Each sales organization faces unique sales force opportunities and challenges, which fall into two categories. First, sales leaders need to focus on sales force effectiveness when events originating outside the Sales System require quick and appropriate action. Some examples:
The company launches a significant new product line.
An economic boom creates new opportunities for sales.
The company has acquired a firm with a sales force that covers many of its current customers.
Because customers are consolidating, the current selling process is no longer effective.
Competitors have increased their investment in their sales force and are attacking the most profitable market segments.
As increasing numbers of similar products and services come into the marketplace, the sales force needs to provide unique value.
Second, sales leaders are constantly looking for ways to make their organizations better. They are engaged in ongoing effectiveness hunts designed to improve aspects of the Sales System by responding quickly to signs of trouble, such as:
The best salespeople are leaving the company, and sales management is ineffective at dealing with salespeople who are not performing well.
Salespeople are spending too much time calling on friends and too little time with strategically important accounts.
Profitability has declined because the sales force is cutting prices to meet its sales targets.
The sales force has missed its goal for several quarters.
The best sales leaders are constantly seeking opportunities to improve their Sales System, even before signs of trouble appear. For example:
Following several years of strong sales growth, the best sales leaders keep salespeople motivated to seek out new sales opportunities.
When internal projects demand more time, smart sales leaders maintain a focus on the customer and minimize the time salespeople spend on nonselling activities.
The best sales leaders understand that building a stronger interface between sales and marketing creates a more powerful bond between the company and its customers.