03 August 2006

Working with decentralised sales teams

The sales process has to be designed meet your business requirements, not imported and force fitted from what worked for you or another company some time ago. One of the current trends in the SME sector is the adoption of virtual sales teams. This is easy to get wrong, so here are a few tips:
  • A decentralised sales team reduces the direct costs of the sales operation, but it simultaneously creates barriers between members of the team. Allow for the problems that this will create by working extra hard at making a team from the loose-knit decentralised individuals. Encourage sharing of best practice
  • To make a virtual sales team effective, sales management must manage the decentralized team more, not less. An effective process will require increased reporting on cold calls made, appointments set, and proposals submitted. Decentralised teams are about managing by metrics
  • Make sure that decentralised staff use a dedicated business line for all outgoing calls so that it is relatively simple to measure outbound calls from the bills
  • Once you have set up these measures, learn to trust your sales team
For mature, experienced salespeople, decentralised sales offices will enhance their productivity and create a positive work experience which improves their ratios. Unfortunately, immature employees will find the decentralised structure a great opportunity to become distracted and unproductive - this takes care and perhaps mentoring by more senior members of the team

2 Comments:

Blogger Dennis Howlett said...

What's wrong with using a modest SFA solution. Shortcuts a lot of what you're describing without inhibiting the sales guys. The sooner sales get into the process, the easier it becomes.

11:37 am  
Blogger John Diffenthal said...

Dennis

The truth?

Salespeople don't like SFA much and hate CRM which was designed by almost everyone except salespeople. SFA and CRM suppliers tell us repeatedly that it will be alright as soon as the sales teams learn to live with them. It hasn't happened yet, and it isn't likely to happen any time soon.

11:44 am  

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