We all know that business cannot exist in the long term without sales. Nothing new here. However, depending upon the size of your business, who you select to sell your wares can be vitally important. The days of hiring minimum wage type telemarketers to cold-call potential clients are gone.
When an entrepreneur starts a business, he or she is the expert in the field. Mark Cuban would say that to be successful, you must know more and be the best in your niche. Initially, you are the face that is put forward to the public representing your business. It only makes sense that you would be the best person to sell the products that you know. However, you will not be able to wear many hats for long if you should decide you want your business to grow beyond a point where you can sell it yourself. Lagging sales and lack of capitalization are the main reasons that businesses fail to get to the next level.
In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than having an expert in the product or service help the sales process. An individual with in-depth product knowledge will not only close a sale sooner, but will alleviate many unnecessary follow-up calls from both you and the sales prospect. I know what you are going to say. I have a software company and I don’t want to bring a C++ programmer who, how shall we say it, lacks sales skills, on the road with me.
Think again. Having a tandem team of a salesperson trained in the art of closing the deal combined with an expert in the product development is a win-win for you. Let me tell you why. The salesperson is an obvious necessity that must be budgeted for. However, the additional expense associated with utilizing a product expert is well worth it, although often difficult to quantify.
I once had a company where we did just that. Had a two person sales team, one a skilled salesperson and the other an expert in the service. The sales person was the one who did all of the leg work in setting up the prospective appointment et al. The expert was there to field questions on a level that was not possible by the salesperson alone.
Remember, you are selling the service to someone who has an idea what they are buying, so they are more in-tune with the expert than your salesperson. Details of what goes on in the trenches will give your client not only more information, but details of how things actually work on a daily basis. My company was selling financial information to Wall Street professionals. A tough sale. Professionals will ask questions that a salesperson can only give superficial answers to, in general. One example I recall is a merger that was taking place between two airlines. After our initial sales presentation, the prospective client called me with a detailed question about the financing of the deal. I explained it to him briefly, but in detail in a phone conversation. He called me back at the end of the day to thank me and told me that he would be a customer for life.
If you are selling something similar where a product expert is available, think seriously about making them a temporary part of the sales team, or if you have the right expert, move them to sales if they have the inclination. After all, other than the owners, it really is the salespeople who make the money!