However, face-to-face salespeople are very expensive. In the US, the amount invested in sales forces was 5 times the amount spent on all media advertising in 2012 and 20 times the amount spent on all marketing & advertising in 2013. Proportionally, the figures are the same in the UK.
According to Frank V Cespedes’ book, Aligning Strategy & Sales, the most expensive part of strategy implementation is aligning sales with a company’s goals. These goals must include the value the company brings to its customers (customer value) and the value they expect to get from their customers (financial value).
Therefore salespeople must have the ability to customise a value proposition by marshalling the resources of their employers. A value proposition is always at the core of a successful strategy. Winning in business is achieved by delivering above average value to customers and a return to investors.
A company’s pay plan needs to motivate a sales force to achieve the company’s goals. But salespeople’s pay structures need to be aligned with their employer’s financial results. After all, a sale is only successful when a customer’s money appears in a supplying company’s bank account.
Too many companies, who need face-to-face salespeople, regard them as a cost rather than a good investment. The message is that if a company needs face-to-face salespeople, they need to invest in well trained and regularly coached personnel. Indeed, regular coaching of mid-level salespeople can deliver a 20% improvement in sales. Yet over a third of companies don’t even train their salespeople, let alone coach them.
Are face to face salespeople worth it or should companies today find sales by other means?