19/06/2014 | Skills
A common way of enhancing your company’s sales presence on the ground is to get some of the current operational staff to do a bit of selling when they can. After all they have ample opportunity in their day-to-day contact with the customer organisation and are often perceived as helpful, friendly and non-threatening in this capacity. All they have to do is learn to ask a few choice questions when they are with customers and just think of the opportunities they can uncover.
We see this regularly as a cost effective route to increasing the amount of sales activity without increasing its cost. The trouble is, it rarely works.
Leaving aside the only cursory nod in the direction that there might be some real skill involved in selling well, there are two big challenges that are typically left un-faced until its too late. One is the reasons that the operational people had for joining the business in the first place. These are often to do with an interest in the more technical and/or service-based satisfaction of solving a problem or seeing a job well done and sometimes a preference for doing something that doesn’t involve sales. This is admirable but not necessarily a good grounding for being able to sell!
The second challenge comes in the form of their actual personality traits which often lean away from the persuasive and influential and more towards relationships based on known competence and familiarity. In other words there is a high degree of certainty about their role and asking good questions is likely to reduce this, at least in the short term.
So what do you do, short of hiring some expensive additional sales people?
Well, a good start is to recognise the points raised above and expect lower levels of sales activity in the first instance. If that’s not enough to deliver the top line then you may indeed need to hire more people but at least you know its a justifiable investment.
Next you need to profile carefully (there are several very good tools available for doing this) the operational people you would like to sell and choose only those with the correct aptitude and approach to succeed. Create a separate team if need be.
Finally you need to target them appropriately and provide the skills training and reward system to enable them to gain the confidence they will need to do something new and the ability to do it well.
Get in touch with Sales Blueprint.