How Effective is Your Sales Team?

As a Recruiter who specializes in the Security Industry, one observation I’ve made is that a large portion of our customer base has a significant sales staff to promote and sell their products or services. In difficult economic times, like we have been recently, these same organizations typically turn to the sales department to increase revenues. If an organization did not utilize a sales staff, some firms even create a sales team when they previously haven’t had one.

In either case, I think there are some very important questions you need to ask yourself to assess the effectiveness of your sales team. Some of these questions can even be applied to the security department within your company.

1.) Have a clear and precise answer to the question of why your customer should buy from you.

Some would call this the value proposition – elemental, yes. However, many times organizations and sales people grapple to present the basic idea of a value proposition in a compelling fashion. In some cases, this is the fault of the company leadership for failing to identify it. Knowing who you are within an organization is a key to future success. Make sure you have solid story that is easily told. If you already have a value proposition, re-examine it now.

The landscape has changed within the past two years, not just for your organization, but also for your potential customers. What they need now is different from what they needed even a year ago. Along with this, your value proposition may need to be tweaked.

Within your security department, you need to be able to articulate what the value proposition is that you contribute to your organization. It serves as a great way to assist in justifying expenditures, and can assist with your overall job security.

2.) Have a plan in place to measure the effectiveness of your sales (or security department) effort.

Do you have a plan already? If so, what are the elements? Have you compared them to industry standards? Are your expectations realistic? Be careful not to set yourself up for failure.

3.) Take advantage of all the tools at your disposal.

I know many are tired of hearing about social media; however, its impact on us is undeniable. Are you using a combination of these tools? All though some of these sites do have a fee, many are free and can drive traffic and increase awareness to your customer base. Learn about them – because they aren’t going away. Experiment and take educated risks.

4.) Have the right people with the right skill sets on your team.

Have you established the criteria you will use to identify and select the sales staff or are you playing it by gut feel? What works for you–hunters, farmers, telemarketers, a national sales force or a combination?

5.) Have a compensation plan that is going to inspire your sales team to produce the results you want.

Is there an appropriate level of shared risk? All levels of the organization should be asking this question – CEO’S, sales management, operational team members, and sales people. Make sure you are ahead of the curve. Sales people are motivated financially in almost every case – yes, it’s a stereo type, but for good reason. If you want stellar performance from your business development team, make sure they are able to be financially rewarded for their successes, and have clear goals so they can be held accountable.

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