Over one trillion dollars are spent annually on sales organizations. That's a 13-figure number, and no small matter for our economy. With so much money going into the field, shouldn't we make sure we're putting in every effort to ensure our sales teams are equipped to do their best work?

We asked sales and business leaders for their tips on building a top-notch sales organization. Read on to see what they had to say and learn how you can help lead your sales team to success.

1. Sales boils down to People, Processes, and Systems

Sales operations and management are all about putting the right combination of elements together to make your organization successful: people, processes, and systems. The interaction between your sales talent, technology, and management expectations can make or break your goals. As a sales leader, you hire sales people who are goal-oriented, hungry, have great communication skills, and can represent your products and company appropriately. Then you hand them a compensation plan and technology tools to drive and manage their behavior. 

—Cassie Dennis, Director, SocialRaise

2. Build processes for every possible situation your team will encounter

The most important part of building a leading sales organizations is creating systems and processes. You not only have to be able to scale, but you also have to know what is working. You cannot have 10 people selling your product in 10 different ways. You have to build out systems for everything from sales process to handling objections. 

—Adam Dailey, CEO, funlyevents.com 

3. Hold people accountable with KPIs

You must have metrics to hold people accountable. You have to establish easily-measured KPIs that the entire team understands and follows.

—William Bauer, Managing Director, Royce Leather

4. Continually coach & support your reps

Sales management has to be able to oversee what is happening in the sales process to coach and focus the rep's efforts. Creating a system that supports and enables your sales people AND processes can make all the difference.

—Cassie Dennis, Director, SocialRaise

5. Address the elephant in the room: fear

Fear must be addressed. It is the single most-discussed issue relating to sales reps. The fear of rejection, failure, cold calling, contacting the Upper Crust buyers and sellers, and much more. It keeps salespeople from picking up the phone and going out to connect with buyers and sellers. 

—Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 

6. Teach your salespeople how to develop relationships with customers

In the new economy, selling requires individuals that understand they are in the marketing business, can control the discussion, and build a relationship. Customers are smarter today and have more access to information. Today’s sales individual has to be able to develop a relationship, since 88% of consumers will only work with people they know and trust.

—Drew Stevens, Ph.D. 

7. Show reps how to sell to customers from varied backgrounds and situations

Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are naturally motivated to buy (and in the case of the sales team, sell) in very different ways. The one-size-fits-all sales and training methodologies, and the singular revenue-based sales management style, are outdated. The sales person needs to be led and taught to connect and sell to everyone, in any generation. 

—Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 

8. Train reps to suit their learning style, not yours

You need education that is focused on the learning style of the sales person. If the person is visuals-focused with a hard-charging, aggressive sales attitude, a touchy-feely approach will not work (and vice versa). In fact, it might demotivate them. Too many programs do not modify the process to meet the exact needs of the individual. Most are too focused on soft skills and the "I'm OK, you're OK" approach. Customization to the personal modalities of the individuals' brain is critical to the success of the program. 

—Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT, President & CEO, PopUpSelling.com 

9. Recognize the success of individual sales personnel using a great CRM tool

Successful salespeople want to be compensated for closing sales, but they also want to be recognized. It's not just about how much they're paid, but about the thrill of victory and recognition. To make the most of this drive, you'll want to have a top-notch system where performance can be tracked. 

The challenge here becomes how to attribute team accomplishments as well as individual accomplishments. You want to enable people to take ownership of their achievements without being too territorial. It's important to set up a dual set of metrics to encourage pride in the team alongside pride in individual accomplishments. Good CRM software is crucial to managing this kind of information. It enables a company to clearly track involvement in different stages of the sales process, and enables you to reward employees accordingly. 

—Marc Prosser, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Fit Small Business

10. Automate repetitive tasks

Don't do your own busywork. Use a third party tool to automate or hand off your repetitive tasks, such as building a list of leads, gathering contact information, researching potential clients, cleaning up CRM data, running drip campaigns, etc. 

—Joe Leon, Co-Founder, Steward

More tips on building a sales team primed for success

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Better teams use better tools

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