10 tips to scale your sales team faster
A wonderful challenge shared by startup leaders is that moment of growth when product demand outweighs a sales team’s bandwidth. The demos pile on, and a lean team works diligently to fulfill the requests. Guess what? It’s time to scale your sales team fast.
But for many leaders, ensuring that you have the right people in your seats takes time, as do new hire ramp-ups. And, as we all know, in Startup Land, time is of the essence.
Not sure how to scale a sales team fast? The following tips will help you accelerate your success. Let’s jump in.
1. Maintain your mission
“When leaders are intentional about embedding their mission … into their culture, sales can grow faster,” said Lisa Earle McLeod. (“How to Scale Your Sales Team Quickly)
But how do you do that?
McLeod referenced how Hootsuite CRO Steve Johnson mastered this while scaling his team from 27 to 1,000 people in two years.
He focused on the emotional benefit that Hootsuite’s social media platform provides for its users. By establishing new hire processes early on, Johnson was able to ensure that new recruits understood the appeal and impact of the product. Consistent sales coaching reiterated the positive impact which maintained alignment across the team, regardless of seniority.
2. Recruit for soft skills
A proper onboarding program will get your sales new hires squared on the product, ideal buyer personas, and the value prop. But no onboarding program, no matter how strong it is, can develop one’s hustle or empathy. One way to evaluate a candidate’s emotional intelligence involves watching how they engage with employees not involved in the interview process.
Another tip? Guage how they listen. Are they waiting for you to finish so they can respond? Or, are they engaged with what you’re saying and show signs of actively listening?
When you focus on soft skills as you scale your sales team, the “right” hires will follow.
3. Establish a clear sales process and metrics
When you have defined sales processes and performance metrics, you can leverage that data to inform your scaling approach.
For example, monitoring activities, time-to-close rates, and team performances will flag for you where bottlenecks sit and where hiring additional support could help.
This will also highlight your overperforming reps, who could be tapped for best practices and mentorship.
For processes and metrics to work, however, they need to be consistent and repeatable.
4. Build a meaningful sales tech stack
Select tools that will scale with your sales team. Don’t get distracted by the latest and greatest. Look for CRMs, internal communication channels, collaborative workspaces, and tracking systems that are: cost-effective, user-friendly, and easy to set up. Find tools that your teams want to use and will use.
QuotaPath, for example, can be set up to automate tracking and payouts of sales commissions the same week a new customer signs a contract.
5. Update your comp plans
As companies have scaled their sales teams, we’ve seen them make big mistakes around their compensation plans.
“Compensation is the ultimate incentive. It’s literally the main reason any salesperson works in the first place.” (HubSpot)
To ensure team productivity doesn’t get lost in the scaling process, build a simple and effective compensation plan.
Here are some best practices you can implement when building out your new plans. Our sage advice: don’t build your comp plan without aligning it to your business goals.
6. Prioritize coaching
Leaders can easily get caught up in forecasting, as they stare at their screens continuously refreshing their dashboards.
To scale a sales team fast, and successfully, focus on balancing your time between forecasting and coaching your team.
Prioritize at least two to three hours every week to coach your scaling sales organization. Your end-of-quarter results will thank you.
7. Lean into your data
As you implement key performance indicators and forecasting platforms, look into what that data is telling you. And trust it.
Are reps who have been with the company longer underperforming? Are they resistant to sales process changes and spreading toxicity amongst the team?
Pay attention to how your OG sales reps are handling your team’s growth. It might be time to part ways, and bring in a new rep with more energy and fewer bad habits.
8. Set attainable goals
We love this quote from HubSpot.
“Scaling your sales team is exciting, but you can’t let yourself get too excitable.”
Don’t set goals that are overly ambitious. This means creating revenue targets with quotas that your reps can actually hit.
9. Add a human-touch to sales enablement
Sales enablement has often been tied to marketing assets and materials that can help a rep close a deal.
But that’s not all sales enablement has to be.
In fact, McLeod said she’s seen rapidly scaling sales teams adopt a human approach to sales enablement via coaching. However, instead of delegating the coaching responsibilities just to managers, this model shifts a bit of the responsibility to someone from sales enablement.
“This takes (some of) the pressure off the sales managers by providing reps with support from someone isn’t under the same deal-to-deal pressure,” McLeod wrote.
Support could include how to begin a sales call from a client’s troubles perspective, how to optimize discovery calls, or how to best present your company’s founding story.
10. Remember retention
As you onboard new reps, mathematically, the deals should follow.
New business is and will always be a priority, but that doesn’t mean we can coast on retention. Retention is more cost-effective than adding a new one.
“A close rate of 25% in a new market doesn’t do too much for you if your churn rate within it is 50%.” (HubSpot)
Take care of existing customers. Coach your reps to maintain ongoing communication with them. And, put systems in place to support customer requests and tickets in a timely manner.
To scale a sales team fast, put processes in place, don’t lose sight of coaching and existing customers, and embrace technologies that can make sales easier.
For more on how QuotaPath can help track and automate commissions as you scale your team, schedule a chat with one of our team members.