A sales team plays a pivotal role in the sales process of every business. It is responsible for lead generation, deal closure, and, respectively, the revenue that your business generates. And to attain all these goals, it has to be built and organized effectively.
In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about building a top-performing team. Namely, you will learn:
- Why is a B2B sales team important to your business?
- What is the best structure for such teams?
- Who should you hire?
- What are the main keys to creating and managing a successful team?
Why Do Businesses Need a B2B Sales Team?
A B2B sales team is at the heart of every brand. Thus, its importance is hard to overlook or undervalue. But why exactly should your company care about creating a strong team?
Regardless of the size, niche, or products of your business, having a dedicated team of specialists who are building customer relationships, driving engagement, and expanding your customer base is the key to ensuring revenue growth. And that’s the mission of your sales force.
Your B2B sales representatives perform a range of tasks that are critical for scalability and success. They are proactively reaching out to and interacting with new customers to identify if they have a genuine interest in the product or service you are offering. They define what your prospects and existing clients are looking for and help your brand cater to these needs.
Okay, the general role and importance of hiring sales reps are clear. But, why do you need to build an entire team that would focus specifically on B2B sales? The answer is simple. — The more your team is dedicated to specific tasks, the more the likelihood that they will complete them well. Thus, if your brand wants to scale and drive higher revenues, you NEED a team that will focus just on that.
In case you are wondering why to create a separate B2B team if you can bring together your B2B and B2C reps together in a single sales department, the thing is that every sales model requires a different approach. That is, the processes of generating qualified leads and closing deals in the B2C and B2B sectors are quite different. So, if you want to ensure success and maximize revenues, you want to let each of your reps focus on one specific type of customer. So, if you are selling both to regular customers and other businesses, you need to separate teams for that.
Sales Team Structure
Despite a common belief, the actual sales process begins far before you start prospecting, generating leads, and nurturing them to close the deal. It begins with selecting the right specialists to join your B2B sales team. And if you want to drive the sales success for your business, you have to get your sales teams structured well first.
According to the experts from Belkins B2B lead generation agency, there are several common types of a structure applicable to sales teams:
- The Assembly Line — This type of structure divides the sales process into three core stages: Lead Research, Sales Development, and Customer Success. Respectively, it implies dividing your team into dedicated researchers, sales development representatives (SDRs), and customer success team reps.
- The Pod — The next type of sales department structure also divides sales operations into the same three segments. However, it offers more freedom and agility compared with the previous structure type. To be more specific, according to the Pod structure, every group (pod) within your team can include researchers, SDRs, and customer success reps all assigned to a specific client.
- The Island — The last type of sales department structure implies that every independent sales manager is assigned to work with materials, conduct outreach, and then generate, qualify, and nurture leads into customers on their own.
According to Belkins’ experience, the last type of sales organization (The Island) is the least viable in the B2B sector. On the one hand, it implies little management from sales leaders. But, at the same time, the lack of control over the performance of your account executives can cost your business too much.
The Assembly Line and Pod team structures, on the contrary, are much more viable. They can help you ensure higher productivity and efficiency of your team’s work within every stage of the sales cycle.
Nevertheless, eventually, the choice of the right B2B sales team structure gets down to the unique needs and objectives of your business. So, before making the choice, be sure to analyze every structure type carefully and weigh out all pros and cons to identify the structure that will work best for you.
The Split Between SDRs and BDMs
Regardless of the sales team that you choose, there will be two key roles in your team that will have a direct influence on the success and revenue growth of your business. These are an SDR and a BDM.
Both SDRs and BDMs should be included in your team. However, in order to maximize the output and overall performance of the team, the people in these roles must have different KPIs, different tasks, and different areas of focus.
Why should you make the split between the SDRs and BDMs in your sales department? There are two core reasons for that:
- To make the work of the entire team and its separate members more efficient;
- To allow salespeople in these roles to become experts in their particular field and deliver the best outcomes.
