Business owners are often very keen to delegate sales responsibility to qualified salespeople – but is this the best choice for their growing business?
As the business grows the owner increasingly needs to let go of the detail and concentrate on doing those tasks which add the greatest value for the business.
It is very commonly the case in small businesses that the owner, the person who actually started the business is a practitioner – an engineer, a scientist, a marketing or design guru, a recruitment specialist and all the rest. They usually do not have any kind of sales training so their understanding of the sales process and selling activity is limited or non-existent.
Consequently, there is often a very strong desire on the part of the owner to delegate responsibility for sales – and often as soon as humanly possible!
But, however much the owner may dislike selling, it is often the owner who is the best sales person for the business – and usually by a very long way. This may at first glance seem quite counter-intuitive. Here is a person with none of the training and none of the skills, trying to do a job they would rather not do be doing – how can they possibly be successful?
The answer is fairly straightforward. Almost every study of buyer behaviour highlights the fact that buyers value certain things very highly – and that competence in these “core areas” is key to securing their trust and confidence. The core areas are:
- Confidence in their offering
- Sound and detailed knowledge of their product or service offer
- The ability to listen and correctly interpret the client’s requirements – and propose an appropriate solution
- A good understanding of the competition
- Knowledge of the marketplace and best practice
The trust and confidence of the buyer are clearly crucial if you want the win business. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to recognise that the person who started the business will have at their command a better understanding of all of the points above than any newly appointed salesperson.
Passion & Objection handling
There are two additional factors to take into account with this analysis. Firstly, the owner is passionate and committed to the success of the business; their enthusiasm is compelling and infectious – it is his or her livelihood after all.
Secondly, the owner has dealt with rejection and disappointment as a natural and necessary part of getting the business established. A push back or an objection from a client is unlikely to come as any surprise to the owner – they have heard it before and will usually know how to turn the argument to their advantage. Dealing with sales objections confidently and knowledgeably comes very naturally.
The right salespeople, at the right time
Of course it make sense to take on salespeople and start them on the journey of acquiring this knowledge and understanding as soon as possible. And there are lots of sales tasks that can be delegated to them along the way. But for the big strategic deals – the ones that you must win – the owner has to lead the charge.
In companies where the owner delegates responsibility for the sales too soon, all sorts of problems and difficulties can arise. The owner with little or no formal training in sales, who has never hired a sales person or never managed a sales team is almost certain to make a lot of mistakes. They will take on the wrong person, not appreciate what resources and support the sales person will require, lack the understanding to set and measure appropriate performance targets. And, a lot more besides.
What started out as delegation is nothing less than abdication – a complete loss of control – and things can, and often do, go horribly wrong.
If you’re struggling with sales or sales staff or if anything in this blog resonates with your own experience, feel free to call Bob on 07940 526801 or email him for a FREE initial consultation.