A strong, high-performance sales team is critical to a successful business. But what makes a sales team truly great, and what strategies can leaders use to create a team that's highly successful? To address these questions, we're talking to CROs and sales executives about "How To Turn a Good Sales Team into a Great One." As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Weitz.
Thank you for doing this with us! Before we begin, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. What brought you to this career path?
I have always loved helping people and giving back, so my original plan for my life was to become a teacher. However, I quickly learned that it would be challenging to live the life I wanted for myself on a teacher’s salary. I first got my foray into the finance world when a friend encouraged me to apply for an underwriter position at the finance company he worked for. Thankfully, I scored the job.
From there, I quickly rose the ranks and was soon leading my business development and sales team. Through this experience, I discovered that I could still positively impact others while also crafting the life I had always dreamed of.
What's the most interesting or amusing story that has occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or takeaway from it?
I was on a business trip to attend a conference a few years ago. The day before the conference, I was out at dinner and struck up a conversation with another man sitting near me, as he said he was in town for the conference, too.
We talked about life, our families, travels, and more. Throughout the conversation, we didn’t even mention our businesses. We wrapped up our conversation and exchanged goodbyes. The next day, I ran into the same man at the conference. We chatted again, this time talking about our businesses. As it turns out, he was the owner of a company that needed funding. I explained our business and scored the deal with him right away.
One of the key takeaways from this encounter was to be personable instead of salesy. I didn’t try to coerce him into anything, but instead, I formed a genuine relationship with him and, in doing so, made a business deal that made sense for us both.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? Tell us about it!
Absolutely, we are currently expanding our options for funding more than ever. By having more connections with lenders and more options for the companies we work with, we can continue to provide the lowest interest rates and best terms in our industry.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person you're grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
Yes, I have many people to thank for where I am. Many of the people who were on the founding team at United Capital Source are still here today, including many of our talented salespeople. Without their devotion to the success of our company, we wouldn’t have been able to reach such great success.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience leading sales teams? How many years of experience do you have, and what size teams?
I have led several sales teams, including our team here at UCS which is currently a small but mighty 10 people. I have over 15 years of experience with sales and leading teams.
What do you think makes a sales team great? What strengths or characteristics do you try to cultivate?
A great sales team must have a clear understanding of their target market and the products or services they are selling. This allows them to tailor their approach to their potential customers' specific needs and wants. Strong communication skills are essential. This includes not only the ability to pitch products or services effectively, but also the ability to listen actively and understand customer needs.
A great sales team should also be highly motivated and engaged. This can be achieved by setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, and offering incentives and rewards for meeting or exceeding targets. A great sales team should be diverse regarding skills, personalities, and backgrounds. This allows them to bring different perspectives and approaches to the table, and to better connect with a diverse customer base.
Lastly, a great sales team should be continuously learning and growing. This includes regular training and development opportunities and encouraging them to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.
As with any department, there can be a lot of different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. How do you manage such diversity on an individual basis? Is there such a thing as a blanket motivator?
Managing diversity within a sales team is a welcome challenge, as it brings many alternative viewpoints and ideas to the table. One way I’ve succeeded in managing a diverse team is by assigning roles and responsibilities based on skills and personality. If someone is better at closing than they are at relationship management, they will likely be a closer for our team instead of an account manager.
Although everyone is motivated by different things, I’ve found a good blanket motivator to be compensation. Especially in sales, I’ve found that our team is highly motivated to close when they receive great commissions for bringing business to the company.
What strategies have you tried to increase motivation, engagement, and productivity? We want to hear it all!
One of the more interesting strategies we have implemented is gamification. Each month, we have a special mystery prize for the salesperson who closes the most business for us. Some examples of what we give away are concert tickets, fun office items, or gift cards. It makes closing fun and exciting each month, and we have found that our team is highly competitive with each other to win!
Of all the strategies you've tried, which did you find to be most effective? How did this have a direct correlation to sales?
We have found gamification to be extremely helpful, as our sales team is very motivated to win and get a mystery prize. Ultimately, whenever we make sales fun and exciting, we see better results as far as closing and revenue generated.
Can you tell us about a time that your sales team outperformed their targets? How high over did they go, and what was that like for everyone?
Our team actually outperformed their sales targets by ~15% this past December! As it can be a slower month, it was surprising but incredible to see that we crushed our goal. In early December, we all met up as a team to have a holiday party at a nice restaurant. It was a blast for everyone involved, and we all bonded. I think the bonds we shared might have contributed to stellar performance in a typically slower month.
Great things often take time. What do you think is a realistic timeline to take a sales team from good to great?
Give yourself a year of runway when turning a team from good to great. Oftentimes, leveling up a sales team includes educating your sales team on your product or service, providing sales training, analyzing sales calls, and adjusting strategy. All of these changes can be a timely undertaking, so expect results to shift dramatically in no less than 6 months to a year.
In your professional experience, what are the five strategies that will help turn a good sales team into a great one?
1 . Provide product or service education. For a sales team to perform to the best of their ability, they need to know what they are selling inside and out. They must be able to field questions, explain themselves, and prescribe solutions.
2 . Compensation is key. One of the biggest motivators for salespeople is handsome compensation. Many business owners try to give the lowest commission possible to increase their bottom line. However, this is self-sabotage because salespeople will be more likely to close and close for higher amounts when adequately compensated.
3 . Lean into strengths. Every team member will be different, so putting salespeople in roles that fit their strengths and skills will help increase the team’s output.
4 . Invest in training. Workshops, conferences, and courses can all be helpful tools in bringing your team to the next level. Set aside funds to allocate to sales training and reap the rewards.
5 . Encourage empathy. Instead of focusing on high-pressure sales tactics, encourage relationship-building and empathy between your clients and salespeople. Clients are much more willing to work with you if you are genuine, so encouraging that behavior in your team is key to building a great sales team.
Lastly, if you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
If I could inspire a movement, it would be to promote the importance of education and lifelong learning. Education is a powerful tool that can help individuals to achieve their full potential and to make a positive impact on their communities and the world. By investing in education, we can build a more equitable, just and prosperous society for all.
How can our readers further follow your work online?