Now, how can you define the specific roles of SDRs and BDMs? In order to generate a larger number of business leads and revenue, we recommend splitting these roles in the following way. A Sales Development Representative (or SDR) should focus on creating opportunities and B2B appointment setting. Then, after SDRs prepare the ground for future deals, a Business Development Manager (BDM) should step in. BDMs, in their turn, should get focused on closing deals and generating revenue.
How will this help? Creating this kind of split between your SDRs and BDMs will help you spread the core tasks within your team more efficiently and ensure that they all get done the best way possible. This way, each of your sales reps and managers will have specific outputs, quotas, and metrics, which will enable them to perform at the top of their abilities.
Such an approach is great for the B2B sector and outbound sales. So, if you don’t have a split between your SDRs and BDMs yet, right now might be the right time to change this.
Who You Should Hire?
When hunting for the right people to complete their sales teams, businesses should carefully identify their top objectives and needs to find specialists who can be a perfect fit for each particular role.
You can’t hire just anyone to fill the positions in your team. Keep in mind that the best sales teams deliver great results because they work together towards a shared goal. To make this real, businesses have to ensure that every member of their sales force fits well in the overall company’s landscape and possesses the right skills and knowledge to perform their duties the best way.
So, how can you identify such people? Let’s figure it out!
The Ideal B2B Sales Force Member Profile
So, what kind of SDRs and BDMs should you look for? Although each job title comes with a different set of tasks and objectives, the best specialists in these roles have a set of common features. These features are what you should be looking for in each member of your team.
In our experience, every member of high-performing sales teams should possess the following qualities:
A client-centered approach
As both SDRs and BDMs have to communicate with clients, it is crucial that they are open-minded, friendly, and customer-centered.
The sales cycle is always a multi-stage and complex process that consists of a variety of smaller tasks. Thus, effective salespeople have to be able to juggle their priorities like pros and multi-task.
A systematic approach to problem-solving
The perfect candidates to join your team should approach every issue they face in the workplace as a task that requires a solution.
Being able to approach problems systematically is important but it doesn’t exclude the importance of being able to think outside the box and discover creative solutions.
Attention to detail
Having an exceptional eye for detail and being able to think through every step carefully are the two keys to successful deals closure in sales.
In order to achieve better results in the workplace, salespeople have to be extremely self-motivated, ambitious, and proactive.
A curious salesperson is someone who is constantly asking questions and strives to learn more in order to get even better outcomes in their work.
Lastly, in order to streamline your sales process and drive the best results, your business needs to ensure that every specialist in your sales department is a real team player.
Apart from having the necessary job-related knowledge, skills, and personal qualities, it is crucial that all sales reps that you hire are genuinely interested in what your company does and can align their daily operations with your overall business goals.
All in all, you should be looking for people who are able to work equally effectively on their own and in a team, and who can follow your brand’s heartbeat and perfectly fit into your company’s culture.
3 Key Things to Look Out For During an Interview
Now that you have an ideal team member profile, you might be also wondering what to look out for during the interview stage.
We have you covered on this one!
According to our experience, these are the top three things that make the best sales reps for B2B teams:
- Resilience — You want your reps to be able to withstand difficulties and overcome challenges like real pros. During the interview, you can identify whether a particular candidate is resilient by asking about the challenges they’ve faced in the previous workspace and the ways how they overcome them.
- Overachievement — A person who has a tendency toward overachievement is highly motivated and, thus, always striving to get better results, which is exactly what you want your salespeople to do in their work. You can easily say if a specific person is an overachiever by looking at their past academic, sporting, professional, and personal accomplishments.
- Focused on growing their skills — One of the key questions to ask your potential team members is what their career objectives are. The answer to this question will reveal what they are focused on in their careers. As an employer, you want them to be focused on building their sales skills further and progress their careers.
If you keep these three things in mind while selecting potential candidates for sales jobs and interviewing them, you should be able to find the right people for your B2B team.
