Sales Team Winning
ATD Blog

5 Strategies for Building a Winning Sales Team

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Newsflash: You can’t run and grow a strong business by yourself. If you want to grow your business, you are eventually going to have to build a sales team. But how do you go about doing that?

When it comes to building a sales team, there are best practices and not-so-best practices. Hiring salespeople is just the tip of the iceberg. Every team should have a sales process in place with measureable and trackable goals. Sales managers and leaders need to coach their team on these processes, while still attending to other matters integral to their company.

Here are five highly effective ways to build a winning sales team.  

Avoid the Experience Trap 

Former Notre Dame Head Coach George O’Leary lied about having a master’s degree and being a football legend in college—he never even played a game. We hire people under the wrong assumptions when our biases, ego, and poor judgments get in the way. You can avoid the experience trap by coming prepared to the interview with specific questions about the candidate’s previous job and role. Did they ask for coaching and readily apply feedback? Look at their demonstrated qualities, such as great communication, persuasiveness, diligence, and passion. 

Hire Consciousness, Not Experience 

Hire people who will raise the standard for your competition. Engaged workers who focus on doing the right things and achieving specific results will raise the energy and output of the group. Just be sure that their values match the values you are looking for in your company. 

Use Third-Party Assessments to Remove Bias 

The SPQ* Gold is the most widely used psychometric application for diagnosis of sales call reluctances in the world, with more than 800,000 administrations worldwide. Its data take the bias out of hiring. Facts ease doubts and highlight a candidate’s strengths. The purpose of the pre-screens and assessments is to assure that companies are hiring the most reliable and qualified people. Two additional assessments you can use are: 1) initial phone screenings and 2) personality assessment tests. 


Use Scenarios and Assignments to Understand Their Beliefs 

There is no better way to find out if someone is right for the job than to give the person group assignments. Putting potential hires in real-world, on-the-job scenarios gives you an accurate look at how they will work if they are hired.  

Be a Coach 

The best coaches lead their team to do what they don’t want to do, so they can reach their full potential. Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, is not a manager. He is a mentor and guide; he gets his team inspired and prepared for the game. He has a comprehensive, rigorous approach to focusing his players on their execution rather than winning. You transform from manager to coach by preparing, educating, and inspiring your team to earning what they’re worth. Investing in them means setting your expectations early and revisiting them often. When Nick Saban gives his team a pep talk, he says encouraging words. What we say to ourselves and our people has a direct effect on the company.

These tips for hiring and coaching a winning sales team will help your company stand out in your industry. You want to hire stars who are hungry and passionate about what they do—even if their resume doesn’t include a master’s degree in sales.


To learn more, join me at ATD 2017 International Conference & Exposition for the session 5 Strategies for Building a Winning Sales Team.

About the Author

Jason Forrest is CEO and chief culture officer for Forrest Performance Group. He is an expert in the mindset of top 1% sales, exponential sales growth, leadership development, and leading-edge sales innovation. Jason is one of the world’s only Master Practitioners in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the science of influence and behavioral change psychology.

As the founder and CEO of FPG, which has been named the nation’s fastest growing sales training company by Inc. Magazine for four consecutive years, Jason delivers dozens of keynotes every year and has trained thousands of salespeople and leaders on how to build mental toughness, create breakthroughs, and earn what they’re truly worth. Jason is the winner of nine international Stevie Awards for his books, sales process and training programs, ranging from sales professionals to coaches to executives.

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