What Does Scaling Mean in Sales?
Scaling sales generally refers to putting in place the right systems and infrastructure to increase revenue by growing your sales and the average revenue per customer.
Scaling sales entails boosting the size of your sales team and putting in place the tools that enable them to perform at their best, including providing adequate office space, furniture, stationery, and digital tools for automating repetitive tasks.
While you may also expand into new markets, if the new sales hires aren’t adequately trained to clearly articulate the values of the business and its commitment to making life better for customers through its products, the scaling effort will fail.
Now that you understand what it means to scale in sales, let’s talk about how you scale a sales team. Here are some of the tips they shared on how to scale sales successfully:
10 Tips for Scaling a Sales Team, According to 33 Sales Leaders
I remember that when I first started in sales, I was eager and motivated. As my business started to grow, I realized I had to scale my sales, but I had no idea how. I tried a lot of different things, but nothing seemed to work.
Eventually, through trial and error (and a lot of research), I figured out what it takes to scale sales quickly and effectively. But depending on your type of business and the level of competition you face, this trial-and-error sales scaling strategy may be a risky one.
When scaling your sales team, it’s wrong to assume that adding more people to the team will equate to more revenue. In fact, hiring more sales reps without a strategy is a recipe for failure.
Before hiring, you should first define the roles of each position, as well as the metrics by which they’ll be evaluated. Then, you should place each hire in a position that aligns with their skillset and ambition.
Additionally and perhaps importantly, new employees should fit in with the culture of their sales department and company.
But this only touches the surface of what it takes to scale a sales team. We spoke with 33 managers who told us how they built their all-star teams while preparing their employees for future success.
1 Hire the right team
If your goal is to grow your sales, you may also be thinking about scaling up the size of your own sales force. But how do you make sure you’re hiring the right people?
According to the research, 62% of businesses value experience and technical skill. However, 87% of leaders were able to successfully hire candidates that fit in with their company culture.
It’s important to not just hire ‘jobseekers’. To successfully scale your sales, you need to find sales reps that are passionate, first for selling and second, for helping people solve their problems. The prospective hires must demonstrate a keen knowledge of the customer you are selling to and of your business and market.
Your new sales specialists also need to be self-motivated to work with minimum supervision. With more companies allowing their employees to work remotely, you will need to devise ways you’re going to keep your expanded team motivated, but they need to have a certain level of self-motivation to qualify for the job in the first place.
Rather than just focusing on getting your team physically set up, it’s equally important to consider their mental well-being. Flexibility, mental health care, and home office furniture such as standing or adjustable desks, or a virtual private network (VPN), will all help them perform at optimum levels.
If businesses scale their sales strategy too quickly, they could sacrifice quality, customer experience, or service. This would be a huge mistake that could cost the company dearly in the long run. To avoid this, businesses need to be strategic when scaling their sales operation.
If you want to scale your sales team while maintaining a high level of quality for your product or service, you’ll need the right tools, knowledge, and processes. With these in place, you can confidently expand your business without sacrificing quality.
2 Identify your milestones
Team milestones are goals that the entire team works towards. With the team knowing exactly what their coworkers are up to, they’ll feel more responsible to deliver work that’s complete and on time.
Using milestones is a great way to keep your sales scaling efforts on track. They allow you to see whether or not you’re meeting your goals and if you’re moving closer to your end goal.
Let’s say your goal is to increase sales by 15 percent in the next 3 months. To do that, you aim to increase sales by 5% in the first month, 10% in the second, and 15% in the third.
Breaking down your annual goal into monthly objectives can help you stay on track. Setting sales goals before you scale your sales team will keep your team focused on what needs to be done to meet expectations.
The goals you set for your team will be dependent on a variety of factors. Some common milestones for a software development project might include:
- Reaching a certain number of users or customers,
- Achieving a certain amount of revenue,
- Launching a new feature or product,
- Improving customer satisfaction scores,
- Reducing the number of bugs in the software.
Using milestones in your sales process will help you scale your sales team without losing the level of quality you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It keeps your team engaged, which has been shown increase profits by up to 21%.
3 Improve your sales communication
Most companies run into issues when scaling sales because they lack the proper infrastructure, knowledge, and communication.
Businesses need to think about their communication strategy when making changes to their sales team. This should include how to send documents, meet with coworkers, and how to voice opinions or concerns about the company.
However, the work doesn’t end there. Your team needs to communicate better, but you also need to make sure you’re measuring the effectiveness of your communications.
Using a communications platform such as Slack, MS Team, or Gchat can be an effective way for new hires to assimilate into the company culture.
