Throughout the years, I've had the privilege to observe a multitude of companies from the inside out. I've taken particularly close notice of the companies that have managed to develop amazing sales teams filled entirely with rainmakers.
It's not a coincidence, but rather a purposeful approach. Here is what I discovered.
1. Recruit potential salespeople based on values.
People have got to believe in your product and it starts at the recruiting base. You want to recruit salespeople who believe in what you're doing—who value your product or service and your mission. When it comes to turning your sales team into true rainmakers, it can start with that initial job ad.
You can recruit people authentically by sharing what you're all about—your company's mission. For example, my company Profit First Professionals exists to “eradicate entrepreneurial poverty." When people respond to our ads, they know our purpose and during interviews we ask how it resonates with them. Try to be vocal about your mission and how you're being of service to your customers. This can help to attract salespeople who believe in what you're doing.
2. Ask to see their past sales reports.
This is a trick learned from author and expert in sales management, Jack Daly. When you interview salespeople, ask how they have performed at their existing company or their past company compared to their coworkers. Then, regardless of their performance, consider asking them to bring you their most recent sales report. Further vet the report with their former employer, if possible, to make sure the report is a true reflection of their performance and not an anomaly. It can help identify which of your sales team candidates is a true rainmaker and possibly a future recruit.
3. Incentivize the sale for your sales team.
All too often, salespeople are given a comfortable base salary and then aren't motivated to sell. They may coast for as long as possible before moving on to the next job.
A base salary may not even be necessary, but if it is, don't allow it to support an extravagant living standard. Your salespeople should have to live off of the work they generate. Consider setting a commission plan that supports your sales team's personal life objectives. You can build a structure around your salesperson's current life standard and if they sell well, they can grow and expand.
4. Provide education and training to your sales team.
Possibly one of the most overlooked steps in creating rainmakers is giving them consistent education and training.
Here at Profit First Professionals, our salespeople work inside the organization for a year providing the service that we offer. Only once they've become highly efficient and heralded by our clients as extraordinary are they in a position to sell. The beauty of this is our salespeople know exactly what they're doing and how to stage clients for wins.
In many organizations, when there is a conflict with the service, the salespeople don't know how to deliver. But our team has experienced the service and therefore are prepared to position the clients for long-term retention.
If it isn't an option for your sales recruits to start out in in your service department, consider having them shadow the service department or other integral aspects of the organization for an extended period of time. This can help them garner a true understanding of the organization and what a customer's experience would be.
5. Focus on customer retention as well as getting customers.
Try not to just motivate your salespeople to sell—you want them to retain, too. You may have a reduced commission or reward plan for retention, but this component is just as important as the sale. Customer relations are not over the day the initial sale is made.
Consider encouraging your salespeople to stay in regular contact with customers. This can help ensure customers are fully engaged and keep coming back.
6. Gamify your sales team's goals.
Consider making your sales team's goals and achievements public. I've seen a scoreboard on the sales floor, much like one you'd find in a football stadium, spotlighting how much each person is selling on a given day. Sales were public and gamified. Sound effects and celebrations would erupt when sales are made and the rankings constantly shift. This can be a powerful tool to connect your sales team to the spirit of the sale.
7. Learn from your best salespeople and disseminate to everyone else.
You may already have a sales script that you like your salespeople to use. But you may want to track down your top sellers and find out their process. They might be changing just a few words, but it could make all the difference.
If you want to turn your sales team into rain makers, realize that the established standard may not be perfect. In most cases, it won't be. There will likely be innovators on your sales team. So consider debriefing them and then disseminating that information amongst your sales team.
8. Align your objectives.
An opportunity for motivation that sales managers and executives miss out on is failing to understand the visions of their salespeople. As the owner or executive of the company, you are likely driven by the growth of the company, but your salespeople have their own personal goals. You must understand their objectives and then structure the work they do around them.
Few things are more motivating to rainmakers than achieving their goals. If you can align their work with that goal, then you may be able to create someone who is intrinsically motivated—someone who may become one of your best rainmakers.
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