scaling a sales team

Five Steps to Scaling a Sales Team

Once you’ve got a solid product, and the team you created is successfully selling your product, you’ll reach a point where it’s time to scale your sales team to match your sales volume.

Scaling a sales team is largely a matter of timing. There are no magic number or milestone that will tell you exactly when you need to expand your team.

However, following a consistent process will enable you to identify the metrics that you can use to establish trigger points for expansion that work for your business.

The steps for scaling your team work in a cycle. Since you’ve got a strong vision, and a team of experts supporting you, your business is going to grow, and each time you bring in new team members, you can return to step one, and renew the cycle of scaling your team.

Evaluate your salesforce playbook
Evaluate your business and update your salesforce playbook before you start bringing on more team members. It’s important to continually evaluate the tools you’re using, the procedures you employ in your sales process, and what your metrics for success are.

Make sure that your system is streamlined for your current volume of sales. Techniques that worked at the start may not have scaled well as your business expanded and will need a refresh.

During this process, establish onboarding procedures, so that you have a pipeline for new employees to minimize friction as new team members integrate into your business.

Analyze the sales data
Analyze the data using your updated metrics for success. If you felt like you needed to start scaling your team before, this analysis should either confirm your hunch, or illuminate the areas where your sales procedures can be improved to maximize the performance of your current team. Make sure to look at leads to opportunities, opportunity close ratios, average revenue per sale and what your CAC (cost of an acquisition) and LTV (long-term value) look like.

If your analysis reveals that you don’t need to expand your team quite yet, just be patient. It can take up to six months to really have a good sense of the ROI you got from the team you created initially. Scaling is a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t want to start expanding prematurely.

Hire two to three new team members
When your instincts and your data tell you that it’s time to grow your salesforce, expand your team by at least two people at a time. Hiring a minimum of two people provides a built-in evaluation of your new salespeople.

If you hire just one salesperson, and they struggle to bring sales, it might be that the person you hired isn’t a good fit for your team, or it could be that the staying power of the product isn’t as solid as you thought. The performance of a single person doesn’t confirm one way or the other.

If you hire two or three people, though, and one of them can’t sell, then you have an indicator of where the sales bottleneck is.

When interviewing new candidates, it’s important to continue hiring the same sort of motivated people with the ‘PhD’ to be be successful that started your team.

However, keep in mind that there’s an additional aspect to contend with now. New team members not only need to be as passionate about their roles as you are about yours, but they also need to have qualities that make them a good fit to work with your current team members.

Coachability is probably the one quality that will make a new salesperson a good fit for your team. When creating a team, the primary qualities you want are effort and adaptability, people who have the ‘PhD’ to succeed in any situation, and will help you build something from the ground-up.

However, for people being added to an existing team, you want that ‘PhD’ in being successful, but with the coachability to synergize with the team that you’ve already built, and take a lot of direction from multiple sources.

Get your new team members up to speed fast
Train your new team members, and get them up to speed as quickly as possible. This should be easy if you’ve hired passionate, but coachable people. Use your updated sales playbook and onboarding procedures to make it easy to get your new team members on their feet and set them up for success.

Monitor the performance of your new team
Monitor and evaluate your newly expanded team. It might be tempting to zero in on the new team members, but be disciplined in evaluating the performance of your team as a whole.

It’s imperative that your new salespeople are pulling their weight, but some team members make up for their slightly depressed individual numbers by supporting the team in a way that improves the performance of the entire unit.

Make tweaks and adjustments to your procedures and policies to optimize your team’s performance, and use the evaluation that you built in by hiring at least two people at a time to evaluate your product staying power and the fit of new team members.

Once your expanded team is humming along nicely, return to step one, and start evaluating your business, and be ready to seize the next opportunity to scale your team as your business grows.

Looking forward to hearing about your scalability success stories!