Would you like to get your sales working properly?
If you’re a brick and mortar business owner, light industry such as Engineer, Wholesaler, Reseller, Commercial Fencing, Electrical, Flooring, Construction Industry Supplier or Manufacturer (in Business to Business sales with some Business to Consumer selling) and you have a labour component like service technicians or installation team then getting your sales to support the business can be frustrating at times.
- Can a salesperson be paid commission only?
- Can an introvert be a salesperson?
- How can a salesperson be compensated?
- What makes a salesperson successful?
These are all questions I hear regularly, so I thought I’d write this post to demystify some of the conflicting advice we hear from well-meaning friends, team members and colleagues.
If you ever want to get to the point where your business runs independently of your direct input, getting sales working properly is important.
And if you feel like listening to my 4 short trainings it’ll answer some of these questions.
There are several aspects we need to consider to get sales working properly.
1. It’s not just about the salesperson:
While some people are natural salespeople, other aspects can let them down like record keeping and sharing information. Initially, it’s great to have a salesperson that can bring in the business as long as they’re not inadvertently creating another liability (increasing complexity).
While all salespeople are not the same, neither are the kinds of sales they bring in. My main point here is that good salespeople bring in good business that doesn’t require a lot of cleaning up afterwards, they are good at handing over the sale to whoever has to keep the promise and as well as that they keep records up to date and accurate.
Think of your business like an NBA Basketball team, the NBA while hiring great players also look for people that will pass the ball as they’re interested in the overall success of the team over a one of show pony that creates a contingent liability further down the track.
2. Record keeping is important and so are your systems:
When we first start out a sale is a sale, however later on our costs increase and so does the requirement to remain above our break-even point. Getting focus around the key drivers of the business is important is a company is going to sustain a profit, consistently – long term.
While we do want a Rockstar Salesperson, we also want focus for the rest of the team and the only way to get transparency is to have a CRM (that stands for “client relationship management” tool) and it can store records, email addresses, phone numbers and notes. It’s also a good idea to have your CRM integrate directly into your accounting package and email marketing tools.
Selecting the right tools is equally as important as running them well. The best tools simplify the business and make everyone’s life easy, reducing complexity and increase visibility all at the same time. Without trying to be a bucket of cold water, statistically, over 50% of CRM deployments initially fail. This is because each business is different and even companies in the same industry may have different needs, despite serving roughly the same market with a similar product. Thought and consideration need to be given to the initial selection of software tools in conjunction with how invested a company are in the software packages they already have. It’s better to start out with basic spreadsheets and work your way up than to purchase some heavy-duty tool with dozens of features you’re never going to use.
Uptake and adoption of software will be much more readily accepted by your salespeople if:
A) You know how to use it (is relatively intuitive), and
B) It’s useful to them, at the outset it makes their life easier. A quick win or two doesn’t hurt either.
3. Good sales management is important for your people as well as you:
Believe it, or not salespeople like being managed even if they don’t show it, or really acknowledge it. Sales can be hard and come easier to some people than others, so a good manager can make all the difference getting people to make calls they didn’t want to make, follow up when they don’t feel like it and push them to bring more out of themselves. I know the best sales managers I have worked under were both my best friend and kicked my butt on the occasion I needed it. I grew as a salesperson, both through the support of sales managers and the freedom to try things out and experiment.
The real problem is that most people who find themselves in sales management positions were never taught how to manage salespeople. Often the best salesperson was promoted to sales manager based on the assumption that if they could sell, they also know how to manage others. The flaw in this thinking is that often the best salespeople are “Lone Wolves” and don’t share very well. Speaking from experience, it took me a while to figure out how to encourage performance from people without alienating them by trying to get them to do things “my way”.
The best sales managers know their numbers, use transparency and meeting frequency to support their logical approach and empower their sales team to do it “their way”, the way that works best for them.
Today people I train to manage their salespeople or salespeople I train are equipped with the skills, tools and encouragement necessary to ultimately go it alone, often they end up tripling sales results in a short space of time.
The science of managing salespeople and getting the best performance out of them is best accomplished when the blend between holding salespeople accountable to the activities necessary to produce results, are entwined with providing them with the freedom to express themselves and use their creative ingenuity. Salespeople in this environment flourish, whereas I have seen many an average performer drown in a harsh sales environment that wasn’t supportive. An encouraging sales manager who knows what they are doing can make a world of difference to a salesperson’s performance turning an average performer into a Sales Rockstar.
To learn more about recruiting a Sales Rockstar