Research shows that implementing these communication tools can speed up product development by 23%, reduce email usage by 32%, and cut back on unnecessary meeting time by 23%.
4 Streamline your processes
Hiring more salespeople is only half the battle. You also have to ensure that your sales processes don’t fall apart as your company scales. Look at how things get accomplished.
- What often causes delays?
- What gets overlooked?
- What tasks take up most of your time and could we eliminate them?
Answers to these questions will help you identify where your current processes are failing and where you need to make changes. To scale your business effectively, your sales process needs to have a simple structure. It also needs to be repeatable.
5 Use the right software tools
When introducing any new process, it’s important to consider the software that will connect everyone on your team. If your team is currently using a piece of software, but you’ve scaled your growth goals, it might be time to consider a different option.
Everyone in your sales team should be on the same technology and workflows. Dashboards can give management visibility into how reps are performing and can help forecast what the upcoming quarters and years will look like.
What features do you need from your CRM to keep your sales processes efficient and running smoothly?
Using free online project management software can help companies stay on track. After all, we know organizations that use PM apps spend 13% less on projects because their goals are achieved more consistently.
There are many tools out there that can help you save time, increase productivity, and grow your business. For example, you can use a tool like CrunchBasePro or LeadFuze to search for new potential clients.
You can also use customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Monday, HubSpot, or SalesForce to manage all of your clients. Additionally, you can sign contracts electronically with tools like DocuSign or PandaDoc.
For customer payments, services like PayPal or Square will ensure smooth conclusions to purchases that ensure customers take away positive sentiments that prepare them for repeat purchases or renewals.
A team is only as efficient as the processes currently in place. But, to maximize efficiency, these processes must be constantly evaluated and optimized.
6 Offer something unique
The first step to finding a niche is to look for an industry where there’s currently a gap in offerings. It can be helpful to know what’s happening in that particular industry, as well as what new developments are on the horizon.
To successfully sell a tech product or service, it’s crucial that you fully understand your market. This includes identifying where your customers’ pain is, and how your product can solve it.
It’s also important that you focus on how specific your technology is, as these are products that are usually ‘niche enough’ to sell without much difficulty. Looking at a problem and the solution can help clarify your position in the market.
When expanding into new territory, you will need to develop a unique strategy for selling because conditions in the new area may not mirror those in your current country. The sales scaling strategy you employ will largely depend on the uniqueness of the product or service you are selling.
7 Determine your target audience
Determining your target audience enables new sales hires to know your prospects’ needs intimately enough that they can ask the right discovery questions.
Instead of pitching as many prospects as they can, they boost the company’s reputation by showing deep customer intelligence and insight into the problems their products solve. As a result, they close more, bigger sales.
It should be clear to new sales hires what target market they will be selling to. As part of their training and onboarding, it is important that they are immediately made aware of the problem they are solving with your product and how to pitch the solution.
Ideally, determining your audience should be done ahead of the scaling – it should be part of a scaling strategy you have designed in anticipation of this event. It should be like a booklet that you hand to new sales hires to study as part of their onboarding.
When researching your audience, you should figure out which technology they use. Look to other companies you respect in your industry. Remember that your target may not always be the same.
Once you have identified which industry you want to target and which company within that sector you want to shadow for this goal, you must then identify who within the company you should approach.
When contacting an organization, you should find out who is in charge of the budget. This will help you determine whether or not the product you are selling is a good fit for them.
Once you have a better sense of their budget and needs, you can speak to the decision-maker about specific ways your product or service will benefit them.
8 Establish better ways of reaching prospects
When reaching out to potential customers, it’s important to try a variety of different methods to maximize your reach. Attending events, such as tradeshows or meetups is a great way to meet potential new customers.
You can also try cold emailing. The key is to try out different strategies and see what works for you. This will help you find the people you want to connect with.
Knowing who your target market is will help you determine which marketing tactics are the most effective. This will allow you to maximize your conversion rates and put more effort into what’s working.
9 Improve your pitches
Scaling your sales team presents an opportunity to revise your pitches. It’s possible they have grown stale and may need updating to align them with the evolving needs of your target market. Your product may have evolved also, with new features that have to be emphasized in your pitches.
When introducing your service or product to a potential client, how you present your offer will be the most important. You need to consider how to position your sales pitch for the ideal buyer, highlighting the benefits your offering will provide.
Formulating the perfect pitch can be a process, and it’s important to try different versions to see what works best. Keep in mind that you can always improve your pitch as you go along. But with every update to your standard pitch, make sure to test it before adopting it.
The best way to test your sales pitch is to send it exclusively to a few qualified, targeted contacts. This will give you feedback that you can act on with necessary adjustments, instead of wasting your valuable lead database on the first version of your script.
