Your Key Sales/Account Manager quits! What next?

An organization’s sales competency, often distinguishes a fast growing company from a mediocre one. Good sales personnel are not easy to find in the job market, the average sales person keeps job hoping every 2 years struggling with his targets. The good ones are seldom found looking for jobs as they are the stars of their companies and are well taken care of. However, the former make up for 80% of the sales force and would certainly be a part of all sales teams.

Issues organizations face

  • Small organizations end up at square one each time a new sales person quits and a new person hired.
  • The relationship building process then needs to restart with each existing account, which does not go well with the customer.
  • Moreover, all potential new accounts are lost as there are no records of these prospect customers with the organization.
  • Even if they exist, they could hardly be put to use as the information available is mostly incomplete.

How does a growing organization handle these issues?
The way that this works at present is that the company owner himself gets hands-on with the sales team and builds a relationship with the prospects. This is possible to an extent if the company is dealing in a niche segment, however in most cases it impacts productivity, quality and growth as the owner is not able to focus on other equally important areas that he should be focusing on.

By following light weight simple processes you could ensure results corresponding to the goal.

# Ensure all prospects and opportunities are entered in a system
Provide a simple system where information regarding all new prospects and opportunities can be entered by the sales person. Keep the system simple; avoid capturing information that may seldom come in use. It is a good practice to map the client organization to understand the role each contact would play. For example, you maintain information on who are the key decision makers and who are the ‘trouble makers’ for your deal, classify the event/source of the lead and track the pipeline stage of the opportunity.

# Ensure all activities and communications with the prospect are available
Next, make sure that activities like notes, conversations and calls are maintained across prospects and opportunities. This practice would ensure maintenance of the account history, irrespective of the person interacting with the customer. You could now know if the customer has a complaint on a product, his regular order items, his purchase duration and timing, other opportunities that could materialize in the future and key occasions and events important to the customer – enabling the continuity of the relationship to carry on. 

# Develop a solution that makes capturing this information simple and effortless
Pay attention to the efforts that would be required to capture the information. Make no mistake, the system you implement would face resistance to change as most sales folks do not like their efforts to be monitored. Hence, you need to set the perception right at the early stage by clarifying the objective of the system which would be to help them close more deals. Institutionalize the process by allocating adequate time and resources. Make capturing information possible from anywhere, any time. Sales professionals are mostly field guys, hence they should be able to enter information and have access to account details on the go, from their cell phones.

# Monitor sales performance and link all rewards given to the system
Most sales managers make the mistake of using a parallel system to monitor sales activity. Make sure that there is ONE, AND ONLY ONE system that is been referred to. This makes it clear to the sales team that anything out of the system is not being accounted for, and more importantly sets the process as part of the culture. Research claims that it takes 66 days to make an activity a habit, hence be persistent, the results will be outstanding.

Get started with creating the base of a strong sales force. Happy Selling!!!