Historically, organisations employed sales training managers with the mandate of sourcing the best sales training and development materials, or alternatively developing sales training programs for their organisations.
However, the plethora of sales training and the confusion of training methods all being touted as ‘best practice’, coupled with the lack of training for sales managers, led many sales training managers to expand their role, taking over much more than sales training and expanding it into part of the traditional role of sales managers – i.e. sales excellence managers.
At the same time, with costs increasing and markets growing at a lower rate than they had in the past, the drive for reducing costs whilst maintaining sales effectiveness is going to increase. Sales managers, who are and had always been responsible for sales excellence, are going to face pressure to resume this responsibility and deliver sales excellence. In the process, sales excellence managers will either revert to their original role of sales training managers or find themselves being deployed elsewhere in the sales operations chain.
Sales excellence is about companies creating powerful sales management and coaching processes that are crucial to driving effective and sustained top level sales performance. It is then clear that excellence has to start with understanding what ‘good selling’ actually is in the context of the organisation’s goals, objectives, and resources. It also involves defining what top performing salespeople behaviour is, their skills, knowledge base and competence. It’s not about sales training, sales conferences and events – issues that appear to be much of what many sales excellence managers become involved with.
Some companies have incorporated the sales excellence operations back into the sales management function. These companies are seeing significant benefits of more centralised sales operations. Their re-empowered sales managers are showing substantial improvements in sales morale and performance, in customer satisfaction and, most importantly, in both top and bottom-line sales results.
As pressure mounts on sales to deliver more, with fewer resources, sales managers are going to look at how they can achieve sales excellence at a lower cost. This could well spell the demise of sales excellence managers unless they too step up to the plate and participate in the risk/reward function of sales – in other words, if sales don’t improve to whatever standard management see as excellent, sales excellence managers get rewarded less.
Remember, everybody lives by selling something.
Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Her business Barrett P/L partners with its clients to improve their sales operations. Visit www.barrett.com.au