Today we will look at “salespeople,” the fourth of five dimensions of a successful sales organisation.
Is this what your ideal sales force looks like?
Based on the research conducted by Zoltners et al, most sales managers claim the following about successful salespeople:
- Ultimately it our salespeople who make us successful
- Our salespeople know our products, customers and competitors really well
- Our people have the right values, attitudes and capabilities
- They are constantly learning and developing new skills
- They adapt as new selling processes emerge
- The turnover of high performers is very low
Successful sales organisations are always seeking to employ competent, motivated salespeople and to cultivate a “success” culture. But what is a success culture? And success in whose eyes?
Early in my career as a business development consultant I worked with a firm in the fast moving consumer goods industry where their sales force was characterised by its diversity. Few were college graduates, most had completed high school and others came up through the ranks from the level of store (visual) merchandisers. Naturally their measures of success were vastly different. Income was mostly commissioned-based, and while some Reps needed to drive high priced SUVs and live in up-scale homes, some had only modest desires and were motivated to produce far less. While they all considered themselves successful, in the eyes of some merchants, Reps with lower desires were seen as lazy, unambitious and presenting a poor image of their company.
The new sales manager
Not happy with financial out-turn, the company decided to change its brand footprint with higher quality products, premium pricing and personnel differentiation. Not surprisingly the company hired a new sales manager whose mandate was to create a world-class sales force that would portray the new brand strategy. Can you imagine what was his strategy for getting his entire salesforce singing from the same hymnbook, the same song, and all in tune?
Herman D. Alvaranga is president of the Caribbean School of Sales Management. Shrewd managers call him instead of looking outside the region for world-class sales and marketing consulting and sales force transformation.