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England may have unfortunately crashed out of the Rugby World Cup, but whether you’re coaching rugby, leading a management team or motivating your sales force, there are some rules you can stick to in order to build a winning sales team. Here’s what you need to build your high-performing sales team this season: 




Expectations should consist of two parts: behaviour and results. 


Behaviour expectations set out how your team should go about their work, so if you set clear targets and KPIs for them to work to, from soft targets such as face-to-face meetings or prospect calls to hard sales targets, you’re bound to see the results you need. 


Expectations are not purely constrained to individual efforts. While individual expectations are important, you should put an emphasis on teamwork to encourage your sales force to reach for the trophy as a team.




A rugby team do not walk onto the pitch knowing exactly what to do: they have months of intensive training, both on and off the field to develop their strength, speed, tactics and game play. 


A report by Sales Performance International found that multi-day sales training events do not work effectively, as approximately 50% of what is taught is forgotten within 5 weeks. Instead, it is far more effective to practice micro-learning: The little but often approach: frequently giving your team digestible information that they can put into practice then and there. 


Other good ways to provide practical training are:


Role-play: Sales enablement sessions with improvised role-play are a great way to build selling-skills and learn how to overcome hurdles you might face in a meeting or call.


Share team success stories: Not only does this exemplify how to make effective sales, but it also qualifies the work of your team. Celebrate wins to boost team morale.


Create a sales reference library: Collect documents and videos on different sales techniques and give your sales reps access to them. 


Provide training on sales tools and software: Effectively using sales software can help your team achieve their targets. Invest in CRM software to keep track of customers and provide in-depth training so your team can get the most out of it. 




The carrot works better than the stick. If rugby players perform well they could be rewarded with a Man of the Match plaudit. You can offer your team a Salesman of the Week/Month, perhaps with a prize as an extra incentive. 


It is also beneficial to create a social and enjoyable work environment: a positive work culture will reflect in sales calls – people can tell a lot from your tone of voice! This could be by providing coffees or nice snacks in the office: just little incentives and treats to keep the team happy with the option of something like a night out if everyone meets their targets so that the team has something to work towards.




Data has come to the rugby pitch: Accenture analyses key game indicators with positive points given for metres gained and passes and negative points for poor handling or a missed tackle to give an overall performance score for players. 


You can also monitor your sales results by using your CRM to see progress and gain a deep analysis of emails sent and time spent on calls. By monitoring results, you can ensure that your team is on track to meet their expectations and you can help to give them live feedback to bring them closer to meeting their targets.




The team talk in the changing room is an important part of the rugby game. The post-match de-brief sums up what worked and what didn’t, what could be done better next time, team strategies and what can be learnt from the opposition. 


Your team then needs to have the capacity to take the feedback, whether it be praise or constructive criticism and apply it going forward. Positive reinforcement is good, but what went wrong needs to be acknowledged to make sure it doesn’t happen again.




•Set expectations for behaviour and results, KPIs for both individuals and for the team as a whole


•Lay out a strategy of how to meet these expectations


•Provide frequent training to help employees retain what they learn


•Ensure everyone has comprehensive training on any software or tools they use


•Monitor results to keep team on track


•Offer feedback, both positive and negative


•Provide incentives


•Celebrate success