Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?

Obviously, when things get really tough, we all would like a superhero to show up right away and lend us a hand. Even if you are among those who don’t believe in superheroes, then at some point during those complicated times, you've probably wanted to have in your hand some sort of magic wand to help you solve all your problems and move on. No more things to worry about.

It just so happens stress generated while confronting difficult situations can take away from you a significant amount of energy, that you could be devoting to more productive things or even something with which you might feel more comfortable.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be about going through extremely complicated situations, but simply those for which either you don’t have the right tools or do not have the required training, or do not have the patience to carry them out or manage them efficiently.

And sales is usually one of those areas for which either you don’t have the training or experience required, or you lack the patience and time needed, or simply don’t want to take the additional burden and you wish there was some sort of magic solution that could provide you with immediate results, or maybe you dream of having a character like a super-duper-sales-guy to come and rescue you and take you to a safer place in his powerful arms.

Too many requirements, too little commitment.

And I bring the character of the super-duper-sales-guy on all purpose because, after reading some ads offering jobs for sales positions, I can’t help but be negatively impressed by the vast amount of things that are required from candidates:

  • They have to be independent professionals, best if working on commissions only, so you don’t have to pay a salary and it doesn’t cost your company any money.
  • They must have an active customer base, so that they can start selling the minute after joining your team.
  • Must also have previous experience within your same industry, so that there is no need to provide any training.
  • Must have the ability to work under pressure, because there won’t be any other way to deal with all your pushing to reach the target numbers.
  • Must be able to self-motivate in order to cope with the challenging situation presented by today’s market, and not to get depressed while considering the poor salary conditions you’d offered.
  • Must have its own vehicle and cell phone basically for the same reasoning: not to cost your company any money.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s good that you are so demanding when hiring people, but all of the above requirements only make sense when you are paying your salespeople a good salary, one of those you can offer the other person looking directly into its eyes. But in most cases, it is not it and you know it.

It makes sense to be so demanding with people when you’ll let them be as demanding with yourself, the entrepreneur.

Unfortunately this isn’t the situation we see more frequently. Business demand from candidates quite a strong commitment on their side, as compared with the weak, or sometimes even non existent commitment that you, as the company, are willing to make (or have already made) to offer them your support and provide the right environment for the sales job to be efficiently done by a truly qualified professional, and not to need a super-hero to come by and do the magic.

Your salespeople, simply the tip of the iceberg on a comprehensive strategy.

Behind every successful salespeople you know, there is a company that has done its homework and has done it properly. The company has honored its commitment to create an environment in which sales representatives can do their jobs and do it as efficiently as possible, providing for themselves (therefore the company, obviously) outstanding results.

Without a company backing him up, the sales representative is just a mercenary closing sales with bare hands.

Just so you know, among many other things, a successful sales guy must count with the following:

  • An excellent ability to transmit your company’s value proposition to customers, and connect it with needs your customers may have.
  • A competitive product, which doesn’t necessarily have to be the best on the market, but at least must have a logical, making sense proposal.
  • A star rated customer service team which shines in every aspect. Again, it doesn’t have to be the best in the world, but simply one which puts customers among their top priorities.
  • A company that takes sales management seriously and understands that sales is the guarantee for its future growth and development.
  • A comprehensive marketing strategy that ensures that, at all times, the customer is receiving a strong message, consistent with the image the company wants to be identified with on the market.

And I do hope you can now see it with much more clarity: for your company to provide members of its sales team with all these things, you really have to sit down and do your homework, and do it right.

Otherwise, your only choice would be to hire a real super sales guy to help you solve one (or many) of the problems your company may have and that, and probably you don’t have the money to afford it.

Certainly it’s very important that your salespeople are extensively qualified for the job they have to do. That’s for sure. But it’s equally important (and I would say even more important) that you, the company, assume your responsibility for creating the right environment for your sales team to perform at their peak performance.

It's a real win-win situation: your salespeople will be happy bringing in money and generating the best results, and you, the company will be having double fun.

Don’t you think it makes much more sense this way?

Picture Credit: julien tromeur | See portfolio

I recommend you to read the following posts on this blog:
How to Effectively Supervise Your Sales Team
How can you motivate your sales team so they can reach their best performance?

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