By Michael Lang
Many people believe that their business is different because people don't know that they need what they are selling.
Their business is different - a little - from most others, but certainly not unique by any definition.
Some companies sell products and services to a saturated market - businesses and consumers that already buy "stuff" like that and the only element a client or prospect must determine is which company they will buy from this time.
So, it’s about to which brand, product/service version, company or salesperson that will receive the business.
There are also products and services that aren't automatically purchased, with any regularity or certainty, by anyone. Budgets may not exist, they don't appear as line items, and it's entirely possible that nobody has ever given it a thought. In this case, it's not "Who do we buy from?” it's "Do we buy?" Which is an entirely different kind of sale.
So, when a company who sells something that people do not know they need, generally a sales crusader or something we call an evangeliser is required.
One of the issues with companies at this stage of their product/service release is that very frequently they are not set-up in such a way that will support the hiring of evangeliser salespeople. Many companies do not have sales managers, leaving the Managing Directors, CEO's and owners serving in that role on-demand.
New salespeople require knowledge, on-boarding, training, coaching, direction, training, coaching, support, training, coaching, accountability and attention. (I know that there are three instances of training and coaching.) When sales management is provided only as required, new salespeople will take three times longer to ramp-up (now do you understand the importance of the three instances of coaching and training?) If they even survive that long.
Two things are required
Proper sales management and reliable criteria driven recruitment process. There should be many gates that the successful candidate goes through before they secure your vacancy. All too often we hear an MD/CEO say – "I know this guy he is a great sales guy, he delivers results time and time again for his current company."
In his current position, does he have a product already established, accounts already buying, a brand already recognised? Placing him in your company does not mean he will succeed. Leaving you, or the CEO/MD telling a story of when you hired what they thought was a sales gun.
Stay unemotional when selecting the right sales person, use selection tools and have others involved in the selection process. Get involved in the on-boarding and do not cut corners.
The more work you put in up front, the better the results will be down the track. Yes, you have other things to do in the company, if you do not focus on proper on-boarding and managing the salesperson you WILL fail!