I just wanted to see how much traffic this title would generate.
The original article is below. It deals with developing your sales team. It's good stuff but very dry and not appropriate for IB. I am now using the article to investigate self-referential articles on IB. Thanks again for visiting. Also, any revenue will go to charity.
Part II - Equipping the Inside Sales Team
A competent, aggressive sales team has now been built. With the right manager and team in place, the next phase, equipping your team, can begin. It will focus on tools, training and the replenishment of your rapidly rising sales stars.
Tools and Resources
Many companies embrace a trail by fire attitude. This process may work on a small scale where few resources are dedicated to recruiting, hiring and training exceptional candidates. In a company truly focused on developing an excellent sales force, this approach is typically counterproductive.
Most company sales philosophies depend on the sales team being extremely knowledgeable about the product or service that they are selling. Naturally, this is a good thing, however, most companies overlook the fact that sales training should be about selling and not about product knowledge. The focus of a good sales training program is methodology. It asks the salient questions, “Who buys a product? Why do they buy it?” and most importantly, “How do I get them to buy it from me?”
The Pain/Gain Hypothesis
The next stage of inside sales training involves the identification of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and the methods you will use to counter and exploit them. It is imperative that you, as sales manager, identify your specific competitors, their sales strategy and your tactics for defeating that strategy.
Once you have formulated a basic plan for dealing with the competition, it is time to deal with the psychology of the customer. Your customer arrives with a need or, as some psychologists would say, a pain. This pain is really just a desire your company’s product or service. Your sales team must exploit that momentary pain and convince the customer to relieve it by purchasing your product.
Automated Tracking of Metrics
A good sales manager spends as little time as possible in his office doing paperwork. Optimal results are obtained by listening to sales calls, mentoring new recruits and coaching the established veterans. To this end, investment in a software tool that will automate the tracking and reporting of key metrics is essential. This software should automatically update, track and produce reports on all aspects of sales and customer interactions.
In addition, a good CRM package will relieve the sales manager and his team from the tedious process of manually recording customer information. Instead, information is instantaneously updated from any workstation. Additionally, at the touch of a keystroke or the input of a phone number, all the most current information about a customer can be displayed on a screen by any other team member.
Scripts & Other Preformatted Content
The process of successful selling is complicated and full of subtleties. The steady, personable flow of conversation between the customer and your salesperson is integral to success. Hesitations in answering pertinent questions by your staff prompt hesitations at key decision points by the customer.
To minimize these hesitations, a versatile set of scripts should be written to address as many contingencies as possible. Simple cold calling scripts are a great place to start. Subsequent ones should deal with handling objections, calling referrals and making follow up calls. Additionally, with repeated use, a well written sales script will endow your sales team with salient answers to almost every possible objection. Furthermore, these seamless responses will subconsciously communicate confidence to your client and ensure a higher rate of positive buying decisions.
Similarly, your sales team should not be reinventing the wheel as they develop their online personas. Provide them with a deep, well rounded variety of email responses for every eventuality. This email package should, at a minimum, contain templates for prospecting, follow up and clarifying emails. Each template, though addressing a different specific point, should be crafted to deliver the same overall message of the integrity, trustworthiness and value of the company.
Lastly, a solid library of information that provides the fundamentals and the most esoteric details about the company’s products or services is necessary. This information should be readily available as PDF’s or in handy hard copy guides.
Recruiting, Hiring & the First Days
Now that you have built a strong and committed core inside sales team, the time has come to expand. Your focus should be on finding recruits who are naturally committed to the sales process. You can comprehensively teach a product line to someone in 90 days, but you can never impart that inborn eagerness to sell.
When hiring, look for the key signs that a person is driven to succeed. Are they competitive and goal oriented? Do they have a plan for the rest of the career in your particular industry? These are signs that they are committed and not just place holding until something better comes along.
When building a team, it does not hurt to hire inexperienced but motivated people. They are cheaper, more receptive to instruction and have no bad habits that need to be unlearned. Identify the best, invest in their success and you will see results beyond any metric you can name.
By the same token, do not be afraid to let people go. Hire far more trainees than you need. Some will drift away, some will need to be gently pushed and others will have to be forcibly removed. In any case, your initial training team will slowly diminish. Use the proven metrics to identify the least likely to succeed and show them the door.
Training starts on day one. The culture that you would like to see in the future should be evident from the moment they walk through the door. The entire process from interviewing through the process until they start should reinforce that this team is about selling, selling, selling.
Finding talent involves the usual tools such as online recruiting through Monster and HotJobs, offering paid internships at colleges and networking with professors at local and business colleges. Don’t forget to utilize the talent on hand. your successful candidates likely know more people like themselves who would thrive in your organization. Offer them recruitment incentives to bring their friends and acquaintances in for an interview.
The Short Version
For those of you A-types who skipped to the end, here is the highly condensed version, although, if you find it in the least helpful, we recommend a full reading of both articles.
The Right Culture
The entire organization must be focused on feeding the ales machine. This entails exceptional customer service and product delivery combined with the superior identification and capture of potential clients.
The Right Metrics/Expectations
The measurement of quality, leading metrics that allow for proactive resolutions to potential problems are essential in a 21st century sales organization.
The Right Feedback
Setting goals and expectation is not enough. An exceptional sales manager delivers, on a daily basis, the status of each team member’s metrics. This process of timely communication ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to performance.
The Right Investment in Tools And Resources
Hesitation can kill a deal. Preformatted sales templates and scripts are essential for new hires and veterans alike. In addition, they reinforce the company image at every opportunity.
The Right Hiring and Recruiting Program
There is nothing more experience than a bad hiring choice. Resources, time and energy are wasted on an employee who won’t last 90 days. Be sure that your HR staff is investing quality time and energy in recruiting and hiring the best talent.
FYI: If you missed the first part of the series please check it out here.