Can They Do It

By Mike Philie
In February 7, 2011

Picking up from an earlier post, my second thought is about evaluating whether or not your sales staff is properly equipped to effectively carry out your strategy and achieve the goals you’ve established for the company.

First, make sure that your goals and strategy are clear so that it’s easier to objectively identify the skills your team should have. Work with the sales team to get buy in and identify the tactical elements necessary to carry out the plan. These would include:

  • Who you should be selling to
  • How are you going to get their attention
  • Why they should buy from you vs. someone else
  • Is there some type of ongoing lead generation program
  • Do you have a method to track the activities and results-a CRM system
  • Overall marketing support

With the mission clearly identified, it’s easier to evaluate your team and get a feel for their ability to be successful within the framework of your plan.

Many of the legacy sales reps are often still able to identify and close good opportunities-if they could only get in front of the decision makers. Their prospecting and networking skills have been severely challenged as the business has evolved and the competition is blurred. While they may still be able to close, other reps are more adapt at networking and can get the appointments but may lack the business acumen to successfully move past the “do you have anything I can quote on” discussion. Many other reps fall between these two examples and that’s where you’ll have to carefully evaluate everyone’s position, their role and their responsibilities in carrying out your sales strategy.

A few other things to consider:

  • Regular performance appraisals: Appraisals probably don’t occur as often as they should. When things were going well did you do regular performance appraisals with salespeople? Probably not. The performance appraisal for a sales rep was usually their commission statement.
  • Challenges for the future: Based on your crystal ball for the future [whatever time period you’re comfortable with] what are you seeing, what are the new things you would like to get involved in? What direction are your key clients going in and are you ready to step in and help them succeed?
  • Skills needed to excel tomorrow: More companies are offering products and services that traditional ink on paper printers would not have entertained a few years ago. What skill sets do you think will be important for your management and sales staff to have in order for you to deliver on and reach the desired outcome for these expanded services?
  • Can they get there: Here’s the hard call…can they get there? Based on what you know, do you think these folks have what it takes to go to the next level? Do they have the initiative, can they be lead or do they need to move on to other positions?
  • As the leader, you’ll have to provide the coaching and support for your staff to succeed: You’ll also have to provide the overall direction, new skills training, expanded thinking, and ‘out of the box’ creativity to your staff so they can help your company reach your goals.

There are many things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your sales team. As usual, I leave you with more questions than answers

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

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