Operating in a such a dog-eat-dog market, you’d be forgiven for assuming that internal sales teams would be at the top of the career development list. And yet, a recent article in Raconteur suggested that the UK sales profession is somewhat lagging behind its US counterpart, both in terms reputation and understanding of what makes a good sales person.
With organisations investing millions every single year into customer experience, marketing and research; can we really afford to overlook this crucial component of organisational success? Missed targets and declining revenues are just a couple of consequences attributed to neglecting your sales team; with more serious ramifications such as company-wide redundancies and going into administrations also on the horizon.
So, what can be done to ensure that your sales teams are performing to the best of their ability, in the long-term? Nick Washington-Jones, Managing Director of training company TACK International, gave us some sage advice: “Everyone knows the buying cycle has changed and that customers now place greater emphasis on the need for sales people to add value, both to them and to their organisation. However, investment in developing sales people into trusted advisers, and showing how individuals can progress within the profession remains an anomaly, not best practice.
“We all know that once you are in front of a customer, the chances of doing business with them dramatically increases. However, getting in front of them has never been more difficult. Customers are better informed and therefore more immune to attempts to meet. Yet many organisations continue to use archaic measures that no longer reflect how interactions with customers have changed. Likewise, as a profession we are only now starting to really understand the importance of social selling and the need to be seen as experts in our fields, capable of adding value by solving our customers problems. Relationships and the connection you make with customers will always be the most important aspect of sales, but we really need to focus on developing our sales people so that they can be successful.”