Take a position and defend your ideas. The key to developing an effective sales force is selection of personnel versus the key to developing an effective sales force is training.
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Effective sales force is the key for an organizational success. According to Zoltners, Sinha and Lorimer (2009) effective sales force is a front line business, solving client problem, generating revenue and benefit its stakeholders.
All aspects of business including sales are changing while traditional approaches in selling's are being outdated (Long & Newman, 2015). So, it is necessary for an organization to adapt to new practices through an effective training. However, employee behavior, relevant experiences, communication skills, attitudes also play an important role for the performances, that needs to been seen while the employee is hired (HBS Working Knowledge, 2014). Nevertheless, these skills diagnosed during the employee selection do not guarantee its successful implementation in the workforce, for example: Employee might face a behavioral shift and might need continuous motivation. Hence, in the debate of key to organizational success, whether "Selection of Effective sales force" or "Sales force Training", I opine that Employee training is the effective means.
According to (Chopra, 2015), the need of training are follows,
New Hire Orientation
For new employee, however skillful he/she might be, needs an orientation of the organization
Every employee has shortcomings so to overcome this training is necessary. Sometimes the shortcomings might be psychological barriers for employees for decreased productivity
Improvement in performance
Training improves performance by increasing the strength, gaining new skills and overcoming shortcomings.
Training can be linked to employee satisfaction. But the training has to be relevant and employee can take something back from there.
Productivity is directly related to technology in this rapidly changing world. So, equipping the new technology can help increase the productivity
Employees those who have attained required trainings seeks less supervision, less guidance and have autonomy in their work. This gives the management appropriate time to focus on other areas. Confidence in work can be developed over the time by trainings and is not necessarily be reflected in selection process.
Adding on to this, I think career-development is a growing concern for an individual in any organization. So, an effective training can help an individual to reach their potential.
Even though the sales-force might have been selected from a good process, it doesn’t ensure good sales. They need to be trained regularly with the new changes in the company or with appropriate skills to compete in the market. For example, Berger was selling standard colors kept in tin cans. Now when the product shifted to custom colors , Often called Color Bank, which required machines, other chemicals and a base colors, it was necessary to communicate the working process and marketing strategies to promote that Color Bank. So, the sales force needed to be trained in the new product rather than leaving individual sales employee to sell it in the way they wanted to sell. Similarly, say if the sales person figured some problems while selling "Color Bank", that happened to be commonly faced problem by most of the sales-person then the organizations need to give training to tackle that problem. Whilst, if a bunch of sales person, who were initially good performers, were unable to meet the limit of sales due to this new innovation of Berger, might again require appropriate training to improve their skills. Hence, Training cannot be avoided at any case while this helps employee spur in their sales career. A good sales-force can also be created by tackling problem, improving, increasing satisfaction etc as mentioned above. Therefore the key to developing effective sales is sales-force training.
Chopra, B. (2015, August 31). Importance of training and development in an organization . Retrieved from The Economic Times: articles.economictimes.indiatimes.... 1
HBS Working Knowledge. (2014, September 8). The Strategic Way To Hire A Sales Team . Retrieved from Forbes: forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowled...
Long, G., & Newman, B. (2015, 09 21). Developing an Effective Sales Force in Today’s Complex Environment . Retrieved from Sales and Marketing Management: salesandmarketing.com/content/deve... 1
Salesforce Training. (2012, July 15). How Salesforce Training Supports Effective Sales Leaders . Retrieved from Salesforce Training: salesforcetraining.com/how-salesfo... 1
Zoltners, A. A., Sinha, P., & Lorimer, S. E. (2009, June 1). Sales Force Effectiveness . Retrieved from Kelloginsight: insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/a...
Like any side people will have mixed reaction when it comes to who is more effective as a sales force, a person who is self-taught or someone who has received training. Both have their own strong points and cannot comprehend what the other is saying as they have probably not been in their counterpart’s shoes. Stephen Greenberg a long time sales consultant, trainer and coach explains, "Personally, I’m always gratified when my students share their successes and verbalize that their training kicked-in and was what contributed to their success. This is probably a good time to mention that not all sales training is effective. (Greenberg, 2014)” I personally think that effective sales skill can be developed through training but the training should be effective and practical. In addition the trained candidate can only master the sales technique when they repetitively practice and not be discourage or afraid of being rejected.
An article in Business world, Manila on getting the edge in professional selling informs, "Salesmen play an essential role as front liners, taking the responsibility of meeting with potential customers and selling products or services. A well-trained, highly competent sales force will bring in excellent results. Conversely, a sales force composed of salesmen who do not know what they are doing will quickly lose ground and market share. (BusinessWorld, 1999)” It is only right when your sales force knows and understand the techniques to undertake to understand the customer point of view and how your product can make their life easier. This selling point and various practical method to stress this points to convince the buyer can only be learned in a training program.
As informed by Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Company, "Being able to grasp what employees are talking about through Salesforce is incredible valuable to me.” One of the biggest auto manufacturing company in the world also agrees that their Salesforce is important and without training a sales force cannot be developed.
