As promised in our last post, “Sales is fun”, today, the subject of this article focuses on a guide to building a sales team, seen through the eyes of one of the most experienced salespersons in the business. Chris Bijou offers 30-years-experience within the sales profession, in which he has formed more than one sales team. You can read more about his experience via “The deal makers handbook”, “How to focus on strongholds to close a million-dollar deal”, “The art of closing”, and “Sales is fun”.
A summary follows for those who haven’t got the time or just don’t want to go through the articles indicated, although it is recommended to read them. Chris Bijou, throughout his 30-year-career, is proud of having constructed excellent teams at executive levels and having changed the go-to-market strategy for many top-tier corporations. These trained professionals who moved on to other projects or changed their go-to-market approach because of Chris can be found in Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Adobe, Intel, etc.
Chris Bijou is a family man that has enjoyed fatherhood educating nine children with his beloved wife, and through this journey, they have built a great family team by house building. An experience that has left many tricks and tips that can be transferred to the sales team is the ability to build and solidify the family team.
At such a level, we initiate the construction of a loyal sales team, where building within the business nourishes team spirit and cements a well-established sales force. Following this formula establishes a solid foundation that gives the whole team a sense of belonging because it draws them into the business’s core.
To better understand the procedure to build a team building, Chris provides some practical examples from his family experience. You can check them in more detail through “7 Imperatives for Developing Corporate Communication” and “Invisibility Cloak Management”. With no further ado, let’s dig into the observations Chris has to offer on how to build your first sales team.
There are seven essential factors to inject into the sales team to accentuate their ability to start, understand, follow up, and formalize set targets. Growing these seven foundational lessons gives an evergreen field in which to nurture with care and patience an outperforming sales team:
Providing the newbie team with these lessons empowers them to proactively and naturally reach the targets at a greater pace and precision. Done on a top-tier level, the sales team won’t only perform; it will have fun during the whole process, making each component of the team an asset.
Once the seven lessons are presented, we’ll continue with the role of the executive leading the way and teaching the sales team. A key figure that has to work hard to stay away from the ABC, 123, DO RE MI, of the executive’s role. The seven lessons to build on to acquire your first sales team now.
Too often, not only at the workplace but also throughout our lives, we assume that something has been understood, but it hasn’t. Assuming directions are clear and all the information needed has been given is wrong. A good sales team can’t afford to assume, they must assure, or it will lead to or be the result of, the following point; miscommunications.
Fixing miscommunication is a costly move within sales, both economically and in terms of time and energy costs, and other collateral damages. As mentioned above, assumptions can be regarded as malformed communication processes. Thus, spending a little extra time explaining things in the first place eliminates the possibility of the next lesson; friction.
This lesson must be injected very soon because it is tough to overcome once friction is on the table. “This is especially true when friction happens between coworkers or a boss and an employee.”, In Chris’ words. Thus, avoiding friction moments demonstrates a solid team where annoyance doesn’t exist.
Being annoyed is not wanted at any stage of any game. However, unfortunately, it does occur regularly, and in some cases, the person who’s going through this pain point isn’t the one to blame. It is usually a fault in the early stages of the sale process due to lack of communication or assuming, which leads to internal team frustrations and prone to friction moments.
Here is a paraphrase, to understand the concept of incompleteness, Chris says, “Because it’s harder to fix something once it’s in place, we are often left with a sense it’s incomplete and not exactly as intended (or advertised). This produces a lasting feeling of lost value.” Another sign chained to miscommunication and assumptions leads to friction and annoyance, resulting in a bad sales team.
At this point, we turn to the vendor who takes a revenue hit without having done anything to deserve it. The result cost them because of internal misunderstandings inside the sales team that shut down the initially planned idea of purchase follow-ups with the vendor. Reaching this stage can be a clear sign of team breakdown, forcing the process to start again.
What comes out naturally in a good sales team is the final verification of the targets and results expected. Something that occurs in much less proportion when a sales team has very little or no foundations, as Chris points out, “5 people were involved… No one took the extra 5 minutes to verify…”. Having this technique come naturally to all the individuals involved in the sales team is priceless.
