The SalesPulse™ Blog, February 2017

IMPROVING SALES EFFECTIVENESS IS NOT JUST A SALES STRATEGY

I closed last month’s issue by saying that improving sales effectiveness is not just sales strategy. If you treat it as this it will not generate the results you hope for, or expect, and you will miss out on a vast improvement potential. Just in case you didn’t read last month’s issue, below is set out a sample menu of actions the sales department could undertake to improve its effectiveness. It is not intended to be comprehensive and I am sure you could think of many more.

1) implement a CRM/sales automation system aligned to a new streamlined sales process

2) identify skills and product training needs and define and implement training plan

3) buy and implement a (new) sales methodology/system

4) train sales managers in coaching

5) optimise sales time utilisation by segmenting customer base and deploying best resources to service major accounts and scarce resourcing others

6) identify and monitor a set of relevant KPIs, take appropriate remedial action should failure to meet them arise.

The point I was making is that you need to muster all your assets to improve sales effectiveness, or indeed any other business strategy. Let’s look at people first. I said last time that “people make things happen” and that if you empower them they will make the right things happen. This referred to salespeople but the same applies to people in other functions. If you take customer service and support, motivated people empowered to “go the extra mile” for the customer will have satisfied customers, and these positively impact business results and sales effectiveness. There is no point implementing a sales effectiveness improvement programme if your customer service sucks! Similarly, other well motivated and engaged people who have customer contact will leave a positive feeling. There are plenty of scholarly and practical papers available on the subject, here is one from Forbes.

Another of your assets that need to be drawn into such a programme are your business processes. These drive your business. Many of these processes are automated, and as such they are operated by business professionals, rather than admin. people. Here are a few questions (and answers borne out of experience) regarding processes:

– Who are they designed for? – Specialists

– Are they documented? – No

– Are they idiot proof? – No

– Are they internally or customer focused? – Internally

If your processes look like this, they afford every chance of delay and possibly failure. In the context of sales effectiveness, there seems little point in spending lots of money to speed up the sales process if the order processing process/system remains unchanged. More orders means more bottlenecks!

In last month’s edition, we said there were five resources to consider in any business. We have covered, money, people and infrastructure. Next time we will look at customers and company culture. I know that smaller company owners and directors might say, “yes I can see this being relevant to bigger organisations”. Let me assure you though, it is appropriate to all organisations.

 

The SalesPulse Insight – Think before you invest in sales training!

A lot has been written about the long term effectiveness, or more specifically the ineffectiveness of sales training. Training is not an event, but many companies still think it is. The most effective sales training occurs when the delivery, practice and follow up is done over a period of time. You cannot change behaviour in a single course. Behaviour change requires a structured approach and time.

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