Building a sales team is the most important project I’ve ever embarked upon.
This sales team will be the main driving force to help me accomplishing my goal of hitting $10,000,000 in annualized revenue. However, building this team has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on.
I am finally seeing success and I am so excited about the future.
This week, I will share with you 5 lessons I’ve learned. You can start applying these lessons to your own business right away.
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Lesson # 1 – It Will Take Twice As Long, And Will Cost Twice As Much As You Think
I’ve tried to build a sales team many times before. However, I always quit or eventually convinced myself that I was wasting my money.
Business is emotional, regardless of what any guru tells you. It’s an emotional process to fail and fail and fail at something, while being able to stick with the problem long enough to make your project succesful.
To add salt to the wound, failing when building a sales team also means burning money.
I hate wasting money. “Never lose money” is rule number 1 in my investment ethos for my personal holdings company. As such, you can imagine how difficult it has been to make such expensive mistakes over and over again while building a sales team.
Finally, I am in a place in my life where I have built the emotional fortitude to see past the micros failures and to view trial and error as data and information I can use to improve.
If you’re going to build a sales team, or even start creating a sales process as a freelancer, you first need to embrace for impact.
It will be hard. It will probably be months of trail and error before you have any success at all. But don’t stop.
Keep sending outreach emails. Keep sending personalized loom videos. Keep making calls no matter how hopeless it feels.
It will pay off, I promise.
Lesson # 2 – The Tech Is Half The Battle
The most difficult riddle to solve has been which software to use.
I under appreciated how important the software would be.
Understand, for the last 12 years, I have been the sales department for Stodzy Internet Marketing. I’ve done all the calls, written all the proposals, tracked all the leads, and gotten all the contracts signed.
My foolproof amazing sales system was built on Google sheets.
I knew going into it that Google sheets wasn’t going to cut it. We are going to be dealing with tens of thousands of leads, and having all my data organized and easily access-able is critical.
With that said, it was a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.
I don’t have any easy hacks for you to apply. All I can do is tell you what we are using, and why.
HubSpot – CRM and Lead Management
There is a reason why HubSpot is the #1 platform in the market. We started off using Close.com as our CRM, but the biggest factor was that with HubSpot, we can easily create lead forms that integrate directly into the CRM.
We collect a lot of inbound leads, and HubSpot’s ability to integrate everything is second to none.
You can see an example of the form at the bottom of TreatmentLeads.net, which is one of my lead gen sites. We collect inbound leads from 8 websites, and so having these forms do all the heavy lifting and organize the leads for us is worth the extra money.
Lemlist – Automated Outbound Emails
Technically, we can build outbound email automation through HubSpot. However, my sales rep strongly recommended we do this through Lemlist because of the customization and personalization features
Successful software tools specialize. It’s rare to find a one sized fits all tool. Lemlist is the best option for being automated outbound email sequences and plug is API’s directly into HubSpot, so we can still trigger the automations as necessary through leads forms.
It’s worth the extra investment.
Apollo / Sales Navigator – Lead Aggregation and Scraping
In order to find the right people who need our services, we needed to buy the premium account of LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Sales Navigator is awesome. It’s extremally useful. However, Sales Navigator has limitations in that it limits the amount of cold DM’s you can send.
Apollo is a software that integrates with Sales Navigator, and helps us find more contact information about our leads and prospects.
We wouldn’t be able to build an outbound system (that doesn’t spam thousands of accounts at once) without this duo.
I highly recommend it.
Lesson # 3 – Hire A Professional
In order to build this team, I hired Derek.
Working with Derek has been amazing. He has already taught me so much and has helped me gain the confidence to embark on this expensive, scary, and worthwhile journey.
For years, I have been trying to figure this out on my own. As such, I have been banging my head against the wall and ultimately feeling like a failure.
But Derek is a pro. He has the experience and he has put in the reps which make this process much easier for him.
Derek officially joined the team 2 weeks ago. But already, we’ve made more progress than I made on my own in ten years.
With Derek, we …
- created the ability to aggregate leads easily
- quickly wrote (and iterated on) and outbound cold calling script
- wrote and finalized an inbound closing script
- booked 5 appointments
- closed 1 deal
If I would have bitten the bullet when I first tried to build a sales team 4 years ago, I would be so much further along on my mission of $10,000,000 in ARR.
Now, I can see the path so clearly in front of me.
Lesson # 4 – Document Everything
Derek and I talk every morning.
When we do, we continuously update a Google Doc that documents all the lessons we’ve learned, all the slight adjustments we are making, the pricing structure we are working with, and the weaknesses we find within our process.
This documentation does 2 things.
First, it creates an evergreen training manual that Derek and I can build and implement when we get to the point where we need to hire new reps. This time will come much sooner than I anticipated.
Instead of stopping what we’re doing and creating a training manual from scratch, we are building one adjacently to the system from the get go.
Second, it allows us to keep track of all the holes we find in our system.
One of the most surprising and enlightening experiences of this entire process is how important iteration is.
Nothing works right on the first try. It’s been a constant process of experimentation and iteration. Without having a centralized asynchronous document, it would have been very difficult to navigate all the improvements.
Lesson # 5 – Small Improvements
This is a bigger subject matter, and something that goes much deeper into my life.
I’ve had a real life growth moment recently. A few months ago, I was going for my afternoon walk and I randomly decided to listen to a talk that Alex Hormozi gave and published on his podcast.
In the talk, he spoke about small improvements. His concept is “no silver bullets, lots of golden BBs.“
This advice really impacted me.
I suddenly saw so clearly all the ways that I have been trying to make huge advancements in my life. I’ve recognized how being inpatient and looking for the “big wins” has actually held me back from making progress.
Without a doubt, the most important lesson I have learned through this entire process is to neglect big advancements and embrace small .1% improvements every day.
Yes, You Should Build A Sales Team
It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer, a SaaS company, an agency, or even someone who is writing a newsletter.
Learning how to create a system of communication will be your most valuable asset. What makes it valuable is that it’s hard. No one wants to take the time to figure out how to promote their products and services to strangers.
So you post on Instagram and you work on your brand instead.
Don’t make the mistake that I made. Get started now. Realize this work might not pay off this year or even next year.
But your future self will thank you.