The more the right kind of sales people you have, the more sales you will generate. Notice the emphasis on right kind of people - in order to build a stellar sales team - you need to hire smart. Not only do you need to hire smart, you will have to improve current sales processes, train the existing salespeople and have a concrete, time-oriented and result-oriented measuring of success.
Evaluating Your Sales Force
Consistent evaluation of your sales force is an important step in the process of deciding whether and how to grow your sales team because it will let you know about the 20-70-10 rule: 20 percent are the top sales people, 70 percent barely make the good cut and 10 are just waste of money. In order to keep the edge, you need constant training, and re-evaluation to keep the momentum going and refreshing the sales team. Reward when right things are being done and kill inconsistent behavior by getting rid of the weeds, the 10 percent people. Hire the right people to replace them.
To start evaluating, be clear on what is the given mission of the company and sales team. Whether it is to go after the larger accounts, leaving the smaller order to customer service personnel and order takers, or setting up the sales team people in specialized tasks i.e. inbound and outbound sales, it is the same, but remember that the salesperson is the most integral part of the company's success and they must be executing the very life line of the company mission, goals and objectives. The sales staff you have is the most visible representation of values, company's image, they hold the client's hand through the good and worse, interface with delivery and, of course, close the deals. Due to this importance, measure their sales productivity and DO NOT penalize them for not making enough cold calls - as long as you trust them (measure and evaluate them) to bring results, the cash flow will come.
Measuring Sales Productivity
Pipeline, pipeline, pipeline - just one word that explains the simplest source of measurements you need to evaluate your sales staff on e.g. "divide the volume of sales by the number of salespeople on staff. That will give you an average sales productivity figure and let you know how the average salesperson in your organization is doing. More useful, though, is to know how each individual salesperson is doing compared to the average. You may have a handful of relatively productive people who are carrying the load for a raft of underperformers. This is the kind of information you'll need to know to decide whether to make a change."
Aaron Ross gave excellent advice as he counseled to measure:
1 New leads generated per month
2 Number of qualified sales opportunities
3 Percentage of conversion rates
4 Total bookings or revenue
5 Win rates aka What percentage of new pipeline resulted in won sales?
Adding salespeople can result in steadily increasing sales...NOTICE the word can. It can free up time and resources, but it must be done smart and the right people must be hired. If the wrong ones are hired, it will hurt sales and the bottom line and destroy the company image in the marketplace.
Usually these wrong sales people are not bad, but are just in the wrong position. Oftentimes the sales job has not been dictated clearly enough, there is lack of leadership, vision and no clear tools given to the sales person that is just starting off. Perhaps the selling style you are looking for doesn't match the goals or the culture of the company and the hire misfires because of style issues.
No salesperson is motivated by good will towards the company. Just like any trust, a salesperson's trust needs to be earned as well. A company makes due by presenting a fair compensation package, clarifying the sales method, goals and processes and familiarizing the sales people with the right tools. If ANY of these are lacking - the company will run into problems and incur expensive hire/fire/hire costs as they try to match salespeople to mismatching and lacking sales processes. In order to avoid these costs - talk to your experienced sales staff and ask them for open advice and how the market is behaving, who the competition is and what needs to be done to improve sales.
Never just describe your needs to a new sales hire, but help the sales person to visualize him or herself part of a team, having fun, full of energy and committed to making sales successful. If this is not reality, take a good look in the mirror and try to think how these things can be brought into the company. Sales is fun and when it isn't - any hire you make, could be the last you make.
Best advice I ever heard on hiring came from Sir Richard Branson himself: " There is nothing more important for a business than hiring the right team. If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success. However, the best person for the job doesn’t always walk right through your door" More on Richard Branson's philosophy on hiring the right people, go to: