Too many business leaders spend too much time thinking product, not sales – and certainly not sales processes and support. Ask them what they are doing to grow their bottom line and they’ll tell you they hired a few reps and cut them loose in the field. After all, “the product just sells itself, right?”
If it does happen that you have the one in a million product that “sells itself,” what about all those potential customers nobody ever got around to calling on? And when your competitors jump on the band wagon, then what?
If you want to reach your maximum potential, if you want your salespeople to produce consistent and sustainable results you have to create the infrastructure to support them. Period.
A good sales infrastructure is more than a territory management plan. It is more than a CRM. To be comprehensive and effective, a good sales infrastructure is built layer by layer, brick by brick.
In this case, however, the infrastructure is not bricks and mortar it’s the people, the tools, the processes and the system that build the foundation for sustainable business growth.
- Management – Strong leadership and management with a vested interest in the success of each individual team member, a good grasp of the systems and processes needed to succeed and a passion for ongoing improvement is the mortar that binds all the rest of the pieces together.
- Sales support – An effective full time CRM administrator ensures that leads don’t fall throughthe cracks.
- Marketing support – An efficient and effective lead generation marketing team is necessary to produce viable warm leads for your reps to follow up on.
- Product support – Particularly in a technical environment – good product support, good product expertise with customer facing experts is essential.
- A good contact relationship management system
- A solid email marketing platform
- Compelling direct mail marketing campaigns
- An effective marketing website presence
- A compensation system that yields the results you are after
- A defined method of hiring and training top performers
- Ongoing training and education
- Execution of a strategic marketing plan
- An effective lead gen system
- Systematic list targeting for direct mail and email campaigns
- An effective follow up and lead nurturing system
- A targeted conference or trade show program
- A scorecard system to measure individual and company performance
- Weekly, monthly and quarterly review sessions
- Regular knowledge transfer
When the right people use the right tools and follow the strategically defined processes, you have a system that will likely produce positive results. Adhering to a structured system makes it possible to disseminate information quickly, especially in an ever changing market. When it is wrong, the processes are in place to know it is wrong. You can step back, reevaluate and change direction midstream if need be or keep moving forward with a few minor tweaks if it becomes apparent that what you are doing is working.