sales strategy

Building a sales team that will get your company to $1M in revenue

lemlist team
LAST UPDATED
May 27, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Your sales team can make or break your business.

So how can you build a sales team and set up an effective sales process when there is no standard procedure for it?

There are a few examples that deserve your attention due to the lessons they provide. 

In this article, you'll receive real-life tactics that will help you achieve two crucial outcomes:

  • build a sales team that will produce like crazy
  • put a sales process in place that will help you hit $1M in revenue

… and with limited resources!

All the advice comes from two guys who have done it themselves.

How to hire the right talent for your sales team?

Finding and hiring the right sales talent to grow and scale is crucial. But is there a right way to do it?

This was the first question we asked Scott Leese, CEO at Surf & Sales.

“You have to hire people capable of wearing a bunch of different hats and doing more. People, who have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit so they're not waiting to be told what to do, they see a need and fill a need.”

According to Scott, one of the things you can do is learn about their hobbies and interests outside of work, like what people do in their free time.

This approach can help you understand if the person is:

  1. a self-starter, someone who will take the initiative
  2. motivated to learn and do different things without being told to

Your team needs to be agile and act as a pocketknife. Scott is confident that you need to avoid bringing people who can do only one thing.

Alfie Marsh, Head of US Sales at Spendesk, thinks hiring is probably one of the biggest bottlenecks for a fast-growing company.

To find the best candidate, you have to be very clear about the scorecard of what makes someone successful in outbound sales. But also, be very clear about being able to find those characteristics within the interview process.

You can find the perfect fit for your company and attract top talent with cold outreach.

Alfie believes that characteristics such as curiosity and ownership are extremely important. 👇

The question is... what's the best way to uncover these characteristics?

Alfie suggests asking this question:

“Can you tell me about the biggest failure you've ever had in your life?”

After the answer, you can ask more about a case and its reasons for the failure and then hear whether this person took ownership and learned from that experience.

To recap everything mentioned by two sales maestros, the pillars of your hiring strategy are these:

  • Search for proactive people who don’t just announce the problem, but fix it.
  • You want to hire salespeople with a diverse set of skills. Search for people who are eager to do not only one thing, but are open to learning and implementing something new.
  • Your sales team should consist of people who are not afraid to take ownership or make mistakes, but learn how not to make them a habit.

How to onboard new sales team members?

Hiring the right person is only half of the job.

You have to consider how you will onboard your new sales reps.

But keep in mind that every person is unique, so the person accountable for onboarding needs to be able to inspire the people next to them and help them crush it.

Scott explains that the best way to onboard people is to give them the ability to learn in a lot of different ways. For example...

  1. Research, study, analyze
  2. Role play
  3. Conduct tests where people will be asked questions (e.g. product features)

All these different modalities allow different types of learners to find a style that suits them the best.

“I think the right thing to do is to have conversations with each individual and try to provide them the support that feels right for them.

So if someone says, “leave me alone for an hour and let me try to figure this out” then you leave that person alone. But if they say “I’d love to have somebody on my calls from the beginning” then you support them that way.”

Another thing that Scott thinks is crucial is to record people's calls because this is the most efficient way to provide example-based feedback. Help them identify areas where they can improve and habits that they probably don’t notice they’re doing.

Give them tips on how they can make their meetings more productive.

It's also a really good way for sales reps to learn independently and do some self-assessment.

How to build a sales process?

According to Scott, one of the main reasons why so many companies fail is a lack of a sales strategy.

As a founder or head of sales who is just in the middle of creating a sales team - you have to take everything you have in your brain and put it on paper.

From what your product does to how a cold call and email copy should look like.

All these things should be written down in your sales playbook. Give this to your sales reps as a learning resource and a good starting point.

To get the better idea, here is what can be included in your playbook, with comments from Scott and Alfie.

  • Ideal customer profile

Start with a hypothesis, and don't overthink it too much. Set a list of segments that could be a good fit, test it, and analyze results. Your ICP will evolve as you receive more data.

You can also check this guide on how to create it.

  • Market positioning

Focus on market conditions, comparative strengths, and weaknesses.

  • Sales methodology

On the webinar, Scott shared his selling methodology through " The Addiction Model". According to him, to start pitching the product you need to:

1) Get somebody to admit that they have a problem
2) Get them to understand that solving this problem is important
3) Make them agree that there's an urgency to solve it

Think your sales funnel through

For example, our lemlist funnel lies on three pillars. In this article, we talk about them in great detail. Also, think about optimizing this process with CRMs and Field Sales Managment Software.

  • Sales cadences and scripts

Scott likes having sales scripts. Before a meeting, he suggests visualizing  perfect sales conversation, writing it down, and keeping it in front of you during the call.

Finally, Scott and Alfie agree that the goal is not to turn your sales team into robots that blindly follow a script.

The idea is to have formulas and frameworks in place, but to leave enough room for people to play wit their cards as well.

Biggest sales mistakes and how to avoid them

Everybody makes mistakes. You do it, your sales team does it.

The trick is not to make a habit of it.

We asked Scott and Alfie to share the most common mistakes sales reps usually make and how they prepare their teams to avoid those pitfalls.

1) Don’t fall in love with the product

Pitch the value and not the features. Scott suggests cutting the list of all the cool things your product does to 3-4 main things that matter the most to your customer.

