Mastering the Art of Sales Team Growth: Strategies for Success with Dr. Nadia Brown

For founders seeking a successful sales team setup, understanding the significance of identifying the right type of salesperson cannot be overstated. Taking the time to establish a clear process and encouraging growth within your team will pave the way for success. It’s vital to stay focused and remain optimistic, as the success of your sales team is within reach. Keep pushing forward, and you’ll soon see the fruits of your labor.

Here’s the transcript:


So one of the things that I often hear from founders who are at that point where they’re ready to hire, grow, expand their team, particularly as it relates to hiring a salesperson, is often I don’t know when or when is the right time? Or I know that at some point this isn’t necessarily the best use of my time in doing this role, but there’s often a lot of concern, lot of fear, maybe even trepidation about how that’s going to impact cash flow. If I, as a founder, extract myself from that role and allow someone else to take that role in that position and to do that piece of it, and so there is that piece of the timing piece. And what I often have found is that founders wait too late. They wait until they get to a point where they are now drowning under just the immense amount of pressure or time demands that come with all the other roles that they are doing within their business and then having this particular role of making sure that revenue is continuing to come through the business.


And so as you look at cash flow and as you look at your projections and your plans and your goals for this year and the years to come, you want to start to really consider, when do I hire a salesperson? And I will add, how do I set that person up for success? I often find in my work that a lot of times these founders are not setting their sales teams or people up for success, they’re actually setting them up for failure. And no one, I think, hires with the expectation that this person is going to leave or quit or not be successful in that role. There’s just so much time, energy and resources that goes into hiring and bringing someone on your team and getting them acclimated to the culture that why would you want them to leave so quickly?


And so to keep turnover low, to really help prepare. And I get we all make bad hires, but I think that it’s important that there are things that can definitely help prepare us for making that hire, but also help prepare that person to be successful in that role. And I don’t know what it is about salespeople, it seems. And I know I’m biased because that’s typically the role that I’ve been in or have supporting teams with. But it’s just like, what is it about salespeople that people often have that thought that, oh, if that person has done sales, any type of sales, then a lot of assumptions are just made that they’ll come in and they’ll immediately pick this up and they’ll be off to the races and they’ll just start selling and making our company a bunch of money.


They don’t need any training and that they’re only motivated by money. Like those seem to be the top things when it comes to salespeople in my experience. And I’m like, really? So let’s talk about it as a founder who is looking at growing a team. You’re growing, you’re scaling.


And you’re at that point where you’re like, at some point, if not now, this is not going to necessarily be the highest and best use of my time. And I’m going to need to have someone, if they’re not already on my team, I’m going to have to hire someone that comes in and supports my company in this way and bringing in revenue and making sales. So what does that look like? So the first thing I want you to think about is I need you to be really clear on what you need. There are different types of salespeople.


And so understanding what you need, what type of skill level you need, do you need a business development person, someone that’s going out and building relationships as well as sales? Do you already leverage an inbound marketing strategy? So you need more of a closer to just bring it on home? Do you need a combination of the two, something in between? There are a lot of different ways that someone can support you in the sales role.


And you need to be clear on what that is because that’s going to dictate the type of person you hire. It’ll also really look at dictate under my opinion, when you hire them. The second thing is, how about documenting the process? How do you do things? What is your organization’s language?


Who’s your ideal client? When we’ve done sales for other companies and supported them, one of the first questions I always ask is, how do we know this is the right person? Because personally, I don’t ever want to close a sale or enroll someone in a program or bring them in. And the person that I’m working with is like, I don’t want to work with this person. Right?


And so who is the right person? But also just what is your process? What has been working for your company, documenting that so that someone can come in and basically pick up your playbook and start to implement the things that you’ve already been doing. Too often, what I find though is that founders have a lot of things up here in their heads and that’s the only place it is. It’s not written down or if it’s written out, it’s literally like in one of my notebooks, right?


It’s not documented somewhere where it’s easily accessible to the team in order for someone, when there is a time is right, to be able to come in, pick up the ball and run with it. So again, that leads to a lot of I think sometimes that’s why we put it off, right, in hiring, because we’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t have any of this stuff documented, so what am I going to do? But it also makes it a lot more challenging when you do bring that person on board to get them quickly, onboarded, trained, and off to the races, right? So you want to start to do the baby steps. Open a Google Doc, because that’s one of the easiest things you can do.


Open a Google Doc, a notion Doc, whatever you’re using, and start to document the things that you’re doing. This is how I do it. This is how I like it. That’s the other thing. If there are things that you really like and that’s a standard, make it a standard, but put it in writing, no one can read your mind.


And so one of the things that we do is oftentimes and I’ve been guilty of it, so I’m right there with you, right? We bring people on and then we’re like, oh, but you didn’t understand, that’s how I like it. So if that’s how you like it, you want certain things in order, but you need to have it documented. It just makes it a lot more seamless when you do bring that person on board or they transition into that position. The third thing is really understanding what are your expectations around their performance.


So there needs to be some type of performance metrics, some type of key performance indicators that you need to have in place. It doesn’t have to be 18, it could be three. But what are the things that you are expecting and really understanding? A realistic timeline, but having something measurable that you can again communicate to that person, here are the things that I’m expecting. Here’s how I’m judging your performance.


