned in various regions, typically at brick-and-mortar stores. They’ll assume overall responsibility for their given location and perform duties much like a sales team leader. Their goal is to hit targets, stay within budget, and motivate their frontline teams.
With modern technology, there are lots of ways to expand your sales teams without having to set up in local regions. For example, you might forgo area managers and task sales managers with organizing remote teams via cloud-hosted online technologies.
An account executive is in charge of building and maintaining customer relationships. Their role involves creating accounts for new customers, collecting payment details, negotiating contracts, and often researching potential new clients. An account executive will typically come in to close a deal that has been set up by sales account managers.
Sales Account Manager
Sales account managers provide customer service. They oversee sales activities and are responsible for managing customer accounts to ensure they remain satisfied. A primary aim here is to generate new sales opportunities, so this role is best suited to experienced staff with skills in both sales and customer support.
Additionally, effective sales account managers should be well-versed in leveraging technology to enhance customer interactions, including point-of-sale systems, which play a crucial role in capturing and processing customer transactions efficiently.
Business Development Representative (BDR)
A BDR is essentially an outbound salesperson. Their main task is to source business for your company. This involves prospecting through existing company accounts and generating totally new leads. Business development representatives are right for companies that have a particular focus on growth. They will research new market opportunities and are often some of the most motivated and results-driven members of sales teams.
Sales Development Representative (SDR)
Unlike a BDR, sales development representatives are inbound salespeople. They focus on sales prospecting and moving their leads down the pipeline rather than closing deals. They’ll reach out to new customers and then pass them on to sales executives.
SDRs leverage various tools and strategies, including email campaigns, phone calls, and social media tools, to engage with potential clients and nurture leads. The role of an SDR can be quite grueling, so it’s best to assign this position to your most resilient team members. They need to be talented at customer outreach, coachable and have strong time management and organizational skills.
Sales executives make up the backbone of your sales team. More junior than sales representatives, their main tasks are to research prospects and generate leads. Good sales executives will take the initiative to promote products and services to clients and will negotiate contracts with the aim of maximizing potential profit.
Sales executives will often work on commission and, therefore, be more motivated to generate sales. Alongside being competent salespeople, they should be capable of handling customer queries and complaints. The sales executive is mostly an entry-level position, which makes it a great stage to spot talent and promote from within.
Apprentices and Interns
A sales apprentice, intern, or trainee is likely to be straight out of school or college and hoping to learn and gain experience in the industry. Their roles will involve shadowing more senior members of your team, sitting in on client meetings, and performing the easiest sales tasks.
Although not responsible for increasing company profit, it’s crucial to invest in staff at this stage and make them feel like valuable members of the team. The better their experience, the more likely they are to stay with your company or apply for future job openings. Recruiting from internships ensures you acquire talent before your competitors.
Remember that interns must be treated with the same level of professionalism and duty of care as your regular employees. This means ensuring their health and safety and letting them participate in employee rewards and, if available, an employee wellness program.
Recruit a Strong Sales Team Today
A high-performing sales team is a critical component when it comes to meeting revenue targets. Consider the roles above and assign your team based on their skill sets. Your best salespeople should be out there generating leads and profit, while better researchers should be in prospecting and support roles.
Once you’ve assembled your dream team, your work isn’t over. It’s vital that you continue to train and support your staff. Sales is a skill. Your lower-level staff will become essential players in no time with the right coaching and ongoing mentorship. Encourage your team to help each other to meet goals. Camaraderie is key when it comes to sales.