Leading printing executives into the futureAre Your Sales People an Asset or Liability?By Jerry ScherPublished: August 6, ...
Do You Have The Talent?Even when a company is continuing an existing business strategy it requires employees that havethe ...
Action PlanBegin by seriously considering the role/responsibilities of the sales/business developmentposition within your ...
PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY.                  About Peak Focus, LLC                  People. Performance. Profitabi...
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Are Your Sales People an Asset or Liability?

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If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that traditional business and revenue models have permanently shifted. Transactional sales approaches are quickly being replaced by solution-focused, consultative business relationships. Has your sales team made the shift? Are they all capable of shifting?

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Are Your Sales People an Asset or Liability?

  1. 1. Leading printing executives into the futureAre Your Sales People an Asset or Liability?By Jerry ScherPublished: August 6, 2012During the month of August all 32 NFL teams are actively preparing for their upcoming season.Players are being physically challenged and focused on a “back to basics” approach. Coaches aredesigning new and innovative strategies to compete and win and while each team is approachingthese tasks with their own style, there is one commonalty amongst all of them; the assessment oftheir current players and determining what talent they need to align their team with theirstrategies. Sound familiar?“80-90% of printing sales people are neither interested nor suitable to make the transitionrequired”Printers are continually being challenged to redefine their business models and strategies torespond to the extraordinary changes in the graphic communications industry. Investments arebeing made in technology and software and company executives are considering re-training staffor recruiting/hiring to fill gaps in areas of data management, web development, social media,marketing, mobile communications and the list goes on.Now, if you were managing a professional sports team and evaluating your current program youwould certainly be reviewing your overall strategy and rethinking what it will take to succeed inthe future. You would be assessing your current players; focusing on their skills, attitude andcontributions to the team’s overall effort. You would certainly be identifying positions on yourteam that require strong new talent and your management team would be planning yourrecruiting strategies. And, if you were re-inventing your overall strategy for the future, the talentsearch would be of even greater importance.But before I discuss your talent challenges let me first emphasize the need for a thoroughplanning process and development of your plan. With the recent passing of Stephen R. Covey wehave been reminded of his outstanding book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.Covey’s second habit is “Begin with the end in mind”. And perhaps you remember the wisewords of Forest Gump, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re unlikely to end up there.”If you are a company executive struggling to reinvent your business model and attempting todetermine how you will generate profitable revenue in the future, the process of “working onyour business” must be your greatest priority while your team continues to run your day-to-daybusiness. And within that focus, you must consider whether or not you have the right people inplace to execute your redefined strategy.
  2. 2. Do You Have The Talent?Even when a company is continuing an existing business strategy it requires employees that havethe necessary skills and ability involved in the right activities; they must be clearly focused andaligned with the goals of the organization. They’ve got to have that “fire in the belly” so essentialto great performance and the desire to continue to learn and improve. Your team is only as strongas your weakest player.Selling behavior hasn’t changed at allSales StaffSales people who have been responsible for maintaining a book of business and have ongoingrelationships with the buyers at their clients’ businesses continue to play an important role inbusiness retention and project management. But one must beg the question, are they willing andcapable of pursuing the business development role essential in executing a multi-disciplinarysales strategy. Based upon conversations with hundreds of company executives over the pastyear I’ve learned that this is a very serious concern and obstacle to growth. In fact, my researchindicates that 80-90% of printing sales people are neither interested nor suitable to make therequired transition.The role of business development requires the following skills and competencies.  Interpersonal skills  Strong presentation and influencing skills  Ability to engage in dialogue at multiple levels  Organizational and planning proficiency  Client focused not product focused  Technology competence  Marketing knowledgeDoes your current sales staff have what it takes?Project Manager versus Business Development ProfessionalFor years I have been speaking, writing and coaching in multiple industries to encourage salesprofessionals to transition from a transactional sales approach to a consultative, client focusedstrategy. It is clear to me that while too many sales people have changed their titles on theirbusiness cards their selling behavior hasn’t changed at all. This is an inhibiting factor whenexecuting a cross-media or integrated marketing strategy. If you are faced with this reality youmust take assertive action.
  3. 3. Action PlanBegin by seriously considering the role/responsibilities of the sales/business developmentposition within your organization. You must prepare a well-defined job description including thetasks and activities to be performed, how they will be held accountable (key performanceindicators –KPI) as well as all of the eligibility requirements (can they do the work) for theposition. Consider the essential education and professional training; determine the previousexperience you require and determine what knowledge and skills you require in the differenttechnology areas.With the eligibility requirements established, you must define the suitability requirements (willthey do the work) that include personal interests, behavioral traits and all of the soft skills thatare essential. These include interpersonal and communication competence as well as a strongwork ethic and collaborative ability. Some of the essential traits to look for in a successfulbusiness developer include taking initiative, wanting challenge, analytical ability, creativepersistence and a desire to continually learn and improve.As you continue your journey toward reinventing your business you will likely conclude thatrecruiting a more sophisticated sales professional will be necessary. Don’t take shortcuts; put inthe effort to clearly define the new role and prepare properly before beginning your recruitingefforts. The future of your business depends on it.Stay tuned to this continual series - as we describe a more systematic approach to successfullyidentify the talent you need as you re-engineer your business model.Jerry Scher has been engaged in the graphic communication industry for over 35 years, Jerrysprimary goal - make those around him more successful. 
  4. 4. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. About Peak Focus, LLC People. Performance. Profitability. Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and strengthen your team. With a mix of resources that we’ve created ourselves, as well as several powerful tools we’ve carefully assessed and believe in, we combine our passion and experience to guide companies and individuals toward optimized performance. Select your team members with confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, and learn how to coach your entire team more effectively by engaging the experts at Peak Focus. For more information and access to free resources, please visit our website at www.peakfocuscoach.com Engage With Us Free tools, resources & updates LIKE us on Facebook Check out our blog Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn About What They Think? WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization; offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence, industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging technology and critical events. WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events that are timely and relevant o today’s busy industry executives along with consulting and speaker services that leverage a talented pool of writers and industry analysts. www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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