How to Build a High Performing Sales Team

Building a high performing sales team that will drive your business growth is one of the hardest things to get right, but also one of the most expensive things to get wrong! It takes focus and discipline, and relies upon a number of key ingredients to succeed, including effective sales management, sales forecasting and account planning, rigorous sales processes and harnessing the raw talent and skills that your sales team possess.

Sales team sat at meeting table with laptops planning business

What Makes a Great Sales Team?

A high performing sales team is defined by a number of characteristics that allow it to continuously meet its objectives and produce results. First of all, you need to know what you are trying to achieve, and align your roles to goals. So, ‘start with the answer’ and make sure you understand the granular build-up of your business plan, and the contribution that your sales team needs to make in order to achieve the plan.

Understanding your sales talent

Secondly, you need a balanced approach to managing the people you have and building the sales team that you need to achieve your goals. If you start with a line-by-line analysis of your P&L sales lines, you’ll quickly spot your current gaps and weaknesses and understand how to build your sales team around this. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right people doing the right things in the right jobs, or it’s never going to work for you.

Getting everyone on the same page

Once you’ve got your people in the right roles, you need to make sure that everyone is focused on achieving the same goals as you. This is where effective forecasting and planning across a range of short to medium term planning horizons comes in. You can drive a meaningful and proactive stream of measurable activities that provide consistent focus for your sales team. At Firestarter, we use a proven set of tried and tested methods for keeping your sales team on track, all of which rely on the principle of ‘rhythm and rigour’, consistent and regular actions that are effectively measured to drive predictable results.

Continuous sales team training

A dedication to ongoing progress and achievement, both on an individual and team level is an essential part of creating a strong sales team. Providing continuous training and development opportunities to help team members enhance their skills and keep up with industry trends helps to keep your team fresh and focused on their goals. This can include coaching and mentorship, on-the-job training, and industry-specific training programs. Investing in team member training ensures they are equipped to succeed and builds a culture of continuous improvement.

A great side effect of sales team training is giving your team the feeling of empowerment. Through training and empowerment, your team members’ will feel optimistic, motivated, and enthusiastic.

By focusing on these key factors, you can build a great sales team that consistently delivers results, drives business growth and builds a culture of continuous improvement.

Recruiting a Successful Sales Team

Recruiting and building a successful sales team is a critical component of achieving high performance in sales. We have already discussed the need to align roles to goals and understand your talent, but there are many other factors to consider, including the team’s structure, culture, motivation, and the recruitment process itself.

Structure your sales team for success

From a leadership and management perspective, you need to ensure that you have the proper structure, skills and temperaments in your sales team to make sure your sales people deliver their personal targets. Ensure that each team member understands their role and how it fits into the overall sales strategy. A well-defined team structure enables the team to work efficiently and effectively towards shared goals.

Creating a sales culture

A winning sales culture can be built on a set of values, beliefs, and behaviours that are focused on driving revenue growth and delivering exceptional customer value. Take our business for example, we have been around for 10+ years and we have carried the same 5 values throughout our lifetime,  ensuring that the work we do as a business always lives up to our values.

With a shared mission and a team that communicates openly with each other, this helps to generate better ideas and produce better buy-in from the team as a whole leading to an increase in workplace satisfaction.

As a sales leader your objective is to consistently and at organisational levels promote your sales culture vision. But keep in mind that to make your sales vision a reality, you will need to align it with your sales actions, structures, and/or systems.

At Firestarter, we teach the core skills and sales procedures required to get better at selling through high performance sales training that is specifically designed for sales staff in customer relationship positions.

Incentive motivation

Implement a system of incentives and recognition to keep team members motivated and engaged. This can include bonuses, commissions, promotions, or public recognition. Celebrating wins and providing positive feedback boosts morale and fosters a sense of accomplishment among team members. A 2020 Deloitte study found that 68 percent of highly satisfied employees reported that their organisations offered very strong pay packages but also the quality of non-financial incentives was recognised as a strong indicator of job satisfaction.

Types of sales incentives that increase productivity may include, online learning courses, website/newsletter feature, team days and nights out, gym memberships or extra holiday.

Motivation can help sales leaders build a successful sales team that performs at a high level consistently and benefits from job satisfaction through company incentives.


It is vitally important to put the time and effort into any recruitment process to ensure you get the right people into your business. Under preparation for the interview/recruitment process is guaranteed to catch you out in the long run. You want to make sure that the person in front of you can do the job you need them to do, and there are a number of golden rules that we follow at Firestarter that really make a difference to the effectiveness of the process. These are:

  1. Decide what core competencies look like for this role
  2. Ask questions and set exercises that really test these core competencies
  3. Be welcoming, but not ‘too nice’ in the interview process
  4. Challenge their track record, then assess its relevance to your goals
  5. Set tasks to prove that they can really deliver
  6. Keep challenging yourself and continually ask ‘can they really do the job?’
  7. Seek out their passion and what drives them to succeed
  8. Find out what de-motivates them
  9. Establish their ‘pressure points’ and understand what annoys them
  10. Find out how they like to be managed, what gets the best out of them

The Future of your Sales Team

Building a high performing sales team requires a multifaceted approach that includes creating a strong team culture, providing effective incentives and motivation, implementing thorough training programmes, recruiting top talent, and establishing a solid team structure.

Having done the hard work of defining roles, structuring your team and recruiting new sales people, it’s easy to forget that orientation, induction and ongoing management is key to ensuring your team can deliver your vision and sales goals. If you have hired well, you should be able to push the pace, get your ‘talent’ to a place where they are doing real work and generating results as quickly as possible. If the orientation, goal setting and induction have been well structured then the right candidates will be super-keen to get on with it.

Simple management techniques: regular weekly reviews of progress, specific grounding around key focus areas, rhythm and rigour will drive progress and achievement quickly and you should soon begin to feel the impact of all your hard work.

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