Ben Murray

How to create balanced sales teams

Creating balanced sales teams may not be the first thing you think of when hiring and coaching but when you HAVE a balanced team, the results and benefits are clear to the bottom line, productivity, and engagement in the workplace.

So, how can you work to create balanced teams within sales organizations? Well, it starts by understanding what a balanced team truly is…and what it isn’t.

We’re all familiar with the sales archetypes that run rampant through pop culture. There’s the typical used-car salesman type, the shark, the “always be closing” type, and more. However, in today’s more sophisticated sales environments, those aren’t what we’re working with.

Portrait of a balanced sales team

Simply put, a well-balanced team is one where all the elements that make an individual salesperson successful are represented across the team. It’s unrealistic to think that all these employees will have the same level of mental toughness, something we’ve identified as necessary to create successful salespeople. If we look closer, however, we can see that underlying the standard “sales abilities”, you can find out how to balance all your teams’ strengths and weaknesses with a little knowledge.

Digging deeper into your sales team’s strengths and abilities

No one knows your sales team better than you do, and hopefully, you’ve used assessments to gain a deeper understanding into what makes them tick, what coaching style works for them, and how to develop mental toughness in those employees who are lacking. Let’s take that knowledge, expertise, and assessment information to figure out how to create a well-balanced sales team.

You’ve likely already determined which of your employees possess the mental toughness to succeed overall, but what about your other employees?

Get to know your employees. This seems like an obvious one, but when you take the time to get to know each employee, you may discover Heather’s capacity to see a complex sale through to the end, or Jona’s uncanny knack to calm an irate prospect down in order to get him to sign on the dotted line.

While neither of these traits displays mental toughness per se, they are both crucial to a well-balanced sales team. Using these traits together with mental toughness and other sales-focused abilities and skills will create a well-balanced sales team. But you won’t know about any of these traits or abilities unless you assess your team properly and often AND take the time to get to know them and watch them at work.

Ask yourself:

  • How and when do they seem to work best?
  • In which situations do they thrive?
  • What tasks do their coworkers bring to them specifically?
  • How do they respond to clients and prospects?

It’s also worth noting that if you DON’T see them as mentally tough, or if they rated low on that attribute, dig into WHY. You may find something there that can help to round out the team. What other aspects can help create a balanced sales team?

While mental toughness is one of the best indicators of sales success, it’s certainly not the only one. In our recent article, Power of Personality, we wrote about a few personality traits that are measured by the Caliper Profile found to contribute to sales success:

  • Ego-Drive:A person with a high ego-drive is motivated by the ability to persuade others. For a salesperson, that means they feel good when they make a sale, so they’ll do whatever it takes not to lose. They’re driven by the desire to feed their ego.
  • Empathy:An empathetic person considers how the things they say and do affect others. A salesperson with strong empathy will pay attention to the reactions of their prospects and adjust their tactics based on response. They are constantly taking the temperature of the conversation and will pivot as soon as they feel something is amiss.
  • Urgency:Urgency means that a person feels compelled to complete a task quickly and efficiently. For salespeople, that means proactively setting up calls, following up promptly, setting hard timelines, and consistently pushing the conversation forward.

So, our aforementioned “always be closing” archetype may have the trait of Ego-Drive, while the person in the office who gets really motivated on the 25th of every month might display Urgency. Having a team that possesses these traits can be incredibly valuable, especially since they can be driven by different things.

Keeping your balanced team motivated

One of the key reasons to create a balanced sales team is for it to motivate itself. When you have equal parts mental toughness, urgency, ego-drive, and empathy, your motivation cycle is often picked up by one member or part of the team at a time.

While your ego-driven team may help the team start the month on a high note with her energy and desire to win, your empathy-minded team member may help get a difficult sale across the goal line. While the mentally tough employee continues to keep trying despite his low numbers, the urgency teammate can get the team to the end of the month with his focus on hitting the end goal.

Note how these styles complement one another and can serve as antidotes when each of the attributes is eventually spent. Pay close attention to your employees’ attributes but know when to coach and activate them so they can motivate one another. Productive, tightly-knit teams have high morale, especially when they must work together to meet challenging goals.

About Caliper – For nearly half a century, Caliper has been helping companies achieve peak performance by advising them on hiring the right people, managing individuals most effectively and developing productive teams. The accuracy, objectivity and depth of our consulting approach enable us to provide solutions that work for over 25,000 companies. To find out more about how Caliper can help you identify and develop people who can lead your organization to peak performance, please visit us at www.calipercorp.com  or call them at 609-524-1200. Email editorial@mhwmag.com to contact Caliper.