The truth is that every product or service requires sales. It doesn’t matter if you are B2C or B2B, you will “eventually” need a sales team. For certain products especially the ones that are more B2B focused might need a sales team right away, whereas a SaaS app might need one later down the line.
Selling is an art and selling is what will take your business to the next level. Now it boils down to the main question, how do I move forward with building my first sales team? What roles do I need to hire for? How much money do I need to set aside for hiring sales?
Yes…I know it can get overwhelming. No worries, I’m here to the rescue. In this article, I’ll break down the basics to building your first sales team.
Not one size fits all
The truth is that there isn’t one “sales team” that fits all. It’s all actually based on the product or service that you are trying to sell. For example in a B2B environment, you might need a few enterprise sales reps.
It’s important to first determine your ideal targets and customers. As a whole, a sales team is responsible for meeting the growth goals of a company in terms of the sale of products, subscriptions, services, and so on.
Because of this it is important to layout all the foundations and the type of roles that you actually need. We’ll start with breaking down the most basic sales roles.
Basic sales roles
If there’s one role that every sales team need it is an account executive. This role fits for all types of product and services. Usually account executive is responsible for closing the deal in a sales team.
An account executive is in charge of selling goods or services to prospects and making tailored pitches in order to increase the likelihood that they will close the deal and convert these prospects to paying clients. Oftentimes, the company will set sales quotas that must be met by the account executive.
The thing about account executives that you need to know is that their main responsibility is to CLOSE deals and usually not to prospect or drive leads. That’s a whole different role.
Account executives will usually take a qualified lead and present them with the demo/offering. They are responsible for following up with the leads as well as offering upsell offers.
A big mistake a lot of newer sales teams make is that they tend to hire an account executive for a “mixed role” where they try to make them spend their time prospecting etc. This isn’t the correct approach and another role should be filled for lead generation, research, and prospecting.
Sales Development Rep
This is without a doubt one of the most important role in sales that you need to hire for. Matter of fact, this is the one that I would go for first.
This is the role that wears most of the sales hats and it’s an entry level position. They are in charge of prospecting for leads in the first place, or they may be given a list of leads via a marketing team email list or similar to do the outreach with.
Whatever the lead-generation process for a specific company is, the task of the sales development representative is to make sure these leads are qualified and move them through the sales pipeline. They would usually pass the qualified leads to the account executive and the account executive will be responsible for closing them.
A sales development rep (SDR) is responsible with coming up with the lead list, doing the lead research, and crafting personalized outreach. At times, they are also responsible for following up and getting in calls with the leads.
In the earlier days, it might be a good decision to outsource a part of the SDR’s work. With GrowthOK, we can help with this process by handling all the lead research, list building, and even personalized outreach to make your SDR’s life easier.
A sales ops role is to be in charge of the overall operation of the sales team and making sure that everything is running smoothly within the sales process.
In fact, they define sales operations by six categorical functions, all of which have deep roots in science and technology:
1) Data management. Sales operations managers help sales leaders pick and choose which data to examine. They also make sure data is clean, accurate, and complete (not to mention organized and rolled up into reports, ideally via a centralized and automated database).
2) Platforms and systems. A sales organizations CRM and other platforms or applications must be integrated, robust, and cost effective. The goal is for these assets to deliver value to the sales team in a scalable, flexible fashion.
3) Reporting and administration. Sales leaders and the sales force dont have much use for data thats raw, inaccurate, or untimely. Efficient processes and accurate reports and dashboards enable sales leaders to respond to market challenges and drive revenue growth.
4) Pricing and contracting support. Given the pace of business, its imperative that sales operations enable the sales team with high-quality proposals that can be turned around quickly and efficiently. Contracts must be positioned competitively; however, they must also fulfill company and customer objectives and establish mutual value.
5) Analytics and business insight. Intelligent analysis of raw data can be invaluable for sales leaders: Which customers are most receptive to certain products? What are the best practices of top-selling reps in the organization? Analytics from sales operations can provide answers to these kinds of questions and help sales leaders base decisions on facts, not intuition.
6) Lead generation and management. Many sales teams complain that leads from marketing are often useless. Meanwhile, marketers insist they’ve fulfilled their lead-generation objectives. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The sales operations function can make generating, capturing, and following up on leads a seamless, cost-effective, and collaborative process.
Next up is the sales engineer. If you run a company that has a more technical product, then a sales engineer is extremely necessary.
A sales engineer has multiple responsibilities
- Set up pre-sales demos and proof on concepts for customers
- Work with customers to understand their needs and ensure product fit
- Help sales figure out product configuration to be sold to the customers
- Help customers setup and deploy products once sold
- Continue working with customers to ensure high satisfaction and discover any new solution opportunities
- Be the voice of the customer to engineering teams
A good sales engineer is a technical evangelist for the product — to customers, sales and engineering.
Depending on the company, a sales engineer could also take up the role of a customer success manager, which usually handles all the customer onboarding, demos, and more.
Those are all the main roles that you will need in the beginning when you’re building out your sales team. Some companies will also hire a VP of sales or sales manager to be responsible for managing the entire sales funnel and hires, but that could be your first sales hire as well.
Do you actually need every role?
Now the biggest question is that do you need to hire for all those roles?
This would depend on your current company situation, but absolutely not. Matter of fact, I would only hire a sales development rep and an account executive in the beginning and I will outsource as much of the sales work as possible in the early days.
The problem with hiring new employees is that every employee requires training, resource, time, and they are indeed very expensive. A more affordable solution would be to outsource the sales process or at least a part of it. You can do that by reaching out to us at GrowthOK. We’ll help you fill out which ever part of the sales process that you need help with.