Team performance series

How to Build a Winning Sales Team

Building up a high-performance team takes a variety of skills - from general management to engineering management, and hiring right.

Translate & align vision
Gett alignment on critical targets and 'north star' at an individual, team and organisational level
Attract and reward top talent by structuring the right benefits and compensation.
Develop top performers
Invest in your team's growth with intentional mentorship and guidance.
Building a successful sales team goes beyond hiring A-list individuals, throwing them together and getting them to sell.

As the head of the team, it's your responsibility to put together a top squad out of these parameters - from defining objectives down to recruiting new sales reps and supplying every member with whatever they might need so they can excel.

Here we break down exactly how to do just that.

Structuring your sales organisation

1. Determine company mission and revenue goals

All great teams start with a clear purpose. A clear "why" helps set the groundwork of your sales team culture, as one major takeaway from Simon Sinek's "Start with Why" book. Once you have the why, map out company sales goals and objectives that follow.

Make things simple—focus on metrics that fit with your mission statement and goals for sales. This focus on every sales rep can hold themselves accountable for reaching those expectations.

The company mission also extends to hiring. Alina Su, CEO and founder of NovaXS Biotech Corp., knows having a collective mindset is the foundation for a successful team. When you hire the right people who share your values, customer interactions and managing performance will automatically be oriented toward reaching goals.

2. Establish the type of sales team you need

Successful sales teams start with understanding what kind of sales roles you need. Deciding this upfront helps with hiring the right people for the job and that you'll be more likely to retain them over time.

Next, structure your sales team based on your mission and goals, typical structures are:
  • The Island - Potential customers work with one sales rep for the entirety of their journey through the sales funnel. This means each individual has the responsibility for generating and qualifying leads, communicating with those leads, nurturing those leads, and finally closing deals.
  • Assembly Line: Every stage of the customer journey is divided up among different specialised teams. A sales rep hands things off to another when they complete their part of the process.
  • The Pod: Teams guide prospects through all aspects of their journeys together so that clients always have access to information thanks to internal assembly lines.

Hiring the right people

1. Identify the 'right' people for your team

Before starting the hiring process, map out an action plan. Gregory Chang, Head of Sales & Customer Experience at StoreHub advises on identifying the right people with the experience and propensity to get the job done.

If there's an opportunity (like a new revenue stream), determine what exactly needs to happen and who to hire for it to be successful, says Bernard Fung, Head of Sales at LoopMe. Figure out the core qualities and skillsets needed by asking yourself these questions:
  • What do you need to consider when you’re laying the building blocks for your organisation?
  • What qualities, soft and hard skills, are most important for success in this role?
  • Are they coachable?
  • How will they contribute to growing the sales culture?

2. Create an attractive compensation package

When managed carefully, compensation can align people’s behaviour with the company’s strategy and generate positive results.There's no one-size-fits-all compensation plan for sales teams so it's crucial for leaders to understand what's most appropriate for their team.

Most organisations rely on industry best practices, or market research data, to determine appropriate salary rates, commissions, and bonuses for each position. Here are some other factors to consider while thinking about your sales compensation package:
  • What's your budget?
  • What's your competition paying?
  • What are living costs like in your area?
  • What are your team's and organization's goals?
  • What are the team and individual sales quotas?
  • Will you consider sales accelerators / decelerators and clawbacks?

3. Build your onboarding process

Onboarding processes are equally important for any new sales rep. Create a checklist of administrative tasks for yourself and what you want your new hire to do during their first week so they can get acquainted with the company.

An example of a checklist may look as follows:
  • Company Mission and Goals
  • Buyer Personas
  • Product and Roadmap Walkthrough
  • Customer Success Metrics
  • Customer Support Understanding
  • Personal and Team Sales Goals
  • Product and Roadmap Walkthrough
Onboarding checklists have two purposes:
  1. Help new team members get to know the team and how everything works.
  2. Establishing both long and short-term goals will help your team stay motivated and on top of their game.

