You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Building a More Balanced (And Successful) Team All companies strive to achieve top and bottom line success every quarter, but in order to do so, they need a strong team of sales reps that can consistently, and profitably, meet or exceed quota.

By Greg Peters

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

All companies strive to achieve top and bottom line success every quarter, but in order to do so, they need a strong team of sales reps that can consistently, and profitably, meet or exceed quota. However, that's easier said than done in a complex marketplace where sales reps sell from a catalog of tens or even hundreds of thousands of products, and manage 100 or more accounts each.

Many sales groups end up relying on the more experienced sales reps, or "A" players to make their numbers, and they are smart to do so, as they have the talent, knowledge and experience to sell profitably every quarter. They often have a long history at one company which has given them a deep understanding of the products and customers, leading to a higher level of efficiency and better outcomes in the field.

However, most organizations have sales teams that consist of primarily "B" and "C" players with just a handful of "A" players. If all the B and C players sold as profitably as the A players, the impact on companies' top and bottom line would be huge. As more experienced sales reps begin to retire in the next several years and sales reps become more transient, companies should consider how to level the playing field and bring B and C players up to the A level to build more profitable sales teams.

Related: Build a Stellar Sales Team

One way to achieve this is with predictive solutions that pull out key data signals and deliver actionable answers to the most critical questions sales reps can ask themselves, including which customers should I call on, what products should I talk about, and which customers are beginning to defect to the competition.

It is exponentially more difficult and expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep and grow existing accounts. But, in such a large book of business, staying ahead of customer churn is virtually impossible for sales reps – no matter how experienced they are – given the sheer volume of accounts and products. Even if a small percentage of customer churn could be recovered, it could spell the difference between a flat year and a stellar year in terms of revenue. Predictive models can look at purchase patterns across all customers, and flag when a customer begins to defect, even on just one product, enabling sales reps to easily redirect their efforts.

Related: 7 Crucial Steps to Building a Champion Sales Team

These models can also help sales reps determine which additional products to sell. This is similar to consumer e-commerce websites like Amazon.com that explicitly provide customer suggestions on what other products they might be interested in purchasing. Just like the Amazon.com model, B2B companies have customers with similar buying patterns that can help reveal when a customer is ripe for cross-sell opportunities.

Another way to up level B and C players is by enabling them to spend more time selling by minimizing their administrative and reporting tasks. There is strong evidence and intuition that correlates selling time with quota achievement. In fact, an increase of just a few percentage points in selling time across an entire sales force leads to higher overall profitability for the sales organization and can equate to additional sales headcount, at no additional expense.

However, when a sales team is underperforming, many sales managers implement more sales processes, increase the number of reports and look to sales force automation (SFA) systems. The underlying assumption is that more visibility into sales team activities will help identify areas for improvement and ultimately drive better performance, but these solutions often exacerbate the problem, creating even more administrative and reporting tasks for reps and managers alike.

More often than not, sales reps spend more time entering information into their SFA systems than deriving useful information from it to close more sales at a faster rate.

Sales leaders must look for opportunities to minimize activities that do not directly contribute to revenue generation. While SFA and CRM systems are important to help manage sales performance, sales managers should focus on sales effectiveness solutions that provide reps with actionable guidance to help them focus on the most promising growth opportunities.

Ultimately, these tactics will help increase the average amount of time sales reps spend selling and focus all sales reps -- A, B and C players -- on the best opportunities for growth.

Related: How to Increase Your Revenue Without Growing Your Sales Team

Greg Peters

President and CEO at Zilliant

Greg Peters is the president and CEO at Zilliant, an optimization company that helps businesses make better pricing and sales decisions. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.

Branding

94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.

Travel

Save on Business Travel with Matt's Flight's Premium, Only $80 for Life

This premium plan features customized flight deal alerts and one-on-one planning with Matt himself.

Science & Technology

Here's One Reason Urban Transportation Won't Look the Same in a Decade

Micro-EVs may very well be the future of city driving. Here's why, and how investors can get ahead of it.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.