Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 11:31 GMT

Gaining sales within your business

Nick Devine stresses the importance of allocating your time according to the following three and half rules in order to be effective and successful with sales in business

Rules for great management

Most people would agree that sales is the engine that drives a business forward. If you do not have the ability to find, win, keep, and grow ideal clients at premium pricing, then you will not be in business for long.


If you don't have the ability to find, win, keep, and grow ideal clients at premium pricing, then you will not be in business for long

When you are in sales, your success is defined by your ability to generate profitable revenue. When you are in sales management, your success is defined by your ability to get other people to generate profitable revenue.

The following three and a half rules apply to large organisations that have ten or more salespeople, and they apply equally to a smaller company that may only have one salesperson.

In your company, you may be the business owner and the default sales manager responsible for two salespeople. It is likely that you have a mixed portfolio of responsibilities. You might be the production manager, finance director, HR manager, and sales manager wearing many hats each week.

When you are wearing your sales management hat, it is important that you allocate your time according to the following three and a half rules so that you are effective and successful.

Regardless of your situation, the following rules apply.

RULE #1

Invest 30 percent of your sales management time on strategy and innovation.


I have personally led a lot of sales teams over the last 30-odd years, and I have observed countless more teams. I have noticed that some leadership teams treat sales like a blunt instrument and others see it as a strategic weapon.


I have noticed that some leadership teams treat sales like a blunt instrument and others see it as a strategic weapon

Blunt instrument

Companies with this approach are primarily focused on the numbers, and they do not care where the numbers come from. All that matters is that the targets are achieved.

A relentless focus on hitting targets is very important but it is only part of the picture. It cannot (and should not) be all that you focus on.

Strategic weapon

When you see your sales team as a weapon to be strategically deployed, you expand your thinking. Achieving targets is still critically important, but you are also thinking about other aspects, such as:


• Ideal client: Do we know who our ideal client is, and are we focusing our sales efforts on selling to them? Have we identified market sectors/portfolios of ideal clients that are an ideal fit for what we do?


• Difference maker: Do we know  what our key value proposition (difference maker) is for our ideal client? Do we know how to measure and communicate that value? Are we creating new offers/value propositions based on our competitive landscape and changing needs of our ideal clients.


• Product/service mix: Do we know what the strategic product/service mix needs to be as we move into the future? What do we need to sell less of and what do we need to sell more of?


• Sales process: Have we documented and optimised our sales process so that we are getting the highest return on investment (ROI) possible on our salesforce investment? Do we look for areas of weakness that would have the highest leverage if we improve performance there? Pipeline analysis and win/loss analysis are usually the best indicators of where your sales process is not fully optimised.


• New offers: Are you creating new offers/value propositions based on our competitive landscape and changing needs of your ideal clients?


RULE #2 

Invest 30 percent of your sales management time on hiring, coaching, and training

• ‘A-players’: Do we have a plan for raising the talent bar in our team? What capabilities do we require in order to achieve our business goals in the future as well as in the present? How do we find, hire, train, and retain a team of ‘A-players’ in our sales team?

• Resolve issues With ‘C-players’: What coaching/training is required so that they improve their performance and results? Do we need to replace them?

You must think about how to find, hire, train, and retain a team of ‘A-players’ in your sales team

• Ongoing training and development plans: Are we running regular/consistent group sales training designed to optimise our documented sales process. Does everybody on the team have a personal development plan they are working through. This could be as simple as reading sales books and listening to audio programmes/books—it does not need to be expensive or complex.


• Performance coaching: Are we using best practice when we are doing one-on-one coaching with our team?


RULE #3

Invest 30 percent of your sales management time on selling

• Hotlist: Are we focusing on the hotlist for the current quarter? Do we need to invest more time helping team members to innovate deals? Are we finding creative ways to unstick stuck deals? Am I modelling the selling process while doing selling activities with team members.

• Selling resource: Am I acting as a resource for the team to move the pipeline forward. Do I collaborate with the sales representatives to move a deal forward?


RULE #3½

Invest 10 percent of your sales management time on resource management.


It is extremely important that the sales leader remains organised and on top of their administration/reporting tasks. However, it has a minor impact on sales team performance, yet it must still be done or chaos will reign.

Therefore, either leverage technology, or use low-cost administration resources to get 80 percent of the administration work done on your behalf. You need to be smart and resourceful in this area if you are to succeed.

If you would like to find out how to make your sales team produce more sales you can request a free sales management strategy session with me. I am offering a number of free sessions to qualifying companies. You must apply within 28 days of the publishing date of this article.

After the strategy session you will know how to manage your sales team so you create predictable, scalable, and profitable growth. To find out more, send an email to Nick@theprintcoach.com and put the words ‘Sales Management Strategy Session’ in the subject line.

Nick Devine is the founder of www.theprintcoach.com. We help print and packaging companies create predictable sales and profit growth with guaranteed results.

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