Step by step: how to structure sales teams from scratch

See how to structure successful sales teams from scratch, from pre-hire to training

Should I hire more salespeople? Should I outsource sales since I can’t find a good rhythm with an in-house team? What about the profile of salespeople, better to prioritize teamwork or individual performance? After all, how to structure a sales team?

There are many questions that go through the mind of those who are not fully satisfied with the company’s commercial operation today. If that’s the case for you, read this article to learn how to build sales teams step-by-step. Spoiler: The work doesn’t start with selection. Rather, you need to know who you want to sell to and have a well-defined sales process.

How to structure sales teams? Tips for building a team that brings results

First, know who you want to sell to

First, we need to take a step back. To structure a sales team like park view , before thinking about selection, hiring and training, it is essential to be clear about who you want to sell to.

ICP (Ideal Customer Profile, or profile ideal client) is the first stop on the way. By taking the time to map out and decide which type of customer can benefit most from what you sell, the company gains powerful leverage. Thus, the sales team will know how to separate the Leads that are worth it from those that are not.

With this, the team can dedicate its time to approaching those who really want and can buy, with a much better chance of closing a deal.

Remember: ICP and personas are different things

Before we go any further, it’s important to clarify the difference between ICP and persona.

The ICP is a specific tool for the sales area, which makes looking at more macro characteristics. Among them are the segment of activity, size of the business and maturity in relation to its solution.

When we talk about personas, a tool more applied to marketing, we are talking about a personal representation of a profile, with personality, habits, customs, cultural aspects, goals, dreams and obstacles.

Realize? The ICP gives the direction to create diverse personas, who share some common traits, but are different people, want and act in different ways. Both structures are important, each in its own way. For sales, the ideal is to work with the ICP, as it facilitates the identification of a Lead that is fit or not.

Take time to analyze your current operation and understand who your dream customer is. Document this study and make it available for your sales team to consult whenever a question arises.

  • Learn more: Target Audience, Ideal Customer and Buyer Persona: What’s the Difference?

Have a well-defined sales process

The founder of the VendasB2B training company, Daniel Baunds, said something emblematic when he participated in the Sales and Commercial Management Week: “it is better to have a bad sales process than not to have a process”.

And he is absolutely right. After all, if each salesperson works one way, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? How to help those who need to learn to sell better?

By the way, who takes care of sales in your company? If you are the director or sales manager, you can imagine how it works. When the company was starting, with the team still small, the owner or manager started selling because he needed to.

Time passed, some salespeople were hired, but the boss is still there, firm and strong, without letting go of the bone. Nobody sells like him. First, because he never taught. Second, because there is no process, no defined sales cycle.

Just as it is impossible to replicate the director, it is impossible to replicate a process that does not exist. So, before thinking about how to structure your sales team, stop everything you are doing and create an outline of what your sales process will be.

Our suggestion is to think of a simple 4-step routine:

  1. Contact

What will be the means of contact? Email? Telephone? Personal visit? Will any tools be used? Is there any methodology to apply? How many calls or emails should be sent?

  1. Qualification

What criteria define that the Lead is fit? Will the qualification be done via the tool? Are there any meetings to schedule at this stage?

  1. Presentation

What is the model for presenting a commercial proposal? Is the presentation done in person or online? How valid is the proposal?

  1. Closing

What strategies are used to encourage closure? Is there a margin to give discounts? When should the first follow-up take place after submitting the proposal?

You can create this sketch in a simple text document. The important thing is to have these behaviors defined and registered, because now we can start talking about the team and this document will be fundamental for that.

Start by hiring a few people

If you don’t have a sales team yet, hire two people. That’s right, two.

Because? Because with two people you can validate your business process, compare performances and test various changes, like an A/B test. And if one of the contractors ends up leaving the company, you won’t be completely discovered.

Invest time in this selection. Look for people who, in addition to good technical skills to sell, are suited to your company’s culture and connect to your values. After all, contractors will represent the company to new clients, and this representation needs to be adequate.

