Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sales Management How To Define Your Companys Sales Job Part 2

Writen by Alan Rigg

Here are seven additional factors to consider as you define the parameters that produce success in your company's sales job. If you are a salesperson, you can also benefit from considering these questions, as they can help you identify target prospects and further refine your sales approach.

9. Administration

  • Which sales job functions require attention to detail? (Examples include making accurate forecasts, providing timely updates to the corporate CRM system, analyzing customer records to determine sales strategies, and ensuring regulatory compliance.)
Some companies have support personnel that perform administrative tasks on their salespeople's behalf. Other companies expect their salespeople to deal with a certain amount of administration. If a tolerance for process, detail and administration is necessary for success in your company's sales job, some amount of Tolerance for Administration is desirable in your salespeople.

10. Communication

  • How important are verbal and written communication skills to sales success in your company?

  • Are your salespeople required to make presentations?

  • Are they required to compose letters or proposals?
Sales roles that rely heavily on high quality verbal and written communications require salespeople that have healthy doses of the attributes Communication Skills and Reasoning Ability.

11. Pre-Sales Support

  • What support resources are available to help your salespeople manage specific steps of the sales cycle?

  • How effective must your salespeople be when managing these resources?
The availability of support resources has a significant impact on the attributes required for sales success. If your salespeople have access to quality internal (employed by your company) or external (employed by suppliers or partners) technical resources, they don't need to invest a lot of time learning technical details. This frees them to focus more time and energy on prospecting and opportunity qualification. By the same token, if your company employs technical writers who can assist salespeople with large proposals and bid responses, there may be less need for your salespeople to have strong Communication Skills.

12. Post-Sales Support

  • Are your salespeople expected to provide technical or operational support to customers, or do other personnel provide this support?
If your salespeople are required to deliver post-sales support, it would be desirable for them to have a lower Sales Drive, be less Competitive, and have a higher Service Drive.

13. Training

  • What kinds of training does your company provide to salespeople?

  • How much training does your company provide?
Companies that provide a lot of training may have the luxury of being able to hire inexperienced sales candidates and "train them up from scratch". This is extremely valuable in markets where highly qualified sales candidates are scarce and/or prohibitively expensive. However, if your company is going to employ this approach, you should seek candidates with strong Learning Rates.

14. Sales Manager's Style

  • What are your sales managers' styles?

  • Do they lean in the direction of being Field Generals (who prefer selling to coaching) or Administrators (who excel at mentoring and administrative duties)?
The desired levels of the attributes Sales Drive, Service Drive, Assertiveness, Competitiveness, Independence and Tolerance for Administration will differ based upon each sales manager's style.

15. Career Path

  • What is the career path for your sales position?

    • From small ticket item sales to big ticket item sales?

    • From sales to management?
If your sales team is a source of candidates for other positions in your company, you may want to consider whether your salespeople and sales candidates have the attributes required to be successful in those other positions. Why? Because the attributes required to succeed in those other positions may not be the same as the attributes required for sales success!

Consider this example: Most small ticket item sales cycles are shorter than big ticket item sales cycles. Per Question #7, the desired amount of Sales Drive differs based upon the frequency of opportunities for presentation and persuasion. A successful salesperson in small ticket item sales is likely to have a strong Sales Drive. Will they become frustrated by the reduction in opportunities to present and persuade that could result from a "promotion" to big ticket item sales?

Similarly, the attributes required to be an effective manager are often quite different from the attributes required to be an effective salesperson. Success in management can require more attention to detail and the willingness to delegate and mentor. These requirements impact the target ranges for the attributes of Sales Drive, Service Drive, Assertiveness, Competitiveness, Independence and Tolerance for Administration.

If you keep the fifteen questions discussed in this two-part article in mind, you will be able to more accurately define the parameters that will lead to success in YOUR company's sales job(s).

Copyright 2005 -- Alan Rigg

Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. His company, 80/20 Sales Performance, helps business owners, executives, and managers DOUBLE sales by implementing The Right Formula™ for building top-performing sales teams. For more information and more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit

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