R. D. Jackson has high hopes for an economic up-tick in 2020. It is an unabashedly optimistic view, but one that’s backed by 30 years of high-tech sales experience. “I wouldn’t be in sales if I wasn’t bullish,” says the senior vice president of worldwide sales, who oversees more than 30 salespeople at a telecommunications technology company.
Still, Jackson’s bullishness is tempered with prudence. “The world has changed in the last 10 years,” he says. “From 1990 to 2000 I worked in an industry where the leading companies were growing thirty to fifty percent per year.” Now, with such growth a distant memory, he says, sales managers must motivate their sales forces by encouraging them to better serve customers.
Jackson’s is not a unique case. Many sales executives are entering 2020 with tighter purse strings and an eye toward cultivating existing relationships. “Emphasis is definitely on gaining market share,” says Robert Calvin, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and marketing at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Sales Focus Inc. clients’ who have implemented SFI’s S.O.L.D process are building successful sales teams who are focused on gaining market share. They know it takes more than hiring salespeople who are geared toward a specific customer or market. The ideal sales candidate has to be able to sell within the existing company’s culture and be comfortable with the company’s selling processes.
Having a third party like SFI building, training and managing dedicated sales teams provides a service by experts in hiring the right sales person and an impractical, non-emotional approach and validation to the company’s choices. Utilizing a sales outsourcing organization to hire the ideal sales candidates will easily pay for itself by reducing costly turnover and bringing on board strong salespeople who can get up to speed and produce revenue quicker.
Most sales manager have been given marching orders to look for new ways to keep costs down while boosting productivity. The answer is not that difficult. Cut back on marketing aids and print marketing material. Most of the time when a salesperson is phone prospecting and hears “send me literature” it just a polite way for the prospect the get the salesperson off the phone. Stuffing a large envelop with every piece of company literature to have it tossed in the circular file is very expensive. Use your literature as “leave behinds” that support and review what the salesperson presented. Another way to cut cost is reduce or eliminate direct mail campaigns. Response rate has dropped from 1 to 2% to 1 to .5%. Less than 25% of those who respond are qualified.
One key to success in 2020 is to have your sales people be your competitive edge. They are the major difference between your company and your top competitors. The best way to assure that competitive advantage is provide your sales team with “advance sales training”. Tactics and script training has very little value. What works is training that deals with buyer behaviors, psychology of selling, and better people skills.
Another key way to improve the sales effort is to reduce the amount of “no pay” activity of your sales team. Think about it, which is better, a sales person spending 2 hours preparing a report that’s only purpose is to support the sales manager at a monthly meeting or spending those two hours researching the next two companies they are going to call on.
Sales Focus Inc. is an outsourcing company that focuses strictly on sales, generating revenue for our clients, not just leads, but closing deals! We help our clients during theses difficult times to take business away from the competition. In down economic times focused companies will not only survive, but also thrive! We offer cost containment and profit enhancement solutions. Profit enhancement is a different mindset than cost cutting. Cost cutting means doing less of something; profit enhancement implies doing more of something that will boost the bottom line. We represent the concept of focused profit enhancement solutions.