Divide the sales function to multiply profitable income.
If your business is growing, and you have more than one salesperson, the sooner you can specialise your salespeople the more profitable your business is likely to be.
Good “lead generators” and good “business closers” aren’t always found in the same salesperson. Sometimes good face-to-face salespeople are less than enthusiastic about prospecting but better at closing. An ideal solution is to divide the sales function into four responsibilities.
The first two can be referred to as Inside Salespeople. They consist of a Lead Generation Executive (LGE) and an Enquiry Response Executive (ERE).
The Lead Generation Executives generate new leads by prospecting – mainly emailing and telephoning organisations targeted by marketing. When the LGE has “qualified” a lead, i.e. discovered there are needs and a willingness to meet face-to-face, the LGE will hand the lead over to a Sales Executive (SE).
A LGE’s salary and commission structure needs to be very similar to SE’s. This is because an LGE’s job is such a demanding and important one.
The Enquiry Response Executive (ERE) deals with inbound enquires only. These will come from both inbound and outbound efforts made by the marketing department. Such leads need qualifying over the telephone to confirm genuine interest. Once qualified, these leads are handed over to an SE.
The second two sales functions can be referred to as Outside Salespeople, as both are customer facing. They consist of a Sales Executive (SE) and a Customer Executive (CE) also sometimes called a Key Account Manager (KAM).
Sales Executives (SEs) are sales “hunters” who are concerned with questioning prospective customers and listening carefully to their replies. Their other functions include proposal presentations and closing, or winning new customer revenue.
If the LGE is good at their job, the SE will have enough qualified leads to follow up. If not, the SE may have to do some of their own prospecting and lead generation, so they certainly need to know how to do it.
Finally, the Customer Executive (CE) or Key Account Manager (KAM) is a “farmer” of existing customers. Their role is twofold –
- To ensure their customers have all the support and information they need.
- To expand or win extra revenue at every opportunity – this means some “hunting” skills are necessary, similar to those of an SE.
It’s essential that the activities of all four sales disciplines are recorded on a dashboard, either on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or at least on a spreadsheet. Entries on the dashboard should include the number of –
- Outbound and inbound leads.
- Qualified leads handed to the Sales Executives.
- Face-to-face prospect meetings.
- Proposals requested.
- Proposals presented.
- Sales successfully closed.
- Pounds Sterling each sale is worth.
- Months and years each customer stays.
- Pounds Sterling each customer is enlarged.
How specialised is your sales team?