Scaling a High-Performance SaaS Sales Team
By Harry Lewis. Harry is a Managing Director UK at Zeren.
The SaaS market saw a lot of growth in 2021 and 2022, fuelled by increasing demand for cloud-based software. Whether it is marketing automation, CRM, or project management tools, SaaS companies have and still are reshaping the way businesses operate. To succeed in this competitive landscape, building a high-performance sales team is crucial… and even more so in an economic downturn!
The shift from investors to focus more on ‘profit potential’ versus ‘growth at all costs’ has resulted in a slower market, fewer deals, and more complex deal cycles as companies look to cut spending.
In these challenging times, having a high-performing and efficient sales team has become more critical than ever for SaaS businesses, and here are some strategies to consider when building or reshaping your sales team:
Hire the Right People in a Proper Structure
The foundation of any high-performance team is the people and creating a proper sales structure – read my previous article on how to effectively map this out here.
Hiring the right individuals can mean the difference between a mediocre and a high-performance sales team. It is not just about people with excellent communication skills, you are looking for hunger, desire, and resilience (and ideally a proven track record).
Provide Extensive Product Training
In the SaaS market, products often carry unique selling points that differentiate them from competitors. It’s essential that your sales team understands these unique aspects to convey their value effectively to potential customers. Implement a thorough product training program to ensure your team is knowledgeable about what they’re selling.
Implement a Solid Onboarding Process
A strong onboarding process is essential in setting your sales reps up for success. This should involve not just product training but also familiarising them with the company’s culture, sales methodologies, and processes. Make sure new hires understand their roles and responsibilities and provide them with the resources they need to overachieve.
Use the Right Sales Tools
With the numerous sales tools available today, it’s crucial to choose the right ones that fit your sales process. These may include CRM software, email tracking tools, sales automation software, and the ongoing advancement of AI. Ensure you are tracking all data and analytics, as they offer invaluable insights that will ensure your teams make data-driven decisions.
Regular Coaching and Feedback
Regular coaching is an essential aspect of developing a high-performance sales team. Sales leaders should provide ongoing, constructive feedback (continuously!) to help their teams improve. Make sure you don’t fall at the common hurdle – properly train and enable your leaders to do this, there’s nothing worse than unconstructive feedback as it stifles development
Set Clear Expectations and Goals
Every member of your sales team should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. This includes targets, key performance indicators (KPIs), and the specific activities required to achieve these goals. Setting clear expectations and monitoring progress regularly will help your team stay focused and motivated.
Foster Customer-Centric Selling
In SaaS, repeat business is vital, and this starts with the initial sales outreach. Teach your team to focus on the customer’s needs, pain points, and how your software can provide a straightforward solution. This customer-centric approach helps build long-term relationships and increases customer retention.
Compensation and Incentives
Rewarding your sales team appropriately is another crucial component in building a high-performance team – download our 2023 Remuneration Report here to help you accurately benchmark salaries for pretty much all job roles across the UK, EMEA, and the US.
Design a compensation plan that rewards top performers and incentivises them to overachieve on their full targets. In addition to financial compensation (Base Salary + Bonus), other incentives like equity, title, career development, and work-life balance are all important.
Hopefully, by implementing these strategies, they should help you to build a high-performing sales team that ultimately takes your SaaS business to new heights.
Remember, building a high-performing sales team is ongoing, it requires constant attention, evaluation, and evolution to maintain performance and growth.
I would suggest all leaders put in a quarterly review process to ensure their sales teams are on track and to hold themselves accountable for their performance.
Zeren exists to empower the world’s change-makers. We do this by building high-performing teams in the world’s most innovative businesses, to accelerate growth by connecting visionary leaders and ambitious talent.
We are a leading global Executive Search & Recruitment firm with teams and offices in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin, Paris and Frankfurt.
We partner with high-growth, VC/PE-backed businesses and ambitious Corporate brands placing senior leaders, building exceptional teams, or providing critical interim and consulting talent.