During challenging times, you can expect the competition to be targeting your good customers. So it is important that you take the necessary steps to super-charge your sales team. â€śThis is the time for companies and their salespeople to re-evaluate everything that they are doing, to get rid of fat, and to take care of their key customers,â€ť says John Treace, business turnaround specialist and author of Nuts and Bolts Sales Management: How to Build a High Velocity Sales Organization (Emerald Book Co.; $19.95).
He further notes that what we are going through now is really no different than what the country was going through in the â€™70s, although it has lasted longer. â€śWhen there is an economic downturn, it forces marginal producers, those people who really arenâ€™t that good, to find another job,â€ť say Treace. â€śHigh performers will continue to work hard.â€ť
There are several strategies managers can employ without increasing the expense budget, such as making sure your sales team is well-read. Effective salespeople are constantly reading at least one good sales book a year, he says. â€śFor every good book they read they will pick up at least one good tip or concept to use for the rest of their careers.â€ť Here are five other suggested plays that arenâ€™t always obvious.
Review your sales process.
This is everything from the samples and presentation a salesperson uses to the way the company processes and delivers the end product or service. â€śThe first thing a company can do to impact its bottom line is to review the whole sales process from A-to-Z and to make sure that it is streamlined.â€ť
Relieve unnecessary paperwork.
Eliminate paperwork and tasks that donâ€™t directly contribute to a sale. â€śFor instance, at one company I ran, salespeople were required to collect past due accounts,â€ť explains Treace. â€śUpon review, I discovered that they spent 10% of their time on this task instead of selling, so I hired outside people to handle accounts receivable.â€ť The increase in sales far offset the additional cost of the three new hires, he adds.
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