Like any business leader, you probably watch your sales figures like a hawk. You know full well that sales are your company’s life blood. Undoubtedly there have been times when you have been unhappy with the sales figures. You’ve probably wondered what in the heck your sales team is doing! And why not; you have a great product, great service and you are competitively priced.
Have you and/or your Sales Manager ever spent the time to understand how your sales team is spending their day? Are they really out there filling their pipelines or are they serving their existing business? Worse, are they dealing with administrative issues or scrambling to cover for poor service?
Think about this: In the rest of your operation, do you have people who specialize in what they do? You have manufacturing, maintenance and shipping departments (if you are in a manufacturing business). Do your shipping people go and run the production equipment? Do your manufacturing people go into the office to do accounting? Of course not. Why? That would be incredibly inefficient. So, why does your sales team sell, serve and trouble shoot? If you think that’s inefficient, you are right.
Take heart, however. You are not alone. This is a common problem throughout multiple industries. Sales people work hard early in their tenure to build their book of business; selling and serving along the way. Eventually, they become order takers and stop generating new business. Now, I am not telling you to ignore your existing customers. They are way too expensive to replace. By all means, make them happy and loyal! However, you don’t need to use your sales team to do that.
Take a good look at your sales team and how they spend their day. Look, also, at their skill sets. Are they hunters or farmers? If they still can hunt, let them hunt. Set up the sales organization so it feeds the service side of the business. Let the service oriented farmers take outstanding care of existing customers. In other words, use each person’s best and highest purpose.
This change won’t be easy. There are compensation issues and you may even lose someone. However, you’ve got to utilize your team the best way possible and keep the pipeline full. Even before doing this, you can probably find a lot of administrative busy work that can be eliminated, streamlined or re-located in order to let your sales team sell.
Dig in and sort it out. Make sure that Sales is what they are really doing.