Setting up your sales team for success

1. Motivate via goal setting and incentives

The most successful leaders are disciplined and focused when it comes to meeting their team's revenue goal. With this type of mindset, they're able to motivate the whole group towards reaching those targets. One of the ways they achieve this is by incentivising meeting quotas through bonuses, variable compensation, or career progression.

Types of goal setting to consider:
  1. Monthly Sales Target: Calculate how much they need to sell to meet a monthly target based on the annual goal.
  2. Waterfall Goals: Leaders ramp goals up over the course of the year.
  3. Sequence Goals: Determine which goals provide the most value when hit, and focus on those first.
  4. Activity Goals: A behavioural objective for employees where they are tasked with generating cash flow, opportunities, and visibility—depending on the assignment.
It's also critical for leaders to set clear-cut expectations upfront, Eileen Azzara, Organisational Listening Manager at 3M advises keeping metrics simple enough for complete clarity across teams. Leaders must also ensure that these are highly visible for everyone to be aligned.

2. Invest in their growth through mentorship & guidance

Creating a successful sales team doesn't happen overnight; you need to put in the time and effort, too. One way to make this happen is by investing in your people—giving them the right tools, connecting with them and guiding them while they're learning.

Sanjeevan Thangaraju, Head of Global Insides Sales at Insider had seen first-hand how easy it was for leaders to gloss over intangible aspects of people development like boosting morale or capitalising on someone's talents. He suggests taking a more proactive approach towards developing modern-day sales leaders through guidance and mentorship--whether informal chats with their bosses or formal check-ins with their co-workers.

Similarly, Jeremy Wong, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Atome talked about “Radical Candour”, translated as honesty tempered with kindness, has been one of his most effective tools for coaching others. All this when combined with open-mindedness from the team would lead to collaborative growth.

How to build sales team culture

We asked five NewCampus Contributors to weigh in with their tips on building top-performing sales teams that have a great working culture:

Garjita Arumsari (Regional Sales Head)

"Yes you can run, but you can run better and faster later on if you stop for a bit here. At the same time, I push them back to the right track when it comes to work."

Gregory Chang (Head of Sales and Customer Service)

"It's important to recognise (in terms of operating style, mindset) who belongs in which bucket and who has the experience or who has the propensity to do which one."

Desmond Chua (Head of Sales, APAC)

"It actually involves a lot of goodwill that is built over time."

Akash Sharma (Head - Direct to Consumer)

"I personally believe that they should see sales as a process, not as a funciton."

Bernard Fung (Interim General Manager, APAC)

"Nowadays with alot of things being done remotely, the team size actually matters less. It's more about quality over quantity."

Key Takeaways

Translate & align vision
Gett alignment on critical targets and 'north star' at an individual, team and organisational level
Attract and reward top talent by structuring the right benefits and compensation.
Develop top performers
Invest in your team's growth with intentional mentorship and guidance.
Starting a sales team can be difficult, but these key steps will make it easier to start off strong. What happens in this early stage matters most because it sets the foundation for years to come; so keep building and investing in a winning team as this will create a success culture that can scale quickly as your company grows.

Become a Contributor

Join our intimate community of senior leaders in engineering, data & analytics at Asia's fastest-growing companies.
Leona Ho
Director, Growth Analytics
Alka Gupta
Director of Data, People & Talent
Amos Tay
Data Analytics Manager
Puneet Gambhir
Head of Risk & GrabDefence Business

Train your sales people to be better managers

For hypergrowth companies seeking to scale their products and their people, NewCampus offers management training through our Management Essentials 4-Week Sprint.

Hear what some of our previous learners had to say:
"There's alot of repsonsibility that comes with being the only individual running a market at the current time. But being able to pause my mind for 1-2 hours and having the right support system has been quite rewarding."
Berina Colakovic
Sales Director APAC at StackAdapt
"It's very fulfilling to see, manage and help the team grow. Once I felt more equipped with more practice, I got a better grasp of what I'm supposed to do. The challenges seem alot smaller."
Brandon Chew
Pre/ Post Sales Enablement Manager, Workato

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