By Samuel Thimothy, VP at OneIMS.com

A company’s sales team is the foundation of its growth. In order to bring in more revenue and achieve your company goals, you need to have a strong team of sales professionals ready to connect with potential customers.

A salesperson often makes the first -- and last -- impression for your organization. That’s why it’s crucial that you have the best set of individuals out there representing your company. Unfortunately, great sales professionals aren’t easy to come by, making it difficult to efficiently expand your sales team.

If you’re looking to grow your sales team, you don’t want to hire the first individual willing to work on commission. Instead, your hires should be strategic. To help you recruit, identify and onboard the best salespeople possible, here are a few things you need to do.

1. Evaluate your current sales team.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of treating their sales professionals like solo players, rather than a complete team. But the truth is, your sales team needs to work together to bring leads to purchase.

Before hiring any new sales team members, take a look at who you already have in your corner. Evaluate where your current team is strong and where they might be lacking. Talk to them about what kind of support they need, or what they believe will make them stronger.

Your new hires should fill the gaps in your current sales team, while also bringing their own unique personalities, strategies and techniques to your company’s sales process.

2. Create a collaborative environment.

A little competition can be good for a sales team. However, you don’t want your sales team to feel as if they’re pitted against each other. Rather than a competitive environment, you should encourage a collaborative workplace. Team members should be encouraged to share their tips, best practices and processes -- particularly with new members.

To further encourage a collaborative environment, consider a mentorship program for your growing sales team. Connecting senior sales professionals with newer members can help them advance their skills and become more comfortable at work.

3. Ask for referrals.

Referrals are a great way to find top-notch sales talent quickly -- putting your team expansion on the fast track. While you should always post about open positions, ask your current team if they know of anyone who might be a good fit.

Asking for referrals can help you cut down on the amount of time you spend sifting through resumes or cover letters. Your team also understands your company culture. They can recommend individuals who they feel will do a great job and who would fit in with the company’s personality.

4. Look for people willing to learn.

Having a sales team that knows exactly what they’re doing is great. It’s also great when each team member knows their preferences and best techniques. However, you don’t want to end up with a sales team too stuck in their ways. When team members become stubborn, they can stifle your company’s overall growth.

You want sales professionals who know what they’re doing but are also willing to learn new skills and apply feedback they’re given. When expanding your sales team, be sure to look for individuals eager to be coached -- and provide them with coaching.

5. Maintain clear communication.

The expansion of your sales team shouldn’t be a one-time project. You should always be looking for new ways to improve and grow.

Regardless of the size of your sales department, you want to maintain open communication with your team. Your salespeople should always understand your goals and expectations, and where they fall in relation to those. They should be given ample feedback and advice to help them get closer to successfully achieving those goals.

Communication is also a two-way street. Make sure it’s easy for new and old team members to ask questions, give feedback of their own or offer new ideas.

Conclusion

Any time you expand your team, you need to be smart about the decisions you make. Luckily, with the right steps, the process can be simple.

Always evaluate the state of your current sales team, and identify any weaknesses. Build a system of support and collaboration within your team, and ask for referrals. Once you’ve hired new team members, create an open collaboration system. Remember, pay close attention to what your sales team needs, and adjust your strategy as necessary.

Samuel Thimothy is the VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency, and co-founded Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform.