Sales Force Development – Is it Training?

What is Sales Force Development all about? Sales training? Coaching? Sales Force Automation? Sales Selection? Sales Assessments? Compensation? Incentives? Performance? Sales Management Effectiveness? Mapping the Sales Process? Documentation? Having a Play Book? More?

While it’s all of those things and more, its primary focus is the company’s strategies for growing sales, whether they are the right strategies, whether sales management is aligned on those strategies, and whether the sales force can execute those strategies.

A sales force evaluation that looks at the people, systems, processes and strategies, provides the answer to those questions and a whole lot more. In addition to identifying the issues to be addressed, it can provide the lion’s share of the content for a sales plan.

Development begins with mapping out an effective sales process. That is followed by the development of the sales management team so they can support the salespeople who must execute the strategies.

In most companies, a third of the sales force is less than desirable so an improved sales selection process comes next, utilized to hire salespeople who will more effectively execute the strategies.

Sales Training, the most popular component of an integrated sales force development initiative, is used to develop those salespeople who can’t yet execute the strategies. Sales managers, a few months ahead of the curve, should now be able to effectively coach their salespeople to reinforce the training.

Compensation and Incentives can be used to target the behaviors and activities that must change, influencing salespeople to execute the strategies. Then, the appropriate systems and processes must be put in place to support the sales force’s mission. Finally, the most important component and the one that most companies do poorly, is accountability: holding every salesperson accountable to something measurable, every day of the week.

Sales Force Development is an integrated approach to organically and systematically growing sales, by improving the people, systems and strategies that impact sales performance.

Many companies fail to work on any of the components of sales force development. Some companies see strategy as key and continue to change their strategies when one after another fails. Ironically, the strategies fail only when there isn’t alignment and the people can’t execute the new strategy. Many companies provide sales training but fail to provide it in the context of the strategies, and before the strategies, sales management, systems and processes have been fortified. Some companies see compensation as the key, failing to provide their people with the skills and tools to take advantage.

When integrated Sales Force Development is utilized, companies will see a dramatic improvement in effort, urgency, consistency and results. When integrated Sales Force Development is embraced, companies will see an improvement in morale, retention and selection. When Integrated Sales Force Development has been made a part of the company’s culture, sales and profits will sky rocket.