With any team operating in the business world, it is important that all its members understand their responsibilities and how they can work effectively together. A sales team, given their front line status and high visibility, need to work constantly at communicating with one another while all pulling in the same direction to achieve set targets.
The structure of a sales team depends, to a great extent, on the number of people in the sales force and the complexity of the products and services being sold. In a small business with few sales employees, it is essential not to draw too many boundaries, as it is vital all team members work cross-functionally to deliver results. However, in a larger setup it is important that structural lines are clearly drawn so efforts are not duplicated, hence wasting time that could be focused on the customer and generating sales instead.
A properly structured sales function will be run effectively and efficiently as well as ensuring costs are kept to a minimum while operating under a streamlined sales process. Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has shown that by providing teams with structure and shape, a business can get the best from its employees, as they know what is expected of them.
Prospecting for leads is the bedrock of any sales structure and staff operating in a telesales or business development role will spend a lot of time and energy speaking to customers to try to kickstart the sales process. Traditionally the lowest paid members of a sales team but with good bonus potential, people doing this job need to be resilient and patient. Building contacts can take time, but it is essential to do so in order to build a pipeline of future business.
The next logical step up the sales hierarchy is the pre-sales role. This particular job is one of the most important of a sales function because, without it, potential customers are not going to be able to understand the full range of products or services on offer and their capabilities. Performing this job demands a full understanding of what is on offer as well as ensuring that what customers are buying is right for their needs.
Once the pre-sales job holder has gone through the detail of the proposed purchase with the customer, responsibility for the client passes to the account management people. They will prepare sales contracts and negotiate some of the finer points such as delivery dates and compensation limits should something go wrong further down the line. Often a specific individual will be assigned to a customer at this stage to ensure service levels are maintained and all relevant issues dealt with during what is a critical time in the business relationship.
At this stage the sales manager or director may become involved, depending on the nature of the business. If a new customer that has been signed up promises good future business potential, the appearance of such a senior team member will add credibility to the organisation in the eyes of the consumer. Image is everything in the sales arena and customers who are buying a product or service for the first time may need confirmation that what they have signed up to is tangible and represents value for money.
The role of a senior sales team member is very much about driving the business forward through effective implementation of the sales strategy and development of the sales team. This may involve such issues as ensuring good IT support is in place in order to produce accurate management information or mentoring a sales team member who may be new to their job.
One of the most difficult jobs in a sales structure is that of after sales care. Organisations passionate about customer service believe that investing in such an area ensures clients needs are catered for and establishes a point of contact should they need to complain or have questions answered. Extensive research undertaken by the Institute of Marketing has shown that satisfied customers repeat their buying experience, going back to companies that look after its customers and their interests.
Whether organisations are selling one-off products or are aiming for repeat business, investing time at an early stage in putting a proper sales structure in place will pay dividends for a long time to come.
Picture: Pursuing prospects: telesales is often the bedrock of any sales structure.
This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.