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Changes to the way a modern sales office works mean that staffing your sales office is even more demanding than it used to be. How can you cover all the bases with a small team? And does it matter - after all, sales is still sales! Read on, and and plan to solve today's sales staffing challenges.
Sales Office Functions
Bigger companies have a sales department - SMEs have a sales office. Last month we examined the functions needed in a modern sales office. Here's the list. You need:
That's a lot of very demanding work for your limited sales staff, and needs a very diverse mix of skills. How will you get that skill within your staffing plan and budget?
Traps For Young Players
There are two deeply-rooted ideas that trap you.
First - "sales training" that isn't. Suppliers who want to train your staff about their latest products. This product training is indispensable. Your staff really do need to know the products they sell. While this knowledge helps them sell - it it isn't sales training.
Real sales training helps your staff answer questions, remove barriers to purchase, help customers choose the right item, help them overcome buyer resistance, and make your customer feel very pleased after the purchase. That kind of training is good sales training.
Second - is a fear of not understanding the web. This leads to just about everyone saying "We have a staffer who is good at Facebook, and they can look after our social media"
That approach does not work. Full stop! Private, personal social media posts are markedly different from a business post. A business post needs to have a commercial point to it. It must lead to engagement, making potential buyers respond to it by clicking through to your website to leave a lead, perhaps register for the special offer, phone the store, or something like that.
Gaps Show Up Badly
You've published a social post explaining a great new offer. That same offer must appear on your website.
That's where your prospective buyer can see much more detail than a social post can carry. Don't show this latest offer on the website, and it shows you've done half a job. That's not very impressive, is it?
It looks like you've forgotten, or you're desperate - and in any case, you haven't been able to do your job properly.
Get over these traps for the unaware, and your sales office can begin to blossom.
Planning Your Sales Team
What a challenge! Putting together the rostering needs for weekends, late night shopping, seasonal factors, and including the right gender balance, makes staffing the sales office a real nightmare.
You also need someone with merchandising and visual merchandising skills to make the shop, showroom, or sales office look downright exciting - and generate great promotions.
Those promotions need translating into main media advertising and on-line activity. So you need advertising savvy and on-line savvy staff members who can easily deal with your social presence, adjust and update your web site, punch out bulk emails and bulk SMS messages, and to get the message on main media too!
Putting together all those skills in a small team that is earning industry-compatible wages is almost too much of a challenge to meet. Nevertheless, getting it done is vital for your long term success.
Your Sales Manager and Team Members
Your sales office needs a sales manager to keep all the sales staff focussed on meeting the sales budget and making the critical level of gross profit. Then you need the other skills too.
Sales Manager and Team
If you can find a sales manager who is good at motivating people and keeping them focussed on their sales and profit targets, you have a gem. Make sure you look after that one, and keep them!
Should that person also have the mind of a merchandiser, then creating your promotions and merchandising programs to generate extra sales will be quite straightforward. That is not often achieved, so you need a 'merchandising minded' person on your team. Now you can see your next key recruitment goal.
The merchandising person thinks from inside the value offer to your customers. That's what makes them so valuable. It also means that they are often very good at putting the offer in a way that captures the buyer's attention.
It is this ability to see things 'from inside the buyer's head' that makes such people good at creating lines that work really well in advertising. Staff like this can brief your advertising designer to translate your offers into advertising in both main media and on-line channels.
Writing and Publication
Your advertising, whether it's main media or on-line, is more than a good concept or a good line. It has to have well written content, and that might mean just a handful of very carefully selected words, or a detailed, cross-platform email.
If it's going to be a SMS message, it has to have just 306 or fewer characters,and that takes real writing skill. For a website change it needs text, graphics, and images, all skills that can be learned. To publish it, you will generally need a content management system on your website. These are easy to use, but do need some training. For main media, the production is usually done by the media outlet for you.
Publication needs to be according to a plan, so that you have a regular contact with your buyers and regular customers. Who will write the plan, and keep it on track? Here is where your sales manager can run the team like a team, and leverage all the skills your crew possess.
Putting It Together
Every situation is different, and every sales office has its own mix of strengths, weaknesses and skills. Your sales office solution is yours, and yours alone.
Remember that you can teach skills, but you can't teach attitude or ability. Choose the staff who can pick up the necessary skills, and make sure those skills get taught.
Have at least one staff member with imagination, and the ability to get inside a customer's head, and use them to set the imaginative pace on your promos.
Have someone on staff who can bulk email, send bulk SMS messages, do skilful business social posts, and content manage your website.
And a sales manager who can make your sales team into a real team!
We can help you explore the challenges you face, and the opportunities they represent.
Let's discuss it on a phone call. After that, you can just hang up - if that's what you'd like to do. NSA!
Phone us (see the numbers below) or use the contact form here to get help. Absolutely obligation free.
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Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.