BusinessWorld. (1999, September 14). Getting the Edge in Professional Selling: Recruitment blues General News. BusinessWorld, Manila . Retrieved from proxy.lirn.net/MuseProxyID=mp03/Mu...
Greenberg, S. (2014, Mar). The Three Types of Salespeople: They range from having no training at all to being professionally trained. Origination News . Retrieved from proxy.lirn.net/MuseProxyID=mp03/Mu...
No one is born with the value, skills, education, and knowledge. All of those are continuous learning process day by day. When we were small our mother and father trained us how to eat, walk and do other activity. Similarly, in marketing management, no one is expected as a salesperson by born. While some people may possess an "extroverted” sales personality that makes them a natural fit for the career, effective selling is still a skill that must be developed (Fuller, 2015). Sales training can help to aspire, salespeople develop and practice the skills they need to succeed and increase their confidence level. Proper sales training nurture the skill of salesperson. It is actually a combination of choosing the right people and then giving them the proper amount of training (Mayer & Greenberg, 2006). For example, I can take a person who is very knowledgeable in marketing and who definitely has the skills and abilities for the given position and then give them an adequate amount of training in addition to what they already know.
In today’s extremely competitive business environment having any advantage over the competition is useful. One of the most important tools that a company can have to ensure that stay one step ahead is strong sales person or team. According to a study cited on the sales force training website, the caliber of a salesperson, in a B2B environment is the most important factor influencing prospect’s decision to buy. In the U.S more than $5 billion is invested in sales training and improvement. It is extremely important that your company is making the right training investment. A trained salesperson can generate new opportunity which can lead to huge returns for a company, the better your salesperson is the better result for your entire company. A successful sales team leads to profitability and future growth. Use the following sales training insights to make your sales team stronger.
Improving Communication skills
Communication skills are essential for sales because sales person must ensure that customers understand the products and service offered. Sales training enhances the person to person connection which is necessary to gain loyal consumer. According to impactcommunicationsinc.com, 71 percent of people have their buying decisions on trust and believability. All salesperson need to thoroughly understand their audience’s wants and need while also being able to communicate with the audience.
Learning Sales Methodology
Look for sales training courses that will enable your staff to build pleasure in their interaction with clients so that the purchases occur in a win-win situation, allowing the client to walk away felling understood.
Objections are a normal part of the sales process, as prospects, an improperly trained sales person may simply agree with the objection and stop selling. Sales training can teach salesperson how to anticipate objections as well as techniques for overcoming them.
Developing Administrative Skill
Some salesperson has a tendency to focus solely on the people aspect of the position, such as prospecting and making a sales call, while overlooking the administrative tasks. Effective sales trains point out the importance of functions such as tracking daily activities keeping accurate records and analysis closing ratios. They can include how to use software programs that can simplify the administrative process and save precious time.
Sales professionalism must learn how to recognize what technique and strategies are not yielding the returns they had hoped for. Ensure that there is some sort of review process in place so that you can pinpoint for yourself strategies and tools that are not effective. Effective communication skills successfully connect people and processes and are useful for not just the sales professionals but business professionals overall.
In my personal point of view, training is much more powerful than by birth skills. We have several examples where many people got success by training rather than natural skills.
Fuller, R. (2015). What Makes Great Salesperson. Harvard Business Review.
Mayer, D., & Greenberg, H. (2006). What Makes a Good Salesman. Harvard Business Review .
Let me share my recent experienced at The Bakery Café, Baneshwor. I along with my friend went to have coffee. I was just amazed by the ambience and the decorative they had used, overall, look wise, the place was perfect. No wonder why the place was so crowded. So, then I was just having a nice chat with my friend and a waiter appeared. I don’t know that the café is with the service staffs that are physically deaf. They took our orders with their sign language. We overlook all where and found that they are serving in a well mannered with their actual time they commit at time of taking orders. Our orders are also there at right time. And, after having our coffee we were out paying bill and we begun to discuss that differently able people can also coordinate if they are trained.
In 1997 when Shyam Kakshapati, the owner, opened The Bakery Cafe at New he employed 12 young deaf people who had no previous work experience and certainly no training in the food and hospitality industry. He himself trained them. Later more outlets began employing deaf staff and today The Bakery Cafe trains and employs 45 deaf staff. Today, The Bakery Cafe is known not only for its quality food, accessibility and efficient service but also for accepting and employing deaf staff. The Bakery Cafe is a household identity for youngsters, families and executives today, serving steaming momos, pizzas, sizzling platters, thick burgers, thin sandwiches, fresh salads, steaming drinks and more (Hoffman-Dilloway, 2013).
The above experienced shows the effectiveness of sales force is training without doubt. Obviously, in this totally structured and systematic working culture many people prefer to go for personnel selection of recruitment and hiring individuals, but without doubt this example force me to think that training is the ultimate guide for developing an effective sales force.
