The Evolution of the Sales Manager
No matter how good a salesperson is, he or she won’t be useful unless the customer’s purchasing processes are adhered to.
It’s not uncommon to hear that things used to be better back in the day. Personally I can’t say that I know too much about that, but I do have vague memories from using a phone book to find telephone numbers during primary school.
But while I’m writing this my Android phone rings, and my Truecaller app lets me know that a prospect that I’ve been courting for a very long time is calling. And since my lead might be strong enough now, I take a break and answer the call.
Today’s technical evolution has really challenged the traditional business models, and many people that I meet feel that it has become increasingly difficult for salespeople to succeed today. And I tend to agree with them, as our annual surveys clearly show that the sales landscape has drastically changed.
The continued trend of centralised purchasing departments and refined processes is still going strong. And it’s also easier for clients to acquire and compare information about the different suppliers and their offers, and also pit them against each other.
So has the sales process become more difficult, or is it just different nowadays?
THE WAY OUR ENVIRONMENT HAS DEVELOPED has also changed our customers’ purchasing processes.
This means that we salespeople now enter the purchasing process in a later stage, and also that our customers already have established an opinion about us when we first contact them.
From a sales perspective, this means that we must become even better at understanding and mastering each and every area where we can affect our customers.
It’s no longer enough to just deliver a professional presentation or know our customers’ needs if we are to be truly effective in our sales process.
We also need a deeper understanding of when their needs arise, and the underlying factors that trigger them.
It has been said that sales is the final arena of the amateurs, and I personally believe that some professionals in our field have gotten away with mediocre work in the past.
However, I am now convinced that those days are over. In order to succeed with sales in the future, the professional standard in our line of work must reach – maybe even exceed – those in other professions.
ADAPTING our working methods, learning new skills and then using them to develop our sales progress places higher demands on both the salespeople and the sales management team.
Today’s modern sales managers must be able to analyze their customer platform, create smart strategies and actively prioritize and work towards achieving goals.
But we also know that solid values aren’t enough to reach our intended results.
Sales managers also need to practice a developing form of leadership that creates a sense of purpose and helps their colleagues grow in their work roles.
And when it comes to the new conditions that are in place for today’s salespeople, the management must establish and communicate clear and concise structures, and also uphold a management environment that both measures and follows up our most vital key figures for each process.
Why? Because this will lower the thresholds for our salespeople to adapt to these new conditions, and also make it easier for them to make breakthroughs and reach their overall sales goals.
Do you want to know more?
By Andreas Johansson Mercuri International Sweden
Swedish newspaper Marknadschefer 1/2015