Developing and Leading the Sales Organization

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There are few audiences more cynical than sales professionals I have found lawyers and accountants to come close , so providing clear and definitive leadership is critical.


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Since most sales organizations serve as the nosecone of the business, as customer and product or service issues impact them first, they benefit greatly from having a vision for the entire team. The sales leader must be the exemplar of that vision, as the team will be watching. Develop talent and coach relentlessly. Many a sales leader has risen through the ranks as a great seller to a sales leadership position.

Most of the time, the fundamental issue is a lack of coaching and development of talent. All too often they are narrowly focused on the role of super closer in an effort to drive business instead of building sales capability across a team. Pay close attention to your selling roles and understand how you get involved in sales cycles.

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How To Effectively Coach A Sales Team - Salesforce Blog

I have seen four distinct roles that sales leaders take on: Model—you run the call, Observer—you observe only with an intent to coach following the call, Teammate— you engage in joint selling with clearly defined responsibilities to take on specific topics during the call, and Strategist—you provide pre-call planning guidance and post-call support. Each of these selling roles has a unique purpose and impact, so it is imperative that the sales leader is intentional about what role they are playing as they support business development efforts. Focus on creating value in the sales process.

Developing and Leading the Sales Organization

For many, success in selling is far less about what they are selling and increasingly about how they sell. That how is creating value in the sales process, and sales leaders can engineer the sales experience of customers to be one that is worth paying for. Forecast with an understanding of where the customer is in the buying process. By and large, forecasting tools are centered on a series of tasks that sellers perform during the course of a sales cycle.

12 Expert Tips For Managing a Successful Sales Team

What they too often lack is the perspective of the buyer and where the buyer is in the decision process. Motivate with recognition and rewards.

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It takes one to know one, right?! They must build customer satisfaction and trust throughout the sales cycle. This creates repeat business and new business from customer referrals.

What Challenges Are Holding Your Sales Team Back?

Many companies have added a customer satisfaction metric to sales team evaluations. In the past these evaluations focused mostly on sales data. Truly professional sales people also strive to represent their company in the best possible light, even in their personal lives.

Hiring the right salespeople can increase sales, improve company image and add positive energy to the work environment. Hiring the wrong ones can greatly reduce sales and lead to a damaged public perception of the business. Certainly managers should look for candidates with a resume displaying the appropriate experience and skills necessary to work in his particular industry.

Beyond this, and maybe even more importantly, great sales people possess the following characteristics: self-confidence, positive and energetic attitude, motivated by money, effective communication skills and a competitive personality. Many companies prefer to hire from within. That way, the employee already knows the business and fellow employees.

Executive Education for Sales & Marketing

This requires less training and may cost less in the long run. Smaller businesses may not have this option. Managers often ask for employee referrals and could offer a small referral bonus if the person gets hired. Online ads and newspaper classifieds offer another method of collecting resumes for review as well as referrals from current customers and professional associations. Headhunters specializing in sales are a costly alternative, but may be a good way to find the best candidates.

Proper training of a sales force might consist of formal sales courses or seminars, but is often done in-house by more experienced salespeople.

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Some managers develop their own sales training programs. Training programs typically consist of ensuring sales people have a thorough knowledge of the products or services offered, role-playing activities and an ongoing mentoring program. Certain sales positions may require the sales people shadow current sales staff to learn required steps and protocols.

Sales managers should evaluate the sales force on a regular basis to monitor their success in meeting goals and building a customer base.

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