Here’s how I’m making decisions on whether or not you are a good fit in this role in this company. Here’s how I’m thinking or determining whether or not you’re doing a good job so that that person isn’t coming on board. And now they’re guessing at what it is that you’re expecting. They’re guessing at how much time they have to produce before they’re considered not doing a great job or doing a great job right. And again, these may be questions that they should ask.


Not everyone asks them, but how much better would it be if you had an idea as the employer to understand, like, here’s what I’m expecting. Here’s some of the things, even in a sales role, granted, sales, making sales is definitely one of those indicators, but another indicator is how well do they document? Are they bringing in the right people? Are these people going out? They’re canceling, they’re not staying.


There’s no type of longevity, no type of loyalty rate. They’re not documenting information. So it’s all willy nilly. There are so many other things that can be part of a sales role other than just closing the sales that may impact your business and are important to you. So you want to make sure that you are clear on those expectations and that they’re documented so then you can share that information with your new team member.


And again, set that person up for success. Do the things that have things in place when that person comes on to make that transition as seamless as possible. Because honestly, it’s helping them get up to speed a lot faster. It’s taking some of that noise that may be going on in the back of their mind out so that they can focus on their role. If that person is clear on your expectations and you have those open lines of communication, then I know as a salesperson what it is you expect.


I’m not guessing, I know it’s right here, black and white. We’ve had a conversation about it. It’s been clearly communicated, check done. And now I can focus on my role and focus on actually meeting and exceeding your expectations as the employer again. But many times we don’t do that.


So there’s just a lot of unspoken expectations which then creates a lot of weirdness in the energy. It impacts team culture, it can actually become very toxic and it could definitely lead to high turnover, which is just a pain for you and it’s not helping your business at all. It’s very counterproductive. So get really clear on your expectations. The fourth thing is training and coaching, having both and making the time for it.


So hello, technology. So if you had training, you don’t always have to do it live when that person comes on pre recorded. Again, if you can record how you do things even better, put it up in a portal, let people watch that that’s part of their onboarding when they first join your organization so that they are trained and ready to go. And again, you can also have them do assessments or quizzes to make sure they’re getting it. And you get feedback versus just conversation so that you know that they’re on top of it and that they’re good and that they have everything they need to be successful in that role.


And so you want to make sure that’s there and as well as coaching, being there to answer questions, but also guide them, provide timely feedback to help them be successful. Are their calls recorded? Can you listen to all a part of some of those calls to provide coaching? Here’s how you might have done that differently, or that might have worked better, or here’s how I might have addressed that, or oh, that’s cool, I never thought of that. Yeah, right.


Because again, we can also learn from people that come on to our team. But it’s really being there to support them, to not have this void of communication. And there’s no type of feedback. They don’t know how they’re doing, they don’t know your expectations. They’re just kind of out here hoping and wishing and praying that they’re knocking it out of the park.


And you have a whole list of uncommunicated expectations. No training, no coaching, no support, no feedback. And then one day you’re like, I’m not happy. This relationship is over, I’m hiring someone else. Right.


Okay. That might be a bit dramatic, but you get my point. And then the last one, and I’ve mentioned this, it really does look at and support you in having increased retention and lower turnover. And as I mentioned, it really can impact your team’s culture if you have a team of folks that don’t really know what’s happening because there’s a lack of communication, especially around performance, around expectations, and all of these different things. So you want to really look at, how can I create a culture where training, coaching, feedback, open communication, especially around expectations, performance is a thing, and it’s just part of how we do things.


We’re just an open organization. Things are documented. People know. They know what to expect. They’re not all these side conversations like, Did I get it right?


There’s just none of that there. And even as a small business, you can create a very strong culture. And in a time where the fight for talent is intense, to really get key talent and retain key talent, you can really still position yourself as an employer of choice by doing a lot of these things. Just the size of the company doesn’t matter. But culture is huge, and having a toxic culture can destroy your business and really halt or hinder its growth.


So taking a look and keeping track of turnover, like, why are people leaving? What changes do you need to make in the hiring process? And can some of these things that are covered today in this episode, really support you in making that culture stronger and really supporting any of your new team members? Not just your sales folks, but any of your new team members as they come on board? Sound good?


So we want to set our team members up for success. We don’t want to set our sales team up for failure because they play such a vital role within the organization, and we really don’t want to. It’s just so stressful for a founder. You know, you need to move out of this role. You don’t know who you’re going to trust, right?


In that role, you finally found someone you trust. Let’s keep them on the team any way that we can, if we possibly can. We will do everything in our power to keep them on the team, and then, of course, they decide to leave. Then it wasn’t on us, right? So thanks for joining me for another episode of Straight Talk About Sales.


And if you’re like Dr. Nadia, girl we need to talk. Because I’m a founder, I’m at that place where I know it is time for me to relinquish this. I would love to support you in that. I would love to have a conversation to see how our team can support you.


So head on over to our website at The Doyenne Agency. There’s a button there. Schedule some time for us to chat, and let’s look at how we can set your organization up for success so that your new and or existing sales team members feel well taken care of, fully supported. And they have. All the tools and resources available to support them in being the best salespeople for your organization and really helping your company grow and thrive.


All right, so,, I look forward to having a chat with you, and I will see you again real soon. Bye.