A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reports on current research into teamwork. It seems that the fault may lie more with managers who do not know how to get the best out of their teams rather than the team members themselves.
I'd like to share the benefits of my 30-year experience in sales and marketing with you. This series of blogs tackles 6 of the top sales management challenges with sound advice and a practical 'do today' tip.
Sales Challenge #2: Considerations for building the right team
Whatever you are selling requires the right team to maximize its sales.
Are you ...
selling a commodity or a solution?
selling to accounts where you are upselling and cross selling?
selling new business into new name, "new logo" accounts?
selling a product that takes hours to sell or months?
selling locally or nationally or internationally?
Not every salesperson is suited to every type of sale.
Given the choice, I would do new business rather than manage accounts. It suits my temperament (and I really don't mind cold calling!) but this does not suit everyone.
Consider: How long is your sales cycle?
Many sales people need the constant motivation of getting orders every day. Others don't mind a longer sales cycle, and in fact, prefer getting one big order every so often--usually it's less paperwork to contend with!
Some sales folks enjoy the technical challenge of selling solutions and writing detailed proposals and RFP responses and all that entails whilst some people are happy just quoting and selling commodities.
As Lord Alan Sugar once said, "Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap." (For my non UK audience, he is the businessman that did the UK version of The Apprentice).
Consider your customers: who are you selling to, at what level do you need your salesperson to operate, and what does the customer expect?
We worked on a project a couple of years ago to develop a global account process for a client selling in the credit card sector. For the position of 'Global Account Director' (aka salesperson) for one account, we hired an ex-divisional GM - that was the level of experience it took to manage the account to the level the customer wanted.
Here is the point I am getting at: when it comes to sales people, one size does not fit all and while that seems like a blinding glimpse of the obvious, you would be surprised at just how often sales managers hire a mismatched sales person for the job.
No point whatsoever (well, rarely) hiring an account manager to do new business or a new business hunter to manage accounts. Biggest mistake we see is a sales guy used to getting lots of orders at a [comparatively] low value being given a job selling a few orders at a high value.
Do-today Tip #2: Create a person profile to go with the job description when you are hiring. Use some tools to ensure the person is matched to your specific sales role and the temperament the role needs, not just the skills. Brief your recruiter or HR professional about the 'type' of salesperson you need--a hunter, a farmer, a solution seller, a commodity seller, a collaborative seller.
Next time, we'll take a look at how to choose the right spot on the
'sales management continuum' to get your sales management style right to match the team.
Read more: see my last blog CREATING CLEARLY DEFINED SALES PROCESSES AND SALES OBJECTIVES
Is Building the Right Sales Team a challenge for your orgainzation? What have you been doing about it? How has that been working out for you? Like an answer to a question? Our readers would love to hear your thoughts and help with your queries. Comment below to start a dialog.