Building High Performing Sales Teams


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Are you under constant pressure to deliver an ever increasing sales targets?

Do you want to explore if there is a way that you can build a culture that enables high performing sales teams and guide them to consistently push the limits and deliver quarter after quarter?

Then join me in my quest to find out what it takes to build such a culture.

In my opinion, there are three components that contribute to building a culture that enables a high performing sales teams:

  1. Sales Process – Do you have a clearly defined sales process and do your sales execs follow the process
  2. Manager’s role – What role do managers play and how they are measured
  3. Sales exec’s incentives – How are your sales execs incentivize and measured?

Now lets check each one of these components in detail.

Sales Process:

Having a clearly defined sales process is key in enabling your sales team to perform at extremely high efficiency. Some questions that will help you realize the strength of your sales process are:

  • Do you have a clearly defined sales process, with clear accountability on who is responsible for what?
  • Who brings in the new leads? Who qualifies these leads? How do you qualify these leads?
  • What is your go-to-market strategy? Does it include coverage of the entire market?
  • Is there a sales methodology that you follow
    • SPIN Selling
    • Challenger sales
    • Solution Revolution
  • Does your sales team know the process that they are supposed to follow? Are they expected to follow the process? Do they follow the process? What happens if they do not follow the process?
  • Do you have a win/lose analysis for every opportunity at the end of each opportunity’s closure?
  • Do you have a system to capture leads, opportunities (CRM system)? How simple is this system to use? Does it always have up-to-date information?
  • How often do you appraise your sales team – Annual, Half-yearly or quarterly?

Manager’s role:

The role of the sales manager is the most critical in sustaining high performance in any organization. Their actions, interactions and influence on the sales executives will determine if you are able to build a high performance culture in the sales organization. Some questions that you need to reflect upon to understand if you have solved this puzzle are:

  • Are the sales managers just measured on sales quotas? Are they measured on the success of their direct reports?
  • How do they deal with a sales executive who has not met his sales quota? Do they apply more pressure on him/her? Do they sit down and try to understand the reason for the miss & then coach him/her?
  • How do they deal with someone who achieves his/her sales quotas but does not follow the process or could be potentially a bad influence on the culture?
  • How do they run their team meetings & forecast calls? Do they use these opportunities to coach, recognize and explain good performance? Or do they focus on the transactional details about the deals in the pipeline?


Arriving at the best sales incentives is a tough job. Hence, most companies end-up having simple incentive structures, primarily incentivizing with money. We now know enough that money, by itself, is not a great incentives. Though sales executives expect to be incentivized based on the revenue that they bring in, high performing sales teams realize that money along is not a great incentive. Some questions that you need to think about incentives are:

  • Is your sales incentives aligned to your long term strategy? For example, if your strategy is to increase market share & profitability, are the incentives aligned to the strategy? In this case, do you incentivise a sales executive who brings in a large deal but with low profits and a sales executive who brings in a relatively smaller deal but with higher profits, equally?
  • Do you consider other alternatives of incentives like a paid vacation, or paid education or an interaction with a celebrity or the opportunity to fulfill any of their dreams? For example, if I have a dream to publish a book, can my organization help me publish the book if I achieve my sales quota? I would value this much more than getting some additional cash. This would also enable me to be much more engaged with my organization and result in a lower turn-over.

In order to build a consistently high performing sales team, you need to have a good mix of all the three elements.

These are my thoughts. What do you think? Do share your thoughts by commenting below or by tweeting to me at @rmukeshgupta.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at


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