The subject of sales continues to provide topical debate, with many organisations viewing it as a core competency yet many still face similar barriers to those who see sales as an after-thought or even a dark art. So, is sales still alive and kicking or should all sales people retreat, wave their white flags and search for an alternative profession?
The importance of selling within any business, regardless of size and industry, is arguably one of the most important parts of developing and creating a business according to the Institute of Sales Management. To recoup costs, grow and evolve a business must be able to distribute such products or services within its field and market.
The role of sales has historically been seen as the natural route to such success, with organisations appointing a full-time sales individual to conquer the market and represent the organisation across the board. It is hardly surprising therefore that over one seventh of the UKs population is employed within a sales position.
Some say having an innovative and market changing product or service should lead to organic sales without the need to appoint a sales professional. However, once you have benefited from those early adopters, family and friends – who and what is next and where do you start? If you could drastically improve the speed of such a ‘tipping point’ and ensure your product is placed in front of those key buying individuals outside of the initial friends and family circle, whilst also increasing brand awareness – is sales not wholly worthy of your full undivided attention?
We appoint leaders within our business with specific specialisms and track records in their fields; financial, operations and HR to name a few, so why not sales? Are we as business owners scared to ‘let go’, or do we just lack confidence in all those hundreds of CVs received from young eager sales ‘professionals’. If you as the business owner have or still are the main individual focused on promoting and selling your solutions, could your time be spent more effectively and efficiently elsewhere in order to grow and expand the company?
Social media and a strong online presence have pushed organisations to consider their messaging and overall sales strategy over recent years, however this does not replace the human desire for face to face interaction and a relationship based connection. So perhaps sales is not a dying trade, it is in fact as important as ever. Being an average sales professional however is no longer acceptable and with entry criteria to the industry almost non-existent, it is the qualification and associated skill set, characteristics and personality we need to focus on – not the industry as a whole. Sales is surely then about the individuals’ ability rather than the industry’s reputation and your ambition to increase and grow your business.
The role of sales as we know it is changing as hopefully is the perception, for to grow and develop our business do we not require sales to succeed? We may no longer term individuals ‘sales’ or even ‘business development managers, they may be known as brand ambassadors or representatives, yet they all have one main goal which is to generate, yes sales.