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3 Keys to Having a Strong B2B Sales Department

3 minute read

Neal Lappe   by Neal Lappe May 1, 2016

Many small business owners long for that ever-elusive high-performing B2B sales department.  That’s not a surprise considering the frustrations and failed efforts to hire salespeople who can generate a return on investment. 

To achieve a B2B sales department that meets and beat your revenue generation goals, you need to ensure three key elements are part of its very fabric.  Those are 1) a strong sales culture, 2) talent management, and 3) an effective sales process.  This article dives deep into each of these elements. 

A sales-oriented culture 

Is your company pro-sales?  I don’t just mean do you want sales.  Instead, does your company culture support your sales department?  Many small business firms I see burden their salespeople with administrative things – task that aren’t part of prospecting, building relationships, getting proposals done and closing deals.  In many cases, I see companies more driven to make sure their CRM is up-to-date then prospect for qualified leads – a very non-healthy sales environment.  

Do the non-sales employees realize the sales department enables them to be employed because the sales department is bringing in customers and revenue?  Or, do they resent top salespeople because they earn too much?  Does the company celebrate achievement of sales goals and recognize top performers, or is it more focused on cost controls and administrative things? 

Does your sales department a positive, driven and uplifting group?  Optimism is a key ingredient to an effective salesperson.  

Is the department laser-focused and accountable for achieving sales goals, and is leadership providing the right direction and resources to achieve your sales plan? 

The right people in the right seats 

Sales departments I work with are often comprised of different roles; field salesperson, inside salesperson, inside prospector, proposal developer, and others.  A sales department with these different roles often performs better than a flat environment where every person does the same role.  Does your sales department deploy different roles, and do you have the right types of people in each of those roles? 

Are you doing everything you can to retain the top performers?  Top compensation isn’t the only thing.  In fact, it often times ranks third or fourth on the list of things most important to employees.  Are you recognizing performance in other ways, building your salespeople’s self-esteem and confidence?  

Are you investing the right effort to coach your people in support of better performance, and are you working with those who aren’t doing well – to get them up or out?  

Are you using any kind of sales assessment tool as part of your recruiting process, and/or part of your ongoing development efforts?  We have found the CTS Assessment extraordinarily accurate at accessing pre-employment sales compatibility and post-employment skills development.  Learn more about sales assessments.    

An effective sales process 

Have you engineered the right sales process for your business?  Sales process is comprised of several elements key to a great sales department.  Here are five questions to ask yourself about whether you have an effective sales process: 

  • Have you defined and communicated to your sales team who you want them to sell to and what you want them to sell? I don’t mean in general terms.
  • Have you armed your salespeople with information about what the value drivers are for your target market?
  • Have you equipped your sales team with the information, tools and selling skills necessary for them to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace?
  • Do you have a defined and successful lead generation plan?
  • Have you defined a step-by-step sales sequence and what the goals are for each step in that sequence? 

If answering the aforementioned questions, associated with the three key areas to a high-performing sales department, doesn’t leave you feeling confident about your sales team, invest some time to explore the department.  Prioritize what changes you need to make to get the return on investment you expected when your built your sales team in the first place.  Or, consider a fractional sales manager to integrate these key ingredients.

 


 

Neal Lappe leads the WebStrategies team of digital marketing experts. Under his direction, the company has flourished, growing more than 400% since its inception in 2004.

 

Topics: Sales, Sales Training

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