When distributors are looking to increase sales, they typically consider two things:
- Adding inside and outside salespeople
- Investing in coaching and training
Of the two, coaching and training usually are the most effective and "profitable route to take," according to Mike Sawchuk, President of Sawchuk Consulting, who helps distributors improve their sales operations.
"But, the coaching and training may not necessarily be for the salespeople, but for the owners of the distribution company, making sure they are giving their salespeople the right tools and environment they need to succeed."
To begin the process, Sawchuk says distributors need to ask themselves the following four questions. These can help determine the strengths and weaknesses of their organization.
1) Do you provide your salespeople with clear, consistent communication?
Distributors need to set priorities for their salespeople; create expectations and rules about how their salespeople spend their time; ensuring they know what is expected of them. "Distributors must [also] set sales goals for their staff and track their performance. What gets measured, gets done."
2) What are you measuring?
Distributors should be measuring the number of opportunities each salesperson has; revenue potential per opportunity; "win rate" of the sales rep; along with sales cycle time to close.
3) Are you clear on the KPIs?
Distributors need to know the activities that drive each key performance indicator (KPI) they are measuring? They also need to know the selling skills that drive each KPI. If the reps are effectively doing these activities, then sales results will increase.
4) Are you providing content to assist your sales team?
Your marketing department should be providing customer-focused web content. The content should not be about you, your company, or its products or services. Instead, it should address the needs and challenges of the customer. The sales team can then blast and share the content via their social media vehicles.
Mike Sawchuk is the President of Sawchuk Consulting.