By: David Jacoby on February 25th, 2013
How to Get Your Non-Sales People to Improve Your Sales
“I need my sales team to be more proactive.” It’s a comment we hear frequently from sales leaders. The reason for it is the changing nature of many industries today due to heightened competition, new customer buying habits and technological changes. Waiting for the phone to ring doesn't cut it anymore.
As sales organizations look to become more proactive, one common initiative is transforming certain non-selling roles (e.g., customer service reps or account managers) within the sales organization into selling roles. The thinking here by a typical sales leader is that “the customer service reps are talking to customers all day, why not also have them sell?”
Intuitively, this is immensely appealing. For example, imagine if your customer service reps made outbound sales prospecting calls during their down time. Or maybe your account managers could also focus on upselling. Imagine how much either could improve your sales effectiveness?
What’s the problem?
In our experience, these transformation initiatives often fall flat because of the “reluctant salesperson syndrome.” Specifically, these non-selling job roles were never designed to include proactive selling responsibilities, and, as a result, the people hired to fill these positions don’t have the desire, nor the selling skills, to be sales professionals. In fact, they often perceive themselves as customer advocates, and view sales professionals as having an inherent conflict of interest when dealing with customers.
As a result, they only reluctantly perform their selling duties, and ultimately gravitate back to their comfort zone – i.e., customer service or account management. This is usually the case even if they are incentivized to be more proactive.
What should a sales leader do?
The most effective solution is to address the root cause of reluctant salesperson syndrome: the mindset that sales is somehow bad for the customer.
This can be accomplished through a sales training program that initially focuses on how the elements of great business relationships – trust, listening and providing value – are the same for both sales and non-sales people. Sales professionals provide value to their customers by helping them solve their business problems through the solutions that they sell. They are not in conflict with their customers; they are in partnership with them.
Once people in non-sales role change their mindset about sales, they will be much more receptive to engaging in proactive selling activities.
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.