Think business continuity: Invest in sales!

Confronted with the current uncertain market conditions, most companies are reconsidering their spendings; and they should.

Indeed, readjusting costs to match new market conditions (understand decreasing business) seems a sound business decision to take.

However, regardless of the business climate, sales teams should be viewed as an investment and not as a cost.

And when cost savings programs are not thought through properly beforehand and implemented carefully, the immediate financial gains may easily be offset by negative side effects and any other hidden costs.

Sales teams are an investment

Sales teams are one of the company entities whose mandate it is to generate the highest ROI possible per action engaged.

One expects that sales representatives are experts in their field by focusing on the chosen initiatives, the chosen clients and the chosen business opportunities; a combination that will deliver the highest outcome possible.

So the quality of the team, as well as the time and money invested into it, directly impacts the outcome.  

Sales teams unlock the business potential of the markets they are responsible for

Their raison-d’être is not just to pick up orders that would have come anyway.

Their objective is to transform into orders the business potential of the market segments they are responsible for; with the business proposition they are equipped with.

The size of the sales team should be in correlation with the business potential of the markets they target.

Controlling sales costs wisely

Should sales costs be controlled? Definitely yes, and, more than ever, only spend money when the ROI has been assessed and challenged.

Investing a substantial amount of money into a business event when business expectations are unclear and without proper internal alignment and commitment to make it a success, should be a thing of the past.

Likewise, costs involved in meeting clients without sufficient preparation should be avoided.

Cutting sales costs: act with caution or it will backfire

Decisions to reduce costs need to be managed carefully to avoid unexpected negatives.

To quote only a few:

#1- size of the team

Reducing the size of the team demands a clear answer to some key questions:

  • Who to let go? On which criteria? How relevant are those criteria?
  • Is the decision based on the percentage of target achieved? Is it based on how the individual market segments are expected to recover and when?
  • Will you risk letting go employees with great potential?
  • What happens next?

Hidden costs will become apparent, such as:

  • Who will engage with the “orphan” clients and generate business with those?
  • How to look for new business opportunities with fewer “feet on the street”?
  • How does it impact teamwork, motivation and the company image? And above all:
  • How is this supporting your strategy?

# 2- development and trainings

Sales teams need to be sharper than ever because sales representatives must successfully address the full potential of their market segment; and it is a sales leader’s mission to enhance the potential of their teams.

Effective talent management requires considering employee development as a continuous process, not as an event or a cost that is engaged only during the good days.

#3- sales support

Sales support enhances sales effectiveness by helping sales representatives increase customer-facing time and improve overall client satisfaction. Therefore, any decision that impacts the proportion of ”sales time” in a day has a direct effect on the ability of the team to effectively develop business. Work previously done by the sales support team may then be transferred to the sales representatives.  A hidden cost of this, is a loss of focus among sales representatives if they are too busy with activities that are considered to fall outside the realm of their core responsibilities.

Don’t just wait for a rebound, commit to be more effective today!

Sales organizations need to be effective, regardless of the business climate. Decisions, or a lack of, taken these days pave the ground for business resilience.

So, take the opportunity to:

#1- Revisit your sales leader’s role: not the best salesperson of the team but an inspirational leader, with a plan, whose mission it is to enhance the individual and team’s potential!

#2- Enhance collaboration! Just because you communicate does not mean that you collaborate effectively! Be bold about teamwork. Ban the retention of information, promote the sharing of knowledge and implement a structured collaboration.

#3- Challenge your sales strategy! Address the untapped business potential (lost clients, abandoned projects), investigate new market segments and seek replicability, and challenge your current market segmentation.

#4- Redefine sales profiles! When sales targets are far from certain, your sales representatives’ hard and soft skills are the best guarantee for business resilience. Carefully define and drive the “What” and the “How”.

#5- Bring more meaning to the sales cadence! What are the learnings from the current series of video meetings? From now on make sure that each touchpoint involves clear expectations, that each attendee brings meaningful input, that documents are shared – and read – before any meeting, and that items are discussed and actions followed up,

#6- Bring value to clients! Increase customer intimacy and redefine your relationships (act as a business peer). Think together, share market insights, become an expert on your clients and their markets.

#7- Proactively share best practices and knowledge! Internally (between sales representatives and between teams) and with clients, resellers, suppliers and your ecosystem at large.

#8- Sharpen your market intelligence capabilities! What are the trends that are here to stay? How is competition behaving? What is affecting your clients?

#9- Strengthen the three basics of sales responsibilities: Retention (of existing clients), Upselling (sell new services to existing clients) and Acquisition (of new clients).

And finally,

#10- Promote innovation and creativity: challenge the status quo at all times, support the generation of new ideas and new ways, promote discussions and active input.

In conclusion

Many companies use the following motto on their websites: “people are our best assets”.

One couldn’t be more right: a sales team is composed of bright people (that’s why you hired them!), who are experts in what they do, whose potential is continuously enhanced by their sales leader.

See your sales team as an investment, for which coaching, training, and motivating is necessary at all times. Because a well-driven and well-incentivized sales team will deliver far beyond what it costs and turn market potential into concrete business.

Copyright ©

Leave a Reply

Contact Info

© 2022 Created by L’entreprise 3.0