8 principles in running a sales-led business

Moving into 2013 we’re all feeling confident for the future.  If you’re in a sales-led company, then you’ll be engrossed with the opportunities. Here’s a quick break to measure yourself against professional sales managers and see what you can do differently in 2013.

Research carried out this year (2012) with members of the UK’s Sales Performance Association gave these as the top 8 principles to running a sales business.  Let’s see how your sales-led business compares.

The 8 principles of solid sales management

  1. Recruit technical experts who can relate to the companies or clients they call upon, who understand how companies work and the report and accounts and who are intimate with their understanding of their industry. Or hire people and train them in these areas. Hey you don’t need to train them, they have Google if they’re driven enough.
  2. Hold regular sales training and techniques workshops. Hire the best sales trainers your budget can afford and don’t go for second best.
  3. Do lots of 1 to 1 coaching with your team, at least 2 to 3 days on the road with them quarterly.
  4. Follow a strict sales process or account management process, stick to it, train to it and coach it.  It doesn’t have to be long winded or stretch for years, unless you operate a very complex sale. But you must have one. Be aware that modern sales processes work alongside the customer’s buying process because they’re now in control.  With your sales process overlaid against their buying process, we can see the engagement points i.e. where you add value to their buying decision. Thus is born your sales process.
  5. Have a Sales Playbook.  As a rugby coach for under 15’s I know that every opportunity in the game of rugby goes into a playbook. It contains all the moves, drills, routines that will ensure success at any point in the game. It tells you what to do when you’re in an offensive situation under their posts, or in defensive mode. The playbook is a constant companion to the rugby coach and players alike. It holds all the wisdom, ideas, innovations that means a successful game of rugby.  Likewise you should have a playbook for each segment of your sales process, capturing the best practice that you should follow for every move.
  6. Learn how procurement works in the companies you call upon because you will encounter them more than you think.
  7. Meticulous use of Customer Relationship Management – CRM – an absolute must.  Good salespeople run their business lives through the CRM system.  It’s like your Outlook calendar, contacts and tasks on steroids and it helps you to wrap your business day around the customers you’re currently selling to. Essential.
  8. Continual recruitment even if you have no vacancies. Never cease in this area otherwise it’ll come back to bite you from behind.

This is what professional sales managers say about their sales businesses but what about you? Have you got some ideas to tighten up for 2013?