Building a Sales Team for Your Small Business

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Many business gurus claim there are only two critical functions in a well-​run organization: product development and sales. You may have product development skills, but in order to succeed, you need to be building a great sales team for your small business. The role of the sales professional has changed in the past few years. As you seek to build your sales team, here are three details you should focus on:

  • Credibility is Key
  • Soft Skills Rule
  • Sales Coaching Matters

Credibility is Key

America has a credibility problem. In our American State of Credibility survey, close to 50% of U.S. adults noted that the people they interact with on a daily basis are somewhat or noticeably less credible than they used to be. By profession, salespeople (who are not in the automotive sector) score near the bottom on the list. For example, only 25% of adults over age 55 believe salespeople are credible.

Salespeople can improve their credibility by taking deliberate action. As you build a sales team for your small business, coach your reps on upgrading their LinkedIn profiles. They should be linking to current satisfied customers. And they may also want to write articles or blog posts that point to their authority as experts on the products and services they sell. Our research shows that 42% of SMB buyers have looked up sales reps online before they meet. Sales reps who lack credibility and an online presence won’t get far with today’s buyers.

Soft Skills Rule

Buyers want to do business with sales reps who are experts. They also appreciate sellers who have great interpersonal skills. When a sales rep can put a buyer at ease, they’ll feel better about making a purchase decision. But 40% of SMB buyers don’t want to do business with a pushy sales rep. Using a coaching solution, you can help your reps improve their soft skills. This includes understanding when to back off and increase empathy for the buyer’s situation. Yes, the deft use of soft skills often means slowing down the sales cycle. But that’s a better strategy than losing the sale completely.

As you hire your sales reps, you’ll want to use a skills assessment that reveals their individual strengths and weaknesses. Candidates who possess creativity and curiosity in abundance deserve your full attention. These individuals may be most interested in a buyer’s problems and will work hard to match them with effective solutions.

Sales Coaching Matters

When your build your sales team for your small business, you may find candidates who have some, but not all, of the qualities you value. If you hire these individuals, you can upskill them with an effective coaching program. One personal characteristic to seek out is coachability. When an individual is open to listening to their manager’s suggestions and to changing their selling style, you have an opportunity take your sales department to the next level.

How to Build Your Sales Team for Your Small Business

Building a great sales team for your business is crucial for your success. If you are uncertain about how to proceed after hiring your reps, sign up for sales manager training.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.