The Art Of Hiring And Managing A Sales Team

Robin RobinsMSP Marketing

Identifying the right sales personnel is critical. It’s not just about finding someone who can sell, but finding someone who is inherently driven. The right individual should have a natural knack for sales, a strong work ethic, and the ability to consistently meet and surpass sales targets. Remember, you can’t rely solely on a compensation plan to motivate underperformers.

Effective Sales Team Management

Effective management of a sales team extends beyond merely setting targets. It’s about breaking down larger goals into smaller, actionable steps. Backward planning is key; start from your annual or quarterly goals and break them down into achievable weekly activities. This not only makes the goals more realistic but also provides a clear roadmap for your team to follow, ensuring consistent focus and effort throughout the sales cycle.

Understanding Sales Roles

In a sales team, the differentiation of roles is crucial. Each role, be it Sales Support, Sales Development Reps (SDRs), Account Managers, Account Executives, or Sales Managers, has unique responsibilities and contributions. Clear definitions and understanding of these roles are essential, and the compensation should be structured to reflect the specific responsibilities and targets of each role. This clear delineation helps in setting realistic expectations and in measuring performance effectively.

The compensation plan should incorporate a quota and a minimum performance standard, aligning financial incentives with company goals. Avoid compensating based on recurring revenue to prevent complacency, and focus on performance-based incentives.

Crafting A Winning Compensation Strategy

When developing a compensation plan, it’s essential to incorporate elements that align with the company’s goals. The inclusion of a quota and a minimum performance standard is fundamental. This approach not only motivates but also sets clear expectations. Avoid compensating based on recurring revenue as it can lead to a plateau in performance. Instead, lean towards performance-based incentives that encourage ongoing effort and sales growth.

Compensation For Each Role

  • Sales Support: Handles administrative details to maximize sales team productivity, with a base salary typically between $40,000 and $65,000.
  • Sales Development Rep (SDR): Focuses on handling inbound leads and booking appointments. Compensation is usually 70% base and 30% variable, with on-target earnings between $44,000 and $65,000.
  • Account Manager: Manages client relationships post-sale, focusing on new opportunities within existing clients. The typical base and bonus split is 60% and 40%, respectively, with on-target earnings between $65,000 and $100,000.
  • Account Executive: Acts as the outside sales hunter and closer. Compensation is heavily commission-based, with on-target earnings ranging from $120,000 to $300,000.
  • Sales Manager: Responsible for growing the sales team in both quantity and quality. Compensation usually comprises 70-80% base and 20-30% variable, with on-target earnings between $100,000 and $170,000.

Hiring Based On Current Revenue For MSPs

For MSPs, strategic hiring based on current revenue is key to ensuring that your sales team grows in alignment with your business needs and capabilities.

  • Under $1.5 Million Revenue:
    • Start with a Junior Marketing Admin. This role is crucial for laying the groundwork for your sales processes. They handle basic marketing tasks and lead generation efforts, setting the stage for more specialized sales roles.
    • Next, bring in a Sales Development Rep (SDR). SDRs are vital for handling inbound leads and booking appointments, which is essential when you’re starting to grow your sales team. They help bridge the gap between marketing efforts and actual sales conversions.
  • $2 Million Revenue:
    • At this stage, it’s beneficial to consider an Account Manager or blend this role with an Outside Sales Hunter. An Account Manager will be key in nurturing and expanding existing client relationships, focusing on upselling and cross-selling, while an Outside Sales Hunter will aggressively pursue new business opportunities. This combination ensures a balanced approach to maintaining current clients and acquiring new ones.
  • Above $5 Million Revenue:
    • Now, it’s time to separate the roles into a dedicated Outside Sales Hunter and Account Manager. The Outside Sales Hunter focuses solely on bringing in new clients, while the Account Manager concentrates on growing the business with existing clients.
    • Additionally, hiring a more experienced Marketing Leader becomes crucial. This role will oversee all marketing activities, ensuring that the sales team is supported with high-quality leads and marketing materials.
    • Finally, appoint a Sales Manager. This role involves not just managing the sales team but strategically growing it in both quantity and quality. The Sales Manager will be responsible for training, mentoring, and expanding the team to meet growing business needs.

This strategic approach to hiring based on revenue ensures that MSPs can efficiently scale their sales team, matching their business growth with the right talent at the right time.

Navigating Sales Challenges

Dealing with common sales challenges such as handling commissions in the face of money-back guarantees or managing the balance between lead generation and closing sales requires agility and strategic thinking. These challenges call for a delicate balance between firm policies and the flexibility to adapt to unique situations. It’s about finding the middle ground that protects the company’s interests while motivating the sales team.

The Power Of Clear Communication And Training

The importance of regular training and clear communication cannot be overstated. Consistent training ensures that your sales team is up-to-date with the latest techniques and industry trends, while clear communication helps in setting expectations and resolving any uncertainties. This combination is crucial for maintaining a well-informed and cohesive team, capable of adapting to changing market dynamics.


In conclusion, the art of building and managing a successful sales team lies in a combination of strategic compensation planning, effective hiring practices, and consistent management. Focusing on these key elements can transform your sales team into a dynamic and high-performing unit, capable of not only meeting but exceeding sales targets.

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