The biggest hurdle companies face when building their outbound sales team is knowing where to begin. There are so many variables to consider, from recruitment to compensation plans and training–and mistakes can be costly. That’s why we’ve broken the process into five simple steps for you to follow.
Whether you’ve already started building your sales team or are just curious about what the process entails, read on to learn what it takes to build an outbound sales function from the ground up.
1. Set the vision for your sales team
Start by deciding on the structure of your sales team, including how many account executives (AEs) and sales development reps (SDRs) you’re aiming to hire. What will be the function of each role? What will their day-to-day responsibilities look like?
Next, set some targets and key performance indicators. What type of quota are you aiming for? How will your sales team be compensated? What metrics will you measure to ensure their success? It’s important to consider these factors early on, so you have a clear vision of where you’re headed and can make decisions accordingly.
You should also spend some time considering the more qualitative aspects of building a sales team. What do you want the outbound sales team culture to be like? What incentives will you provide to motivate reps? How involved will you and other company leaders be in coaching the first few hires?
Lastly, don’t forget to consider how the sales team will contribute to your business targets as a whole. Building a pipeline of outbound sales leads is a great objective, but only if it serves the larger business goals.
2. Establish a hiring process
The second step to building your sales team is to start hiring. Don’t rush this process–your first few hires are especially important because you want these people to be trendsetters for the rest of the team. At the same time, the hiring process should be as streamlined as possible so that you can repeat the same process as you scale.
Remember to look for candidates with hard and soft skills; most sales skills like cold calling and navigating CRM software can be learned on the job, but soft skills like communication are harder to teach. Check out our job description templates for inspiration on what qualities to look for.
If you need help building your team, reach out here for more information on our SDR Hiring Service. We can help you find those perfect fit candidates to start your team off strong.
3. Train and onboard new hires
After you’ve found the right candidates, it’s time to train them. Before your sales team can begin prospecting, they need to have a firm grasp of your company, products, and ideal customer profile (ICP). Make sure each new hire clearly understands their responsibilities and compensation plan.
New reps will also need to be trained on specific prospecting methods, like cold calling. AEs may need training on negotiation or objection handling. Consider what each new hire needs before getting started in the role and work backwards to help them acquire the necessary skills.
Remember that training is an ongoing process. Set a schedule for regular coaching and follow-up training sessions, so your sales team can continue to refine their skills over time.
4. Set your sales team up for success
Ensure your outbound sales team has the tools they need to succeed, including a well-equipped tech stack, CRM software, call scripts and anything else they need to perform outreach. Check out this list of the top 10 sales enablement tools to get started.
Aside from your tech stack, you should also be working to establish outbound sales systems and processes. A sales playbook will not only make it easier for reps to do their job, but it will also be easier for you as a leader to scale the team.
As you work to define and improve these processes, be open to feedback from your reps on what’s working and what isn’t. Remember that they’re the ones talking to customers everyday and those insights can be invaluable. Bringing your sales team into the process can also help create a culture of collaboration and teamwork.
5. Provide ongoing support
As your first few hires settle in and get to work, look for any inefficiencies in your outbound sales process so you can correct them as needed. Make sure that every member of the sales team has access to the support they need.
To keep your sales team motivated long-term, focus on celebrating their wins and rewarding good behavior. According to the Huffington Post, 80% of employees are more motivated when their manager shows appreciation for their work, rather than just making demands.
Eventually, you may find yourself stepping back from the manager role to focus on growing the company. In that case, you may want to hire a new leader for the sales team, so you can concentrate on other tasks. By the time you reach this stage, you’ll be grateful for the time you spent upfront establishing strong foundations, which now ensure a smooth transition to the new manager.
Final thoughts on building an outbound sales team
Building a sales team from the ground up may be a challenge but if you follow these five steps, you’ll have laid the foundations for long-term success.
The key is to focus on building repeatable processes, from hiring to training, onboarding, and managing your new hires. Repeatable systems will make it much easier to not only build your sales team from the ground up, but to scale alongside your company as it grows.
In this ebook, you’ll learn why lead generation is so important, different strategies you can use to attract new clients, and how to build your lead generation process step-by-step. With a strong lead gen strategy in place, you’ll never run out of prospects to sell to.