Developing High Performing Sales Teams

Selling in the hardwood lumber industry is a daily activity. We all know how important it is and how vital it is to success! It has been said that your sales team can be considered the “spearhead” for your future growth. If that is true, then it is very important that your sales team operate at peak efficiency at all times.

For all the members of the Baillie Group, whether that be American Lumber, Superior Hardwoods or Hawkeye Forest Products, our team is constantly looking for ways to improve our sales team’s performance. In the process, we have found focusing on these suggested best practices to be useful.

It starts with recruiting. A success-driven sales team starts with recruiting the right individuals to make up that team. There are plenty of recruitment strategies out there, but tapping into your employees’ networks through a referral program that can open up the search process.

Let your employees know how valuable their referrals are and give referred job candidates the best possible applicant experience.

Invest in customized training and onboarding. All employees need proper training and onboarding, but perhaps none so more than your prospective sales team. Upon being hired, each new salesperson should acquire the knowledge and tools needed for a thorough grasp of your company culture, sales process, areas of competition, and so on. We like to also include an extensive introduction to our sawmill operations, the way we kiln dry hardwood lumber and the various valued added products we offer customers such as S4S moulder boards, exact-ripped-to-width lumber and proprietary lumber products we sort for customers.

Onboarding often works best when you take new hires “through roleplay scenarios so they can understand how to react in real-world situations,” advises Nutshell.

Share a vision that inspires. Obviously, salespeople are hired to make sales. But their eventual success depends upon the sales manager (and/or those higher up in the company hierarchy) to articulate a vision of what that success should look like. “What are your objectives for the sales volume, revenue, profitability, return on investment, market penetration, and market share?” asks SOCO / Sales Training. Whatever the answer, you should provide the vision “and leave the ‘how’ (tactics and implementation) to your sales team.

Create a standardized sales process. While your customers are each unique in their own ways (and may have different needs for your products or services), sales experts advise adopting a standardized approach to move prospects among the sales funnel. Make sure the sales team is “delivering a consistent customer experience,” advises “They will do this by following an optimized sales process” that can “achieve repetitive outcomes.”

Sales is among the most critical operations within any organization. It only makes good sense to devote time and resources to creating a team that is high performing, routinely achieves their goals, comes up with innovative approaches, and displays a real ability to connect with the target market.

What other practices work for you? 

Tony C.
Baillie Group
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