Reviving a Dying Sales Team

By Neil Smith

A stunning 70% of U.S. workers say they are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” with their work, according to a study by Gallup. Should you find your sales team being affected by something similar, there are a couple of steps one could follow to regain the trust and recharge the talent of sales people.

  • Understand and communicate on a strategic level – In 2012, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, online spending reached almost $200 billion. That’s a lot, but it’s less than 5% of total retail. Thus even as customers are buying online the traditional sales organizations are still the engines of revenue acquisition and firm value. Consider the century-old practice of selling cars at dealers. Few cars are actually bought online. But an estimated 80% of Americans first research the purchase via online sources. As a side effect the visits to dealers become less frequent and sales reps must be better at closing the sale with more-informed customers. As selling skills are not important, there are varied options available to customers that put them in pressure on the rep’s value-add during the sales experience, and this commitment has implications.
  • Redesign processes with sales tasks, not the technology, in mind – It is estimated that each U.S firm with more than 1,000 employees already has more data in their CRM systems than in the entire U.S Library of Congress. A manager cannot sound analytical depending on “Data” itself, he/she also has to be contextually right and make wiser decisions which are practically implementable. New technologies can improve lead generation and qualification (via search engine optimization techniques and tailored online communities), determination of specifications (via third-party websites, webinars, and online demo’s), and price negotiations and closing (via online tracking systems and pricing algorithms). Unfortunately huge data transformations are failing because firms randomly download data onto sales reps. According to Gartner Research, CMO’s soon will spend more on IT than CIOs. This increases the need for coordination between sales and marketing throughout the buying cycle.

People ultimate execute strategy but companies don’t. Talented sales people remain the key level for strategy implementation in most firms. The company must recognize the right talent and benefit from that talent and provide right environment for it to flourish.

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