Activate Your Sales Team to Drive New Business
In this article, we’ll be continuing to explore executive vision and the strategic acquirement of new business by Managed IT Services Providers. We’d like to share some more advice on distributing this vision down to the sales teams as they are a moving power for any new business for their companies.
As a vendor, we often see situations where the CEO has already come forward with the strategic partnerships, but his sales force is dragging their feet or being resentful. Despite the new vendor’s efforts to create a comfortable place for the sales people to learn and sell the new products or services and grow their company’s bottom line, this initiative is at risk of getting buried unless the CEO contributes to his team’s enthusiasm.
In my own experience, it is not easy to apply changes to businesses that have been functioning relatively well for over ten years, especially if the team has been more or less consistent throughout this period. The most common objections for any new business line are:
- “We don’t do that.”
- “That’s not our customer base.”
- “We normally farm that out.”
- “I have a guy who specializes in that.”
As an industry veteran and life-long sales professional, I believe these objections come from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the new business line. Sales people see the risk of wasting their precious time on learning something new that hasn’t been proven to sell well. Why do that when they could be doing what they’ve been successfully doing for years – making money. In other words, the new products or services represent more obstacles than opportunities.
In my previous blog post, I shared some good practices for how to spread the leadership’s vision to all employees. This time, I’d like to address how to engage sales teams as they play a special role, and their motivation is crucial for the adoption of new business lines.
Here’s what the CEO needs to do to assist new vendor-partners in sales team activation:
- Identify key employees (sales managers and account managers) to collaborate with the vendor. These people will drive the launch of the new product or service.
- Create a list of key questions and possible obstacles that the vendor and your team both must address during the onboarding process.
- Invite the vendor to your sales department meetings to make them understand your team’s dynamics and have a chance to educate your team about the new product, low-hanging opportunities and compensation.
- Discuss possible incentives for your sales team with the vendor-partner. We all know what drives their motivation.
Once your team has their first wins with the new product or service, make an announcement and celebrate! Boost everybody’s motivation by recognizing their first successes. Make the vendor part of these announcements to help build trust and relationships between them and your team.