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Great Sales Forces Don't Just Happen

May 23, 2016
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

It's not hard to believe that some great sales reps are just born that way. Some basic personality traits can be huge advantages in the sales arena, like being extroverted, particularly charismatic, or just plain attractive. A report from the Harvard Business Review, however, notes that there's a lot more than just being born a certain way that makes sales forces great, as explained by the sheer size of the industry designed to support better sales.

The Harvard Business Review report noted that the United States alone spends over $20 billion a year to train sales reps in specific areas. Selling skills, territory management, product operations and more all go into improving sales reps, and that takes money to do properly. Though admittedly, there are some certain traits that make for better sales reps than others—the previously noted ones are just starting points; curiosity, drive and empathy are also on the list—having a collection of great sales reps is just a start, not an end.

While great sales reps are a great start, these reps need to all be on the same page. A dozen great sales reps with a dozen great sales pitches won't do so well in the field if everyone starts comparing notes and wondering why the company is telling potential sales targets a dozen different stories. Getting all those reps in line and pulling together in the same direction makes for a great sales force. That means concentrating on such key factors as overall strategy, having an effective organizational structure, developing talent based on needs on the ground, and overall execution of developed goals.

Basically, it's important to note that great sales people don't get the job done in a vacuum. Great sales people need proper sales support, proper sales management, the right infrastructure and a host of other tools to get the job done properly. Meanwhile, the rest of the business needs to make the sales reps' jobs all the better; quality products need to be offered, marketing promises need to be made, the call center for after-sales service needs to be top-notch, the bills need to go out on time and get properly recorded, and so on. If any of these things falter, now the sales rep has to overcome a whole new objection to get to a sale. Without these objections, the sales rep can sell better, faster, and more.

Good sales reps are the first step toward sales dominance. Without good sales reps, a great sales organization will be at least hamstrung if not failing outright. Good sales reps alone aren't enough either; there will be too many objections to overcome if the organization falters. The two sides of the coin work together to produce the best results, and good sales reps backed up by a good organization make for the best sales environment of all.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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