What Do You Actually Need from your Sales Force?

By Rick Roman, Director of Association Management, Caliper Corp. Caliper consults with executives on hiring, employee development, team building, executive coaching succession planning and organizational performance. Roman facilitated an Interactive Roundtable Discussion Group at the 2017 TMSA Logistics Marketing & Sales Conference, "Effective Sales to Improve Your Performance." This is the second installment of a three-part series that outlines his primary observations from these discussion groups.

The first article in this series discussed the increasing complexity of the business environment and the corresponding impact that change has had on the sales field. We have seen three separate job models emerge in response to changing expectations between vendors and customers. This second article will take a deeper look at one of those models, New Business Development, and how a company’s unique competitive position affects which model is right for them.

Competitive position simply refers to how your organization competes in the marketplace – what is your strategy for delivering value to your clients? Some companies compete based on price, others on customer intimacy, still others on innovation.

In order to compete effectively on price, your sales process needs to be efficient and reliable. Organizations that successfully execute a strategy based on this competitive position tend to have high levels of operational efficiency, enabling them to compete with smaller profit margins.

The sales process in this type of organization is often based on volume, leading to a more transactional approach: contact prospects, present the features and benefits of the solution, attempt a close, and move on to the next call. This type of sale is faster-paced, and success is often based on maximizing the number of opportunities through cold-calling or networking activities. The New Business Development job model, most similar to the traditional “hunter” role, really shines in this arena.

Let’s look at the most critical drivers of success in the model:

  • Influence and Persuasion
  • Achievement Motivation and Perseverance
  • Composure and Resiliency

People in a New Business Development type of role must be driven by gaining agreement, and they need to contend  with a strong degree of rejection to persevere over the long term.

It’s important to note that an organization may be competing in several different segments of the market, and different models might be applicable to each segment. Perhaps one solution is best suited to a New Business Development sales professional, and others for a Consultative or Strategic Sales model. That’s why it’s crucial for companies to conduct honest self-assessments and move forward based on what they actually need, rather than what they think they need.

The third part of this series will look at the Consultative Sales and Strategic Sales models and show how they align with a competitive position to drive success in different types of sales. 

Review the other two parts of this series:
Part 1: What is the Best Sales Model for Your Company?
Part 3: Consultative and Strategic Selling

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