• Garrett S Wood

Foundations of a Successful Sales Team - Part 1 of 3: People


This is the first of a three part installment based on the author’s experience building million dollar revenue centers for gig economy unicorns.

TL;DR: Sales matters. It’s not clear where to start. Here’s what you should focus on: Building a sales team brings a laundry list of to-dos: interview candidates, write a script, develop training, implement a CRM, structure commission, and countless other tasks. The goal of this guide is to provide a systematic and replicable approach to lay the foundations of a successful sales team.




Part 1: People


Fact one: People are different. Fact two: People matter.

Result: Top performers will be orders of magnitude more productive than bottom performers.

Successful hiring is broken down into two components:

1. Assessment

A hiring manager’s instinct is often a poor predictor of job performance; it can even be worse than selecting candidates at random. Before you begin recruiting, determine which qualities enable success in your role, and establish a way to consistently identify those attributes. Do not be content to hire someone who seems nice or good with people. You’re building a sales team, not a book club.


Know what you’re looking for. As you understand your product and sales process, identify which characteristics are most important in a salesperson. Does the sales require technical knowledge? Does the sale require significant relationship building?. Once you’ve found the most important traits, you must then identify how to test for them.

Measure twice; cut once. Use work sample, cognitive, and personality assessments in the interviewing process with a standard set of interview questions and grading rubric. This approach confers three main benefits: 1) predicts performance more accurately, 2) saves recruiters time by pre-screening candidates, and 3) enables improvement over time. Pro-tip: Don’t forget to measure the ruler —run regressions on each salesperson’s work performance and compare it their interview scorecard to identify which questions and attributes best-predict success.


2. Recruiting

Successful sales teams attract high quality candidates. Strong recruiting drives growth and reduces both the burden on training and systems (discussed in part two and three). Poor recruiting encumbers growth — an understaffed team leaves opportunities on the table — and worse undermines a strong culture. Be ultra-selective with your early hires. A strong culture is imperative for success and is slow and difficult to change. Early hires have a tremendous influence on the culture of your team. Your early hires will be seen as leaders on the sales floor. New hires listen and learn from your existing team — picking up good and bad practices. In addition, starting with a strong team can help with recruiting. Great people know other great people, creating a strong referral channel for future hires.


Align recruiting with sales performance. Recruiters are often evaluated on filling the role in as little time as possible, but receive little feedback on the quality of their hires. Compounding the issue, recruiters frequently don’t fully understand the profile of your top performers and have a natural tendency to hire people that are similar to themselves. To combat this problem, set up regular meetings between the sales manager and recruiter to provide feedback on the quality of the candidates, the ideal profile, job requirements, and performance ratings for all hires.

The highest ROI activity for a sales manager is to invest in great people — the engine of the sales org. A great salesperson will drive growth for the business. A poor salesperson is a nuisance that will frustrate even the best manager’s attempts to turn them into a high performer. Building a strong team through assiduous assessment and informed recruiting gives sales managers the opportunity to win.


Key Takeaways


The highest ROI activity for a sales manager is to invest in great people — the engine of the sales org. A great salesperson will drive growth for the business. A poor salesperson is a nuisance that will frustrate even the best manager’s attempts to turn them into a high performer. Building a strong team through assiduous assessment and informed recruiting gives sales managers the opportunity to win.

In part two, we will address Training to ensure your salespeople onboard quickly and reach their potential.

About GetSales

GetSales is building the highest-performing customer acquisition engine in the world. Previously implemented in the fastest growing consumer technology companies in the world to leverage billions in marketing spend and deliver millions of customers, GetSales combines its highly skilled salespeople with its proprietary data and technology platform to deliver end-to-end customer acquisition. About the Author Garrett Wood is the President and Founder at Get Sales, Inc., a customer acquisition engine focused Marketplace and Gig-economy businesses. Prior to GetSales, Wood worked at Uber where he created the first National Driver Inside Sales organization and Offline Driver Growth channel.

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