How Can I Help You?
Doing more of something that does not work is not logical; doing different things that work is not rocket science, deciding on what to do is key.
There is no one answer to today’s sales challenges; there are no magic bullets and no miraculous remedies, what there is, is a lot of hard work and many questions. Stepping back and taking stock of the position you find yourself in is the first step to improvement.
Opposite is a list of challenges your business may be facing, it is not a complete list; if your challenge is within the list then we have a foundation to start from, however; if your sales challenge is not listed, but you require better results from your sales opportunities let’s talk and work out where we need to start.
Start-up businesses; entrepreneurs the unforeseen challenge
New recruits and those already established in a sales role
Those joining a company taking on a sales role having had a career in other areas of business, the challenge of a sales role can seem daunting at first. Support & encouragement is an integral part of building performance; it takes time to develop in a sales role. Time & patience is not always in abundance in many companies, therefore contracting the role out to a mentor has great merit and is the logical approach to improving quality and performance in the team.
Sales Management Role
For newly promoted sales managers the challenge is on in the majority of cases, they have been promoted into the role based on their success in a sales role. So it can be accepted that they can do the job better than most of those they are now managing. However, that is not the job they are now doing, passing the mantle to others has consequences jumping in and taking over when things don’t go to plan is not on the table.
Management is also about leadership; leaders require an understanding of what motivates the individuals in their charge; listening takes on a new direction, empathy and understanding become watchwords.
The cost of failure for a new sales manager is catastrophic for them personally, but the impact will cascade through the entire team. Change is never comfortable, disruption in a sales team costs money.
Difficulties in a sales team often manifest in resignation letters, when a member of a team resigns sighting issues in the line manager this should be considered as an acknowledgement that they have decided to sack their line manager rather than seek a resolve.
Outbound v Inbound: Areas to consider for development of your organisation
With many companies committing to social media activities with little understanding, but still hoping for success; some achieve little and some near zero, keeping the focus on the company in social media is not easy. Drawing on the individuals as a resource within the company to magnify the visibility is a wise choice all to often overlooked.
Articles and features talking about creating a brand or improving your brand are commonplace, in an age when most potential customers only engage in a purchase enquiry at 50% through the sales cycle or even higher. Companies own employees can help grow the social selling footprint, but great care of the content is imperative.
2019 reality has hit, today’s buyers are just as likely to check out the people they are about to do business with, the moral ‘If you would not like your mother to read it don’t post it’. The impact of the statement “People buy from people they like” now goes a lot further than previously perceived.
With the growth in thinking in 2016 a new need emerged into the marketplace requiring salespeople to have an individual brand, no longer is it just about the company. Our risk-averse culture now seen in most organisations has resulted in the reality that “transparency is king”. With the power of the internet, everything is visible, today’s social feed networks mean that stakeholders and buyers are just likely to look up the salesperson’s profile on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter etc.
The magnifying of the electronic footprint is not about having the best Website or Facebook page, Instagram or Pinterest Pin, the companies employees and client feedback all play a part in creating a difference. All participants in a company have a role to play in the success.
Getting a foothold in a company has become about proving yourself. The once strong army of gatekeepers defending your engagement with the prospect has all but vanished. Yet getting to talk and secure an order from a potential customer has become significantly harder, if you do get through the sales cycle it is taking longer to conclude. With buyers performing a number of checks before they are willing to commit to a purchase.
A companies electronic profile, as well as the salesperson’s electronic footprint, feedback score ratings, client recommendations all play a role in creating trust, “No one wants to be the first.” Should you or your company be found wanting in any of these areas the future business potential may go cold.
Today’s sales challenges
Rolling out your technical product specification simply will not win you the business if the prospect does not see a value; then WHY do they need it.” Finding out the need means asking questions if your salespeople are not comfortable in asking questions then the results will always be poor.
Today’s B2B buyer has become more risk-averse resulting in them placing 50% or more of their orders with the same trusted suppliers. “Better the devil you know” Has become a business position adopted by many. Trust is an essential element that needs to be conveyed by the company and its employees. The message needs to be universal and clear. “ We all need to sing from the same hymn sheet”.
Getting an edge on the competition
The time to influence and deal with sales challenges is in the early part of the sales process, sharing information & knowledge, customer satisfaction experience and case studies are a good way to build confidence in your products, services and company while defending against the competition.
The percentage of people working in sales roles within the B2C having a natural talent for sales is often seen as less than those working in the B2B. Even if a salesperson has a natural aptitude to selling it is no guarantee of success. Supporting those with a natural flair as well as those that don’t is the logical choice. Investing in your sales team is important, the investment is not just about valuing the potential in each of them but also about investing in the company’s future.
Separating you from the others
With the growth of the internet, the level of knowledge that is freely available to the prospect is increasing daily; companies are more open to sharing information on their products and people that make up the company. The About US tab has grown in depth over recent years and often goes beyond names and positions to reveal a level of education, personality and interests held. This transition offers not only the company the opportunity to strengthen its brand, but uses its employees to magnify the brand depth and volume.
Referrals have always carried a high value due to offering the opportunity to transact business free from competitors; in an age when every company now has five times as many competitors than ten years or even five years ago finding potential new business outside of inbound enquiries offers immense potential.
Marketing & sales departments; combined or individual
Marketing departments by nature and history are a difficult commodity to evaluate for their success; often the only measure is the size of the budget that is agreed by senior management. Sales departments are results driven, the measure is constant, with each salesperson, each sales manager and right up to the sales director only being as good as last week, last month or last years results.
Understandably when you take the two positions into account, it is reasonable that marketing people are hesitant to join in the constant pressure applied to a sales department. Regardless of this fact there is proof that a combining of the two departments can leverage success.