2) Don’t show the product before talking about pain

“I will be happy to show you the product, but right now, I’d really like to understand what challenges you have” - this is the question you can use.

Alfie also added this one... “ Why have you decided to do something about this now instead of two months ago?”

According to him, this will help you understand the situation better before you send your business proposal.

3) Be specific about the agenda

Always discuss the next steps and be clear with the agenda. If you are planning a subsequent call, you ought to set a date and time for it.

If someone says that they are not sure or that there are other people who have to be involved on the next meeting, Alfie suggests to propose putting a placeholder in both calendars, and then check two days before whether it still works.

If not, reschedule.

4) Don’t upsell during the demo

“If the prospect doesn't have the money for the premium plan and starts thinking the basic plan is bad 'cause you told them the premium one is the best...

... they won’t take the basic one, and they'll probably just disappear”.

Close the deal once you hear that somebody is a good fit for a particular plan.

[Bonus] Cold email tips that will increase your reply rate

Once you've researched and figured out your ideal customer profile, it's time to book more meetings and boost that revenue.

You can use different channels to contact your prospects and motivate them to book a call with you.

We prefer cold emails. 😅

So,we just wanted to add a cherry on the top of this article with 9 short videos that will bring 🔥 cold email hacks to your world...

... and make your reply rate go nuts.

Check out the full video here!

And in case you need help with cold email templates, I have just the thing for you.

Bottom line

All pieces of advice shared by Alfie and Scott in this article are based on their own experience that helped them reach fantastic results like growing to $1M in a year in Alfie's case and go from zero paying customers and no revenue to capturing ~15% market share in 3 years if we're talking about Scott.

But it takes time and practices to hit these milestones.

The main message here is... they all started from somewhere, before they were able to pop the champagne. ❤️

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Price
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Standout feature
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$2,999/mo
Large, distributed sales teams
AI evaluation precision, gamified KPIs
Lack of tracking system
4.6
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Not publicly available
Sales operations and finance teams
Powerful configurability
Limited training resources and complex to navigate
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Mid-market and enterprise businesses
Comprehensive incentive management
Potentially high cost and steep learning curve
4.7
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$40/user/mo
Enterprise: custom price
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Steep learning curve
4.6
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star-half
Not publicly available
Collaborative teams
Connected planning
Complexity and steep learning curve
4.6
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Not publicly available
Companies with complex sales structures
Complex incentive compensation management (ICM) with high efficiency and accuracy
Complexity for smaller teams and potentially high costs
4.7
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Companies who want to automate commission calculations and payouts
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Custom: upon request
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4.8
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Not publicly available
Companies with modern sales culture and businesses who want real-time insights
A built-in dispute management and real-time visibility
Users say it works slowly, customer support is slow
4.9
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star
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$30/user/mo
$50/user/mo
Smaller sales teams
Powerful automation
Lesser user base and average user interface
4.7
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Not publicly available
Companies with scalable needs
Automated Commission Calculations
Lack of filtering by date, no mobile app
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CRM
Summary
Backbone of a business's internal operations.
Backbone of customer-centric interactions and operations.
Goal
To centralize and streamline core business processes in a company.
To increase customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.
Focus
Internal operations and processes across departments (finance, accounting, inventory, supply chain, HR, and sales).
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Manages
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All customer data like contact info, purchase history, communication history, customer preferences and more.
Users
Finance, accounting, operations, supply chain, and HR departments.
Customer-facing teams like sales, marketing, and customer service.
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Streamlines operations, improves data accuracy, enhances decision-making, boosts collaboration, increases productivity.
Improves customer relationships, increases sales, strengthens customer service, personalizes marketing campaigns, provides insights.
Price
$150 per user per year on average.
$10 to $30 per user per month on average.
PRM Tool
Rating
Feature
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Mobile App
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Free Plan
Pricing
4.65
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Org-wide alignment
User-friendly layout and database
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Lack of tracking system
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Team: $20/month
Business: $45/month
4.7
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Social Media Integration
Easy contact data collection
No marketing/sales features
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Lack of tracking system
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4.75
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Limited
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Business: €14/month
N/A
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Open-source flexibility
Requires extensive manual input
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Limited
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iOS only
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Smart Contact Management
Feature-rich and flexible
Reported bugs
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Rich
square-xmark
7-day trial
Premium: $13.99/month
Teams: $17.99/month
4.4
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star
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Customizable Interface
Customizable for teamwork
Pricey for personal use
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Rich
square-xmark
Standard: $24/member
Premium: $39/member
4.7
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star-half
Integrated Calling
Integrated Calling
Too sales-oriented & pricey
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Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
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Professional: $329/user/month
4.8
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Business Card Scanning
Business Card Scanning
Mobile only
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Limited
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$9.99/month
4.45
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160+ app integrations
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Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
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4.5
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14-day
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4.2
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30-day
square-xmark
But it offers reduced price to authorised nonprofit organisations
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Best overall operational CRM
4.3
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square-xmark
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4.1
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star
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square-xmark
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Limited 10 users
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Free plan for very small teams up to 10
CRM goal
Increase the sales conversion rate for qualified leads from marketing automation campaigns by 10% in the next 6 months.
SMART Breakdown
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