As promised, here are the specifications that executives should consider during the whole process of building your first sales team. One of the main problems seen at executive levels is the lack of mentoring and coaching, which essentially leads to scaling. One of the significant errors executives exhibit when such actions come into play is the complacency and monotony of following the executive path.
As Chris indicates, through his 30-years of experience as a salesperson and executive, the management team lacks a frontline position on many occasions. In other words, the executives are not side-by-side with their sales team to simplify and validate on the go, or as Chris says, “…your managers are spending more time managing their executives than managing their front line.”
To be able to confront the executive status quo (“I’m in a meeting, can’t talk right now.” or “This phone call is very important, we’ll talk about it later), and become a proactive sales team manager, Chris recommends to:
· Build core principals with front-line hours executives.
· Analyze the executives' agenda to ignite more frontline action.
· Build-up agents' mindset to deviate from group performance ceiling.
According to Chris, to gain a good sales team, “Executives should spend more time simplifying and validating at the front line. When the information rolling up isn’t believable, that’s a great indicator your reporting is too difficult, and your managers are spending more time managing their executives than managing their front line.”.
Chris, in this point, is specific and suggests spending a certain amount of time doing direct coaching work within the weekly schedule. An agenda analysis to start this process is to “Track two weeks of time—hour by hour. Then analyze where you actually spend your time. If you’re not spending 3X the amount of time developing your direct reports vs. other commitments, you’re not managing and not scaling.”
In the case of the team components, these agents have to attain a specific mindset to think out of the box and be self-assured. An agent should consider “Self-coach using your peers. Taking responsibility for your success daily is a life skill. You’ll also find you’re quickly not hampered by the group performance ceiling. The group is performing at mediocre levels because of habit, not reality.”.
Giving some final thoughts to conclude, Chris Bijou insists on the necessity of keeping good communication streamlined between executives and agents. Otherwise, the recurrent loop within the sales team will become a fire & hire nightmare process instead of a build & guild dream process. Mastering these attributes comes through by simply implementing the importance of clear and upfront communications into the plan.
Going astray leads to the unwanted seven previous lessons in which a chain reaction is triggered, and having to go through these aching points is a hassle. As Chris indicates, losing track of front-line management leads to the executive no being available; thus, coaching isn’t established, and as a result, agents feel isolated.
This situation arises due to the team manager's perception, believing his hiring skills are top-notch, but loses team members, understands his 123, ABC, DO RE MI procedure is team management. When what he is doing is managing his executive perception and therefore failing because he’s “Doing question/answer management versus coaching (scaling) development.” So remember to keep these lesson recommendations alive:
As a team leader, don't cloak your managing abilities, be honest with yourself, the team, and consequently the business your corporation strives to achieve. It is a recipe that cooks at its best when basic manners are inputted and team members are naturally curious.
Implementing these strongholds to build a new sales team forces you to consider some essential facts that Chris has seen throughout his 30-years-experience as a salesperson. These are the following:
· Calls are remembered at the beginning and end
· Never end a call on an unsure note
· The team manager is the most important figure
· A great salesperson isn’t necessarily a good team leader
· Find the collective why of the group
· Look for a common big goal
· 60% of salespeople don’t cover their salary
· Seven is the magic number for team members
Use these facts to provide good outcomes that will grow into the team, cultivating a well-educated sales team focused on outperforming. Another final indication from Chris is to be capable of foreseeing weak links that haven’t got the capacity for the betterment and release them from the group. It may come as a harsh positioning, but as Chris has learned through the years, the time and cost that these individuals input into the team aren’t worthwhile.
We hope you’ve enjoyed it and have some takeaways for building your first, following, or new sales team through Chris's insights. We will continue to present more priceless information about your sales experience by concentrating on the compassionate side of the sales strategy in our next article. With the help of the 30-year-experienced salesperson that Chris Bijou is.
May your business live long and prosper 🖖!