When you’re pitching, it’s helpful to look at what competitors are doing. You can learn from their successes and mistakes. If you can get your pitches validated by industry influencers, that will go a long way.
Most experts are willing to provide feedback and explain why they suggest certain changes, so have a few that analyze your revised sales pitches.
10 Set concrete goals
Scaling your sales team also allows you the excuse to analyze and realign your goals.
Every planning process is all about figuring out your goals and then figuring out how to achieve them. For example, your company wants to earn 1 million euros this year and you calculate that you could do it by closing 10 deals.
To get 60 people to follow up with, you’ll need to make 30 follow-up meetings. So, the question becomes, how do I get 60 leads to reach out to me?
Go back to your sales pitch and your outreach efforts. Adjust your numbers and your approach as needed.
Sales activities can be very time-consuming. To get the most out of them, it is important to plan and set goals. This will help you manage your time more effectively. But remember to set realistic, achievable goals that don’t demotivate your sales team.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Scaling Your Sales Team
A failure to take a strategic approach to scale your sales team can harm your business in fatal ways. Don’t just hire more sales reps and consider your sales team adequately scaled.
Here are other sales scaling mistakes to avoid at all costs:
1 Not targeting the right customer
Your primary goal should be to target the customers who are most likely to buy your product. Although it may seem obvious that you should chase after specific types of clients, it may not always work.
To get the most out of your expanded sales team, you need to focus your efforts on the right prospects. This usually happens when sales and marketing don’t align.
Marketing needs to be passing the right quality leads to sales for the scaling effort to have the right impact on revenue. Sales and marketing teams, therefore, need to work together on common goals as one can’t succeed without the other.
2 Ignoring customer retention
Some business owners make the mistake of assuming that customer loyalty and retention depend on satisfaction. Loyalty comes from perceived value and customer satisfaction is irrelevant.
If you want to keep your customers, you have to work hard to create value for them. Your competition is also targeting your customers, so if you don’t build up your customer’s value, they will easily be lost.
To boost your customers’ perception of you, you have to put in extra and consistent effort.
3 Hiring out of desperation
If you take too long to scale your sales team, you may end up in a situation where you need to hire now or your business may soon go under. This often leads to desperation and new hires that aren’t the right fit.
When you are too desperate to hire you usually focus on the quantity and not the quality of reps. It’s crucial to have a clear profile of the ideal sales rep you want to grow your team so you don’t end up hiring out of convenience.
Take your time when hiring sales reps and only engage one if they tick every box. Maintain the same attention to detail you would exercise if you didn’t need to hire NOW so you don’t dilute the overall quality of your sales team with a few low-quality hires.
4 Failing to train new sales reps
What makes your top 10% of salespeople different from the rest?
A major difference between the most successful reps and average ones is that the former know precisely what to do and say to close a deal successfully.
If you want to ensure that all of your sales reps are successful, you need to provide them with a structured training program. Having a strong foundation in DSP (demand-side platform) will help your sales team to be more effective and produce positive results.
Additionally, it is important to teach your sales reps the core skills that are necessary for your company to be successful on every level. On top of that, part of their training should be about inculcating in them the company culture and core values so their pitches are ‘on brand’.
5 Lack of clearly defined roles for new sales reps
If business owners or managers do not provide clear positions to sales reps, it will further overburden them and have negative effects on sales. Sales reps should be assigned clear goals and expectations.
Trying to do everything yourself or overloading new hires with tasks will only stunt your growth. To keep your sales reps productive, make sure they know their roles and who they report to.
To help them meet their target, give them the tools that will keep them engaged and interested in their work. Also, keep track of their performance and let them know they will be appraised on specific metrics.
TL;DR – How to Scale a Sales Team
Scaling sales is more than increasing the headcount for your sales reps. It is about capacitating their entire sales department for a larger team that is focused on closing more sales and increasing revenue. Among other deliverables, it is about:
- Keeping your sales process clear and efficient – make sure you have a streamlined process in place so that as you add more salespeople, they can hit the ground running and start hitting targets quickly.
- Training new sales hires thoroughly – it’s important that everyone is on the same page and knows your product inside and out. Provide new sales reps with the resources they need to be successful.
- Focusing on quality over quantity – it’s better to have a smaller team of high-performing salespeople than a large team of underperformers. Make sure you’re hiring the right people and giving them the tools and environment that set them up for success.
Take the right hiring decisions, train your new sales reps, set clear sales goals, simplify your sales process, and give your expanded sales team the tools they need to perform at their best, and scaling your sales won’t just be about a larger sales department but about more closed sales.
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