Improving sales effectiveness is not just a sales function issue; it’s a company issue, as it requires deep collaboration between sales, marketing, product development, finance and indeed all lines of business, to understand what’s working and not working, and continuous improvement of the knowledge, messages, skills, and strategies that sales people apply as they work sales opportunities.
It requires experience and a confident management style that empowers sales teams to bring out their best – not by browbeating, admonishing or micro-managing but by listening to the team, dealing with their identified inhibitors to growth and empowering the team to act as true representatives of their company in the marketplace.
To do this effectively, strong senior management support is critical both to agree to the changes in the way the company views the sales function and to provide the access to information and resources to effectively change the way the business operates.
It should include (but of course not be limited to) addressing the following areas:
- Sales compensation plan
- Measurement of forecasts
- Territory plans
- Account plans
- Sales targets
- Territory empowerment
- Current inhibitors to business
- Increasing sales force productivity
- Improving intra-company communication
- Effective hiring if needed (first from within)
While these elements are part of a general list of things that need to be done (indeed, many companies may already be doing most of them) – the last but most important thing to add to this list is a simple but powerful philosophy. It is most important to instill an overall operating philosophy for the sales team – among the team of respect for the individual , do everything in a superior fashion (excellence) and provided unsurpassed customer service. If these elements become part of the fabric of the sales team and supported by senior management, and I can virtually guarantee that the sales team will become the most effective in their industry.
I am entrepreneurial interim Senior Sales Executive specialising in sales leadership and sales force effectiveness as well as organisational turnarounds and change management.
I can hit the ground running and make brisk decisions instilling and then applying a core set of a set of values to the team which speeds their quality decision making so they can exploit their territory sales opportunities.
I measure myself in two ways – to achieve what the client wants as swiftly and as briskly as possible – essentially the reason why they are bringing you in; And to get the team to a point where I will not be missed when leaving the organization. My desire is to instill as many of the values and tools as they need to carry on without me.
While every situation is different, improving sales force effectiveness can require a minimum of 4 to 7 months to make positive changes and can take an additional 3 to 5 months to introduce additional elements designed to speed growth. These additional items would be things like: CRM – leads tracking system and a fully automated forecasting system.
As an interim director I also understand the fiduciary responsibility to the business to not only evaluate and deal with both sort and medium term sales objectives, but to also address making sure the team is properly dressed to face future challenges.
Ideal company profile:
- A team circa 15-25 direct sales people – or a team of up to 100 with individual members reporting to first line managers who in turn report to a sales director.
- Revenues from £25m to £500+m