How to Recruit and Manage a Rockstar Sales Team

In last week’s post, I shared some wisdom gleaned from a conversation with sales guru (and my coach) Matthew Kimberley. We previously discussed his advice for sales people. Today we’re focused on Matthew’s take on recruiting and managing sales teams.

Recruiting

First, talk to your prospect on the telephone. People who are bad at talking on the phone are generally bad salespeople, so do a quick 15-20 minute screening.

  • Are they forming complete sentences?
  • Do they speak clearly?
  • Have they got you on speaker phone?
  • Do they sound distracted?

If they’re good on the phone, invite them into the office. Meet your prospect face-to-face.

  • How does this person make you feel? Comfortable and relaxed, or the opposite? If they creep you out, that’s how they’re going to make your customers feel.
  • Do they appear distracted? If so, they’ll be the same in other important meetings.
  • How is their enthusiasm level? They might be the best salesperson in the world, but without enthusiasm for your business, they’ll be more trouble than they’re worth.
  • Can they speak extemporaneously on any topic? Can they talk about themselves without being boring? Matthew says good salespeople should be good bullshitters, not because they’re going to make stuff up, but because they should be able to make conversation with anyone.
  • Interview multiple times, because it’s easy to bluff an interview.
  • Make your expectations clear before you hire. Let them know about your CRM system and the quotas for both sales and activity.

Managing

Clear expectations, incentives, rewards, and flexibility when necessary are essential elements to managing a sales team.

  • Incentivize activity as well as sales results. Have both group incentives and individual incentives. Celebrate the wins and recognize achievement.
  • Daily activity sprints. “This is when the whole sales floor is doing the same thing at the same time . . . prospecting or making calls or something like that. Whoever makes the most qualified calls during this time gets lunch on me or 100 bucks behind the bar on Friday . . .” or whatever you like. The reward doesn’t have to be huge, but daily sprints are a great way to keep the energy high.
  • Keep meetings to a minimum. Salespeople don’t want to be stuck in meetings when they could be making calls. “If they enjoy meetings more than they enjoy being on the phone, they probably shouldn’t be sales people.”
  • Have zero tolerance for CRM sloppiness. Tracking all activity is essential for accountability.
  • Help your team through the slumps. “Tell them, ‘If it’s all going bad, just keep hitting the phones.’ If a star performer who’d been with me for a year or so was having a really tough time, I’d send them to a spa or tell them to go to a football game.” There will always be slow times, and it’s important that your people know they’re valued even when times are tough.
  • Well-crafted sales scripts can be a great tool, especially if you have a large team. “If you’re running anything at scale, standardization of everything is going to be critical to the measurement process.” An effective script means that if your biggest rock star develops a bad attitude that can’t be fixed, you can fire them and the team will go on selling. You aren’t dependent on one charismatic salesperson. This shows respect for everyone on the team and shows the rock star that being a prima donna is unacceptable.

I’m so grateful to Matthew Kimberley for sharing some of his sales wizziness with us. Want more? His book How to Get a Grip is a fun, smart read, and be sure to check out his website, too.

photo credit: Leo Reynolds telephone via photopin (license)