In this business development series, The Forgotten Art of Sales, we’re looking at the importance of that part – or function – of a business that ‘has the right conversations with the right people about the right opportunities’.

While this function is incredibly important, it’s often given too little attention, especially given this is where a good deal of an organisation’s potential – and money – is located! It’s actually staggering how little effort so many companies put into looking at how to improve such a critical function of their operation.

The process behind the function 

There is a vital process that underpins this function in each business and many smarts are required to make it work effectively. 

A company needs to:

Mapping the process

There’s significant value in putting effort into re-thinking how a business carries out this essential function and it starts by mapping out the process. This is because the process is key in helping an organisation achieve its objectives.

In fact, there’s quite a correlation between the time and effort put into thinking about how a business sells to its customers and what’s possible for the enterprise, and where it can ‘go’ in the market.

Managing the process

Mapping the process is all about being able to manage the process.

Managing it – for business success – requires someone who is across what good sales looks like for their organisation. This ’sales manager-type’ person needs to be able to look at the process and the results and then evaluate it objectively (all the wins and/or the horrors!) to make smart decisions.

It may become clear that the company isn’t closing leads, isn’t getting enough leads, isn’t refining its offer well enough, isn’t communicating clearly etc. Whatever the issue, the idea is to illuminate it and rectify it. This may involve developing current staff, targeting different clients, improving company visibility, employing new technology, onboarding a new team member, and more.

Once a business opens its eyes to what is missing in its process and what can be improved, it’s amazing how much better its results can be.

A BD initiative

At its core, improving the sales function of a company is a business development initiative.

Over 20+ years of consulting, we’ve seen the dramatic impact this can have. It’s a significant area that allows for business growth, realising market opportunities, and improving margins and price points.

What it takes to do this is illuminating a company’s process so it can be managed by a commercially astute, logical and rational person who is good with people and data, who understands the business and is good at articulating what it’s got to offer. This is tricky to find in one person and developing this person may be a work in progress.

So, what are the most common types of people attracted to sales? We’ll delve into these archetypes and how to best manage them in our next blog, out soon.

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