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Opinion: Successful Sales Come From Multidepartment Support

March 23, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Sales people are often the recipients of a lot of blame. Missed the sales targets? Blame the sales people. Customers having trouble with purchases? Blame the sales people. Marketing misses the goal of a new campaign? Blame the sales people. While sales professionals are under a lot of stress and no doubt make regular mistakes, the sales team is only as good as their training and direction by the sales manager, and what the measure of their success is. The responsibility for setting our people up to succeed rests largely on sales management, but there are other departments and individuals who bear some responsibility as well.

In a recent article for Business2Community, Dave Brock, President and CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE, argues that it’s up to the entire organization to help sales people succeed.

“Marketing needs to provide meaningful, relevant programs; product management needs to equip the organization to understand the problems our products are the best in the world at solving, and who has those problems,” he wrote. “Finance, legal, customer service, and the rest of the organization have to make it easy and desirable for customers to do business. Without all of these – or at least a sufficient number, working correctly, we set sales people up for failure.”

Individual sales professionals, of course, should spend all or most of their time selling. For this reason, it’s up to the sales manager to ensure all tools, communications, knowledge bases and sales enablement tools are optimized for sales success.

“Sales management needs to make sure they have the right people, the right systems, tools, processes, metrics,” wrote Brock. “Sales managers need to be deeply involved with their people helping them succeed and grow. Additionally, sales management must protect their people from bad marketing programs. We know customers don’t want product pitches, yet why do marketing and product management still provide programs around product pitches? Sales management must send them back to do their homework/jobs.”

While it’s certainly within the purview of individual sales people to ensure they know their customers and prospects before they pick up the phone, what kinds of resources are available for them to do this? Is the organization paying for them to have premium social media accounts that help them understand customers’ needs? Is the IT department maintaining knowledge bases so they are updated and easy to use? Are there enough mobile resources – a great mobility strategy, for starters – so sales people can remain connected from anywhere? Are marketing materials up to date, or are the case studies three years old? Is product management in regular communication with the sales team?

No matter how much effort the sales team is putting into the sales process, if they are misunderstanding customer needs and wants, or making the wrong offers, or not backing up their sales process with valuable information, everyone loses and a great deal of time and effort are wasted.

“Imagine what happens, when we start doing fewer things, but doing them more thoughtfully. Imagine the results that could be produced if we really equipped our people to be successful,” wrote Brock.