Current economic and market conditions are soft at best according to the latest reports.
And even though the federal government is putting a positive spin on the latest quarterly figures by comparing us to other countries that are worse off than us, it doesn’t help those of us who are finding the current conditions challenging. Just ask any retailer at the moment and they will tell you just how tough it is out there.
It’s pretty easy to sell in good times. However, it’s the test of any business and its leadership team as to how they sell in the tough times.
This is when you don’t want to be relying on luck to get you through.
So let’s take a look at putting in place a sales operating system that will help you sell better in challenging times. So, where to start?
It’s all about designing an effective sales strategy, right-sizing sales teams, picking the right sales segments to sell to, delivering the right level of sales training, coaching the sales team, dealing with underperformers, key accounts management, managing and reporting on sales financials, liaising and linking with other departments across the value chain, boosting team morale, and so on.
Here are seven things you can do immediately and seven ways you can approach the improvement of your sales operations.
- Define an easily understood and relevant compelling reason for your prospects to buy from you, rather than a rival.
- Incorporate sales in your real value chain.
- Shift from making sales to achieve financial goals to selling solutions in order to help your customers achieve their goals.
- Reward salespeople by removing non-sales related activities from their activity mandate.
- Introduce effective governance that automates critical non-revenue generating activities in sales.
- Employ and develop salespeople with the right attitude rather than solely sales or technical experience.
- Give sales managers the freedom to be leaders rather than super-salespeople.
- Review and develop your sales strategy and go-to-market plan.
- Analyse your market segmentation.
- Audit your sales processes and protocols.
- Review your key account management and overall sales practices.
- Review your sales selection protocols.
- Assess the knowledge, skills, and mindset of your sales team.
- Train and coach your sales managers and your salespeople.
So instead of falling to the old trap of relying on a ‘point solution’ (you know, that one thing that promises to fix everything and sounds too good to be true because it is), take a more holistic approach to running your sales team and operation.
Don’t try and do it all by yourself. Enlist support from within your organisation first and check if you have the knowledge, skills and systems in place to address these seven areas.
If so, proceed and break the project down into its components and work with the people in your business to create a fit, viable sales force and well supported sales operation.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.