Training is the important factor in any job. No one is born with the values, skills, education and knowledge. Everything is attained from the training may that be the habit of eating and walking they are all the part of training. Therefore, the training is important for everything. Mainly in the job place, where training is important not just to give the skill to the employee but also to provide the updated knowledge and skills that is required for the employee not just to sell the product but to know the customers interest, needs and trends in the market.
Higher levels of salesperson’s performance and customer‐oriented selling are observed when specific training methods and content are implemented. Additionally, customer‐oriented selling positively influences sales force performance, and sales training seems to moderate the relationship between sales force performance and effectiveness (Román, Ruiz, & Luis Munuera, 2002). Good training can be the asset to the company as well trained and updated employee creates the profit and helps in generating the good revenue for the company.
Hoffman-Dilloway, E. (2013). Ordering Food, Reordering Relationships: Deaf and Hearing Social Interaction in Kathmandu.
Román, S., Ruiz, S., & Luis Munuera, J. (2002). The effects of sales training on sales force activity. European Journal of Marketing, 36 (11/12), 1344-1366.
Sales force consists of the employees whose job is to persuade the customers to buy the company’s products or services. For persuading the existing and potential customers, the sales person should possess some basic characteristics like assertiveness, self-awareness, empathy, problem-solving, empathy, patience and perseverance, focus and ego-drive (Chand, n.d.). Some of these qualities can be developed while some cannot be. So, I think key to developing effective sales force is selection rather than training.
Selection of sales person is crucial for any organization, especially the ones that involve high interaction with customers (Lockeman & Hallaq, 1982). Getting a good salesperson is harder than finding new customer. Selection of right candidate as salesperson can make a business successful while selecting wrong people can reduce revenue and profitability, causes dissatisfaction in workforce and increase staff turnover (Davies, 2012).
For a sales force to be effective, the sales person should spend more time with customers, build networks and communicate frequently with managers and senior leadership (Fuller, 2015). For this, we need people who love communicating and interacting with customers. Outgoing and extrovert people can be the best for sales person. In addition, they should also be willing to travel. All these things cannot be developed through training. Training helps to polish the existing qualities rather than building new qualities. Coaching, monitoring and counselling can only empower the employees but for this we need to select the people who are willing to learn and grow. We need to select people with right attitude and then train them to be better. If the employees are not receptive, then the training goes in vain. The effectiveness and success of training program is also determined by the selection of the selection of the employees.
For example: If we select someone who do not like to approach people and talk to them and train them to be effective salesperson, we are wasting our time and money. So selection is more important than training in building an effective sales force.
Chand, S. (n.d.). Top 6 Qualities of a Good Salesman | Salesmanship . Retrieved from Your Article Library: yourarticlelibrary.com/salesmanshi...
Davies, I. (2012). Effective Salesforce is key to Success . Retrieved from Raconteur: raconteur.net/business/building-an...
Fuller, R. (2015). What Makes Great Salespeople. Harvard Business Review . doi:hbr.org/2015/07/what-makes-great-s...
Lockeman, B. D., & Hallaq, J. H. (1982). Who are your Effective Salespeople. Journal of the Acadeny of Marketing Science, 10 (4), 457-472. doi:10.1177/009207038201000408
The key to developing an effective sales force require proper selection of personnel while also providing them proper amount of training. This selection depends on a lot of other factors like the budget, company status and as such. However, if I was to pick one of those two, I’ll definitely go with proper selection.
If I’m provided with an option to select one who is well versed in sales and marketing with the right set of skills, ability and mentality for the position, that’s the person to go with. I’ll also provide additional training to add more to what he/she already has to offer. A right candidate should have that right mindset and strong persuasive ability which is very difficult to pass on anyone with just training (Fatima & Azam, 2016). It’s something that a person should develop from within. Explaining this further with an example, if a person has a negative mindset of "I can’t do it”, the person will in no way be able to do it regardless of how much the person is trained. However, if a person has that can do attitude, the person will certainly be able to give the fullest and meet the target. Same goes with persuasiveness as one in salesforce should also be able to convince people to buy the products or use the service. So, the selection of the right person is key to building a good, strong sales unit.
In addition to that, a person should also have a strong personality type to do well as an effective salesforce. This is why a person who is shy and runs away from conversation can’t be the one for the position. Taking such person hoping that training will make the person into a completely different one will only be a complete waste of time and resources. Rather selecting a person who is passionate for the job, knows the organization and is eager to work for while also having a natural charisma is one to go with. Going with the process of selecting a person for the salesforce allows for identifying and selecting the right person for the job while also helping select the person who will be able to make a good impression on customer and generate sales. People who are not trained or poorly trained but have all those winning personality traits are likely to do much better than those people who have a wrong personality for selling but well trained. So, I would like to stress my initial statement that I would rather select one for the salesforce then train one.
Fatima, Z., & Azam, M. (2016). A study of salesforce control systems and salesforce motivation. The Marketing Review , 16 (4), 357-371.