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How to build a strong sales function

Published 16th Dec 2022

Is your organisation currently looking to either develop from scratch, or expand an existing sales function? Don’t panic – we know thinking about where or how to start or what to do can be overwhelming. 

So, we’ve got some top tips on what to consider when building a strong sales function in your organisation.

Let’s take a look at where you should begin before you start panic hiring.

What is your overall business objective?

This will be dependent on the industry you work in and the purpose of your organisation. For example, if your organisation is in the retail sector, your business objective could be to grow revenue by 20%, or to open three more stores in the next 12 months. 

Or, if you work in the marketing sector your business objective could be to onboard 10 new clients in the next year, meaning you may need to introduce a sales and business development function into your company.

Whatever it is, this will be the foundation upon which you will build your sales function. Knowing your end goal ensures that you can plan backwards, as opposed to building a sales function internally with no real plan in place.

Who is your target audience?

Again, planning backwards ensures your sales team will be able to communicate effectively and work seamlessly to meet targets.

This could be your sales team working in-store at a supermarket, or a sales team working for a SaaS company selling software to businesses. No matter what kind of organisation you are a part of, it is vital that your employees know who they are selling to, and why.

What does your current org structure look like?

This isn’t crucial when it comes to building a strong sales function, as you may be starting from scratch and building a sales team from the ground up. However, looking at your current org structure will give you an idea of who will be responsible for managing certain teams, who will be an escalation point for certain matters, and where you may need to make new hires if there are gaps in your leadership team.

One thing to bear in mind is that salespeople will want to know what their potential career development plan will look like when working within your organisation. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone completely new to sales, or a person with extensive experience joining the team – being able to have career opportunities internally, is vital.

Why? Because employees want to feel valued, and know that there will be some longevity when it comes to their role in the company. People may also join looking for flexibility and potential development, so developing an org chart and how potential roles could develop is crucial before looking to make new hires.

Which roles should I start with when building a sales function?

Again, this is dependent on the industry your business is in. However, in most sales-led functions, you should start with your direct sales team who will be speaking directly to customers, followed by team leaders as their support, and management to oversee the functionality of the sales system within your company.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and how they are structuring their sales function. Is this something you’d like to mirror because you’ve seen how successful they’ve been, or is it something you’d like to avoid due to their business growth slowing down? 

You should consider building out a process of sales to be formalised and followed by all members of the team, which is designed with your organisational growth in mind.

Of course, if you’d like to chat to sales recruitment experts about how best to build your sales function and scale your business, you can always enquire with us about our recruitment or consultancy services.

Get in touch

McCarthy Recruitment has experience building a variety of sales functions in numerous industries and sectors across the UK. Our expert recruiters will be happy to chat to you about how to develop your sales function and scale your business – get in touch with us to find out more.

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