8 Tips for Building and Managing Highly Effective Teams
In the last section of our guide, the experts from Belkins will share with you some practical tips on making your sales team perform at the top of its abilities.
Use Incentives to Maximize Success
To drive the best results and ensure that your sales quotas are being achieved it is crucial to keep your team happy and motivated at all times. And the easiest way to do this is to leverage all sorts of incentives that will boost motivation.
In order to do this right, team leaders need to identify what drives every individual in their team and offer relevant incentives. These can include extra time off, cash bonuses, micro-promotions, exciting shared events, etc. Find what works best for your team and use it to keep your employees motivated.
Train Your Team Regularly
Apart from motivation, another key to the success of a sales team is ongoing learning. Sales trends, techniques, and tactics are changing rapidly. Thus, if you want to keep growing your revenues, you want to ensure that your employees keep up with these changes. So, you have to train them to be the best.
Here are six effective ways to train your team the right way and equip it for success:
1) Organize a call library with samples of good and bad calls to let your reps exchange their experience and learn from it.
2) Assign an expert mentor to every new member of your team.
3) Run weekly training sprints.
4) Create a detailed playbook to share with your salespeople and update it regularly with relevant information.
5) Always set attainable KPIs and make sure that every team member is aware of their personal objectives, as well as the overall company’s goals.
6) Put together a thorough knowledge base that includes competitor knowledge, inside tips and tricks, and other data that can help your salespeople perform at their peak.
These simple tips will help you keep your salespeople well-equipped for success.
Establish a Collaborative Sales Culture
While it’s important to have individual goals and objectives for every employee, this shouldn’t get in the way of their collaboration. Therefore, if you want to have smooth and effective sales operations, you should work on creating a collaborative culture. Make sure that your entire team works together towards shared goals.
Stick to a Modern Approach to B2B Sales
The main distinctive feature of the modern sales approach in the B2B sector is that it is much more customer-centered and collaborative than ever before. In 2022, companies should focus on making their salespeople operate unitedly to nurture sales leads and build long-term customer relationships.
Foster Flexibility and a Growth Mindset
Today’s B2B teams have to be extremely flexible in order to survive the competition and generate revenue. At times, you might want your salespeople to change their roles and perform different tasks. To do this, you should basically let job titles take a back seat, while trust and alignment of goals within your team should come to the fore.
A growth mindset is also important. It enables your salespeople to stay motivated and proactive, and have the courage to take the lead when it’s necessary in order to ensure better outcomes and grow professionally.
Ensure Transparency & All Hands Access
As a rule, salespeople become the first (and, in fact, the main) touchpoint between a particular brand and its prospects. However, this approach doesn’t work so well in 2022. These days, your customers are craving transparency and all hands access. So, you have to make this accessible.
What does this mean in practice? Your clients should be able to connect with product experts and even senior staff from all over your company. This will help create a sense of transparency and, thus, build trust.
Create Alignment of Goals
This was mentioned multiple times already, but it’s worth stressing the importance of goal alignment one more time. So, in order to ensure the efficiency of your team and create an ongoing sales cycle your company has to ensure that every salesperson is aware of their personal goals as well as common company goals and that all these objectives are aligned.
Aligning the goals of every individual specialist and every division of your team towards a common goal will enable you to improve the key metric - drive more sales.
Build a Good Company Culture
Lastly, we have to state that behind every successful B2B sales team there is a strong company culture. By creating a positive and friendly company culture, you can ensure that all your sales reps are communicating effectively with each other and have a strong bond that goes far beyond the workplace.
This will have a positive effect on their collaboration and, thus, help you ensure the best outcomes of their work and drive more sales to your business.
We hope this piece will be a great help to you in building a B2B sales team of your own. To get a powerful start, you can use the services of B2B agencies, where there is a ready-made sales team, such as Belkins. Book a consultation and our dedicated team will be happy to help you maximize your sales!