If you already have a team, before hiring or firing someone, select two salespeople to test out this new process you’ve designed. Because? Because it’s easier to work for two people first than for the whole team. And if it doesn’t work, you haven’t interfered with the work of the entire team.

After these first salespeople, continue sizing the sales team and replace professionals when necessary, as this is important to keep the area’s operation running. Over-hiring can mean unnecessary costs and idle people, while under-hiring can prevent the team from hitting targets.

  • Learn more: 7 important characteristics that must be observed when hiring a salesperson

Set the first goals

Now that you’ve hired some salespeople, it’s time to set your first goals. These professionals will have to follow the outline of the sales process that you have defined, to the letter, and use it to try to meet the stipulated goals.

We even released a video on this topic, check it out!

To set goals, you need to take a look at your metrics, particularly the conversion rates for each step in the funnel. Answer the following questions:

  • How many sales have you closed in the last month?
  • How many opportunities did you need to receive proposals to close that amount of sales?
  • How many Leads needed to reach you to have this amount of opportunities?
  • What was the investment required to attract this amount of Leads?

The best place to get these numbers securely is your CRM. If you don’t use one yet, now is the time to pick a tool and put it to the test. In the validation step, you will need to track the indicators to see if the process is working or not, and doing this without a good CRM is much more difficult.

You can start with RD Station CRM, for example. There’s a free plan that lets you control the business process from start to finish, and it’s even possible to integrate RD Station Marketing data to manage everything on the same platform!

With the numbers in hand, you will define the performance goals for this first validation period.

You are going to make the planned investment to attract Leads by connecting this gear. The marketing team will take care of qualification, delivering the opportunities to the sales team.

Using the process, salespeople will try to hit the target. When they get it in three consecutive months, it means that the process will be validated.

It may be that the goals are reached in the first three months, or not. The important thing is not to be in a hurry, but to learn from each sale or loss. Learn from the process, improve the steps and arrive at the best version: the one that works for your company.

Specialize the team

Once you have a validated process that works and delivers results, it’s time to take an important step: specialize the operation.

This means dividing the functions: one person takes care of pre-sales, another closes deals, another takes care of customer relationships in the post-sales.

And why not do it from the beginning? Well, it’s a matter of organization. We believe (and we see this in practice every day) that it is better to start simple and “complicate” little by little, as we gain knowledge, confidence and data.

With a rounded sales process, it’s much easier to separate activities and increase the team. With that, you gain a new concern: to build a cohesive, complementary team.

There are sellers who look like they were born to sell. You know that person who would sell ice to Eskimos? Sand in the desert? So it is. This profile is very compatible with the closer function, the one who convinces the customer to hit the hammer.

The most communicative, understanding, empathetic salespeople, on the other hand, can do very well as qualifiers, in a position like SDR. They are consultative, they help the client to find the ideal solution to their problem, and they create this relationship of trust.

To take care of after-sales, the ideal is a salesperson who knows a lot about the market in which he operates, cares about the client’s success, is good at solving problems and creating bonds. She is that person who would receive presents from customers at Christmas, she is so dear.

Invest in training

One last tip, perhaps the most important of this post: invest time in training and alignment. A well-managed sales team hits goals with ease, works willingly and adds much more than revenue to the company.

Share knowledge, offer courses, take the team to events. Have a reward system, either with a good commission or with extra recognitions and rewards.

As a manager, make it your primary job to identify ways to support and facilitate the salespeople’s work, as well as help them develop on the job. Performance is not just a number, it is a set that involves delivery, behavior, evolution, growth and participation.

Ready to start building a sales team?

So let’s recap:

  • Define your ICP and keep this document in a place that everyone can access;
  • Design a sales process scope;
  • Hire or select the first sellers to test this process;
  • Establish the first goals and track salespeople’s performance through CRM;
  • With everything working, start considering specializing the team as needed;
  • Choose appropriate and complementary profiles to compose your team;
  • Offer training and good management to keep the team motivated and in constant development.

Did you write it down?

To continue reading more about managing sales teams, visit our new eBook: Sales Management: Complete guide to managing sales teams and operations. It is free!