The four requirements for a sales team to succeed on ‘auto pilot’

automate sales funnel

In a previous post, I outlined how many small business owners and solopreneurs alternate between looking for clients and working for clients. When they’re busy with projects, they stop filling their sales funnel with prospects.

To break this cycle, you need to automate funnel filling and there are two modes of automation: setting loose a team to do it and applying technology. Typically a combination of these two methods is used.

Let’s look at setting loose a team to keep prospects coming through your front door.

Your “team” may start out to be one person…or less: At first it may be one person working part time for you. However, it’s very important that this person is brought onboard in a manner that allows him or her to work “automatically.”

In other words, if you’re the person who supplies the product or service, you want to concentrate on what you do best. Your sales team needs to be able to work efficiently on “auto pilot.” However, I’m not saying that your sales team doesn’t need supervision. I’m just saying that when the right leadership and management elements are in place, your sales team will do a great job with minimum supervision.

Here are the required elements to create an automatic sales team:

  • Hiring well,
  • Having a strong company culture,
  • Putting hires through a good training program, and
  • Providing and maintaining up procedures.

Hiring well

I’m a firm believer that it’s more important to hire wisely than it is to hire quickly. The first step is to know exactly what you want, but here we’re focused on sales, so what you want is someone who can sell.

However, this person will vary widely between small businesses. Ultimately, I believe you need a person who is dedicated to helping others and who sees your product or service as the “help” your prospects need. If they see themselves as solving problems for others, they won’t be perceived as hardcore sales people by your prospects.

Keep personality and temperament in mind to help you be certain that your new hire will be a good fit.

Company culture

And as we discuss fit, you need to have a strong company culture established to give your new hire something to fit into. Otherwise, every new hire you bring on board will try to shape your culture.

Because we’re talking about the early days of your small business, you may be the company culture. Keep that in mind and document what is important to you. Come up with a mission statement that captures the essence of what your small business is.

Tip: If you have been doing sales, record successful phone calls so new sales hires can hear how you sound when you’re discussing your product or service. This will help you maintain the right tone in your company culture.

Training program

The above tip gives you one element for your sales training program. Again, since we’re talking about the early stages of your small business, you will be a large part of your training program curriculum. Nonetheless, your training needs to be standardized and there are a lot of Internet-based tools and strategies that can help you achieve this – even if you’re small.

Much of this standardization will be in the form of procedures and that brings us to our final point in automating by team.


The taped phone conversation mentioned above will go a long way toward communicating the “look and feel” you want to maintain in your small business. But when you take it a step further and capture what needs to be done, how it should be done, and in what order things are to be done, you are starting to put together procedures.

These are essential. You must be able to hand down your company’s hard-earned “wisdom” to the next generation of team members and it starts with you as you hand off sales to the first person you add to that department.

Procedures are not static documents; they are often revised. The point is to evolve them into the most efficient way to get things done in your small business environment. They are the heart of automation. In fact, sometimes procedures can be used as the foundation for taking automation to the next step, and that’s translating it into technology – which will be where we finalize this discussion on automating your sales funnel.