August 29th, 2014 | by

What are the keys to building a successful enterprise sales team? This was one of the topics covered at our Meet-Up event held this week at VMworld. We had two panel discussions focused on “Overcoming Roadblocks When Selling Enterprise IT.” The first of which, we summarized yesterday in our Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts When Selling to CIOs – focused on how to identify, reach and impress these highly sought-after IT executives.

For the sales side of the house, we led a panel of industry leaders from Gild, RelateIQ, Sumo Logic and Varonis in a discussion around building a successful enterprise sales team – and how related objectives evolve depending on the stage of your company.

Here is some of the insight that we gleaned from their feedback:

Keeping It Simple

Our panel had a variety of ideas on how to build a sales team from the ground floor up. However, they came back repeatedly to one theme: keep it simple and strategic.
They stressed that there is no need to build a sales empire overnight. In fact, one panelist suggested focusing on the executive team first and then hiring the sales team, driving these executives to have a real vested interest in hiring the right people and establishing the right processes early on. Another panelist suggested concentrating on hiring only two sales people and nurturing them to become the “ideals” for the company. They will then serve as advocates (and examples) for others to join the team.

Finding the Super Star

Panelists were also asked to describe common characteristics of top performing sales people. The answer across the board was: Activity, Activity and more Activity. Great sales reps were described as hard workers who invariably prove to have the most sales activity. Smart, competitive and very personable were other common traits. In addition, those who can sell should be able to sell themselves – and not just in the interview. During the hiring phase of building your sales team, look for their follow-up and the numbers that they are able present (close rates, revenue generated) for real insight into how they will perform on your team.

Setting up for Success

As your sales team grows, how do you keep them motivated? How do you improve their performance? Our panelists agreed that communication is key. Understanding what each sales rep wants in his or her career allows you to map those goals to your team goals and provide a path to success for everyone. Investing in training and the right tools was mentioned as key to ensuring success. Educating your team on how to effectively sell to CIOs and overcome sales objections are crucial to improving their close rate and revenue potential.

Leveraging technology to increase your sales team’s efficiency was also a hot topic in the discussion. Today’s sales reps spend an average of 35% of their time actually selling. Tools like DiscoverOrg’s sales intelligence database and RelateIQ’s relationship intelligence solution enable sales teams to spend more time selling effectively.

DiscoverOrg’s database provides multiple points of entry with detailed organizational charts for each of the 17,500+ companies we profile, including verified contact data – so your reps don’t have to guess who is the decision maker or research in order to make contact. Our insider intel provides sales people with fodder to start actual conversations, including current IT initiatives, installed technology base and leadership changes – warming up cold calls and establishing credibility from the first meeting.

Building an effective enterprise sales team starts with good planning and smart investment. Empowering well-built teams with sales enablement tools such as these allows them to focus their time filling the pipeline and closing deals.

Keep the conversation going! Share your tips on building an enterprise sales team in the comments below or on Twitter at #DOsellIT.

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About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.