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Want to sell more? You need half the salespeople

10 June, 2016

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Professional Services
London
Date of Publication: 28-11-2016
Exiting Central London based role with a mix of sales, negotiation and new business development, ...
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Date of Publication: 10 June, 2016
Thanks to the internet, it doesn’t matter how big or small your activity is, you can literally sell to the world. And size alone bears little importance in sales performance, too. It all comes down to how your sales department is structured.

Have an agile team

Too much structure will paralyze your process. Studies found that peer control corresponds to higher performances, therefore simplifying hierarchy will make single employees more effective. An agile sales team relies on the so-called “T shaped specialization”: each member sports a distinct skill set - be it in prospecting, qualifying, closing, retaining, or sales support - together with a broad view of the whole process.

 

Not everyone should outright sell

Besides the proper sales cycle, you’ll need a lot of employees fully dedicated to sales support. This “a lot” can be quantified with up to 50% of your sales department. Extensive field research has shown how letting half the team take care of operations and administrative support allows frontline sellers to spend 100% of their time focusing on actual sales - with a tangible increase in ROI.

 

Process is key

You have an agile team with clear-cut roles and a strong support staff. Your sellers are selling. How can you improve performance even more?

Establish a sales process and follow it. Digitize wherever you can. Your lead database is most likely full of duplicates and missing contacts: clean your data, and do it often. If you have more than one sales department (e.g. in different countries) make them all stick to a standard operating procedure.

All these strategies will cut planning costs and make your support staff three or four times as effective.

 

Let there be managers - just, not too many

Horizontal hierarchy calls for less management levels: doesn’t mean that you won’t need sales managers at all. What you need is a fitting number of them.

Analysis shows that an effective sales manager should be in charge of just around 8 people. Place more team members under the same person and performance will sink. Add more managers and your costs will exceed the advantages.

 

You may need fresh hires to support the renewal of your sales culture. And yet what you need more is to rethink your sales framework, possibly mentoring the brightest employees into key positions.

A potentially high-performing sales team may already be in your hands.

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