Building a Sales Team

Chris Dohl,
vice president of
The Alias Group

It is that time of year again, the beginning of the football season, and for 59.3 million people, that also means it’s the beginning of Fantasy Football season. Fantasy Football creates a time to get together with friends and become the general manager of your own NFL team. While eating pizza and drinking a beer or two, you have the sole responsibility of selecting a team of NFL players to compete for [insert funny team name here]. You are responsible for managing that team throughout the season, developing rookies, dropping poor performers, and making trades in hopes of winning the coveted Fantasy Football championship.

As an owner, VP of Sales, or any manager, you also get to be a GM. You get to hire your team, develop your less experienced talent, and unfortunately let go of your poor performers. The only thing you don’t get to do is trade a salesman to another company. Wouldn’t that be an interesting twist in the business world if the President of Comcast called the VP of sales at Dupont asking for salesman John Higgins in exchange for Mary Hernandez and their next new hire from UVA.

Building a sales team can be difficult, especially when you consider the different personality types of salespeople, the many levels of experience, and the varying levels of motivation. The Alias Group focuses on these factors when bringing in future salespeople to build that winning team.

  • Culture value add. We train salespeople for a living because selling is all we do. Lack of experience isn’t a major issue for us, as long as they feel comfortable in our culture and work well with our team. Will they deliver more? Do they have a unique customer focus? Can they form genuine connections with both their customers and co-workers? These are the skills we are looking for in our salespeople of the future.
  • Written and verbal communication skills. Salespeople need to articulate the benefits of their services or products. With email and texting both moving to the forefront of communication, it is imperative that salespeople have the ability to not only speak with conviction but to write concisely and correctly.
  • Demonstrated initiative. Excellent salespeople are self-starters. They don’t need to be micromanaged. They understand that often times sales can be a numbers game and the more outgoing activities and the quicker their responses to customers’ questions, the better their sales numbers. Great salespeople think about what leads are getting away from them and creatively think of new ways to initiate conversation.
  • Persistence. This is the final attribute needed to ensure success in sales. If a lead doesn’t have time to talk, politely try to schedule another time to call and move on to the next prospect. Doing this over and over again is difficult, but once that proactive work gains momentum, opportunities get created and deals begin to close. A salesman who consistently does the right things will always see the benefits.

Just like in Fantasy Football, a balanced team with some upside provides you with the best chance of hitting your end of year goals. The perfect football roster usually consists of a running back who grinds out every yard, a QB who assesses the field and makes an adjustment to take advantage of what the defense is giving them, and a flashy wide receiver who goes for the big catch and always wants the ball at the end of the game.

Your sales roster should look the same. A sales team that consists of a salesperson who continues to dial and grind out their proactive activities every day, partnered with a strategic listener who pushes marketing to modify sales tools to more effectively reach their audience. Finish that team off with someone who goes for the big deal and doesn’t stop at the quick win, and you’ll ensure that you’ll make your sales goal playoffs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Dohl is the Vice President of Sales at The Alias Group and uses his operations experience driving improvement in manufacturing processes to streamline the sales process. The goal of The Alias Group is to create unique sales and marketing processes to drive customers’ growth in a wide range of industries.

Before coming to work at The Alias Group in 2006, he studied Operations Management at the University of Delaware and worked at W.L. Gore & Associates as a Manufacturing Leader in the Electronic and Industrial divisions.

Chris’s passion is his family, and enjoys running his daughter and two sons to a variety of sporting events. On a rare break from selling and enjoying time with his family, Chris enjoys golfing at his home course, Hartefeld National, and playing poker with his buddies.

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