If you’re in business, you’re most definitely selling something. In fact, chances are the entire company hinges on your or someone else’s ability to continually assist in ensuring purchases are happening. For some businesses, this demand is so great they grow to depend on a team of full-time sales personnel to take responsibility for facilitating further transactions.
It’s an arrangement we see in many popular businesses. For instance, realty firms and automotive dealerships operate with their salespeople at the forefront. Yet many smaller more niche enterprises also count on a strong sales force to maintain success as well as expand. Those running these less-established businesses will need to ensure they maintain a great sales force like they would if they were selling tracts of land or lots of cars.
Luckily for those in this position, here are some good pointers for getting started:
Keep them informed and coordinated
The key to a successful sales force is making sure each member is continually in the know. This ranges from having the latest inside figures to keeping track of dozens if not hundreds of accounts on a personal level. If this sounds like too much to ask, you’d be right if it weren’t for technology. The use of document collaboration tools is essential for modern sales teams to easily and quickly share information updated in real time. Not only does this help to ensure sales personnel are armed with the information needed to get the job done, it enriches the relationship between the business and its customers.
Provide prizes and other incentives
It’s been a time-honored tradition in sales offices across the world, so there’s no reason to be the one company not offering prizes and other incentives to those who generate the best numbers. There’s no question this will create an atmosphere of competition among sales personnel, which can lead to division, so it’s imperative for managers to design their sales incentives program accordingly. For instance, three-tiered prizes might only be suitable for when the sales team is in excess of seven or more members, in order to prevent the pursuit from becoming too personal. This has the added effect of ensuring those bringing in the rear aren’t outnumbered by routine winners.
Avoid the boiler room
Great sales are about facilitating a purchase which is in the best interest of the customer. It involves being there to answer questions as well as discuss the benefits of going forward with the purchase. Great sales are not about who can devise the most seductive pitch designed to encourage a sale in circumstances where it would ordinarily not occur. It’s definitely not about pressuring people into making major purchase decisions. These tenets must be outlined and enforced by management for a sales team to thrive.
Back them up with great marketing
No major league sports analyst would ever say a team name, their color scheme, or uniform design had a true influence on the way of the game and their athletic performance. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an effect. It’s admittedly intangible, but the impact our branding has on the way we perform is undoubtedly there. It’s certainly there for businesses, and therefore sales as well. In short, give your sales personnel the best chance possible by backing them up with great marketing. It’s a decision which can make them feel proud and empowered, rather than insecure and uncertain.
Back them up with a great product or service
Ultimately, it’s whatever your company is selling which decides the strength level of your sales team. While it’s true there is a salesperson out there capable of selling paintings to the blind and telephones to the deaf, a business which is dependent on slick talk won’t last long. The company has to deliver on the promises spelled out by sales, simple as that.
The one thing uniting all businesses big and small is the need to make a sale on a regular basis. If that regular basis is “as often as possible” (and it always is) then your sales force needs to be taken seriously, treated fairly, and taught well.