Cranfield Report

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Improving the Sales Force
Linking sales meeting behaviour to sales success

Inside: How different are Account Managers, New Business and Telesales? 8 Sales Person Styles The Formula for Sales Success Dr. Iain A Davies, Dr. Ken Le Meunier-FitzHugh, Prof. Lynette J. Ryals, Russell Ward

Pre-meeting

Behaviour

Listening

Presenting

Selling

Improving the small things can make the di erence between winning and losing or success and failure - in sport and business

Contents
Foreword Foreword by Bill Thomson, TNT Foreword by Russell Ward, Silent Edge Executive Summary What is Wrong with Sales? About Silent Edge Overall Results In-Depth Look at: New Business Account Managers Telesales The 8 Types of Sales Person Style 1. Socialiser 2. Deal-Maker 3. Narrator 4. Product/Service Focused 5. Storyteller 6. Consultant 7. Product Closer 8. Expert The gaps in sales performance Developing high performing sales people The Formula for sales success Conclusion 4 5 7 8 9 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31

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Foreword
In the summer of 2008 many companies experienced a sudden and unexpected cataclysm. Their order taking stopped and the order book started to dry up. Try as they might, their experienced sales teams that had been successfully selling for years now seemed to be struggling to close deals. In reality, the economy had been through a 12 year boom up until the end of 2008 so the real need to sell had not been there for many organisations. The orders kept coming and there was no real pain. There was no need to invest in their sales teams with expensive timeconsuming courses that would teach them how to sell. There seemed to be good sales people everywhere – verified by their sales figures. However as we can see now in November 2009, good sales figures in boom times are not necessarily an indicator of a good salesperson. Companies are now facing a new and urgent problem. There are about 1 million sales people in the UK and anyone under the age of about 38 has not sold in a recession before. Still worse, there are a lot of sales managers in that category who are leading sales teams but do not have the experience or the skills to take their companies out of recession. In 2002 Silent Edge created a series of objective competency frameworks that are used to measure the real sales capability of account managers, new business and telesales people. We collected data for years about the performance of sales teams. In November 2008 we published our data for the first time and, as you will read, the capability of the sales force in UK blue chip companies can be really quite poor. For years there has been chronic under-investment in sales, which after all is the engine room of an organisation. This report identifies successful sales behaviours and demonstrates how prevalent – or not – those behaviours are amongst the sales forces of UK companies. It shows t why corporations in the UK need to start to invest in the development and continuous measurement of their sales teams in order to drive sales performance and revenues.

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Foreword by Bill Thomson, TNT client of Silent Edge
I am the Corporate Development Manager for TNT Express UK Limited. With a team of 30 I am responsible for the acquisition, retention and development of key accounts that are segmented into vertical markets, annual revenues exceed £115million. I began working with Silent Edge at the start of 2007. I chose Silent Edge after a rigorous tender process with 4 external sales training companies. What differentiated Silent Edge, and the reason I went with them, was their Sales Force Evaluation system. The objective nature of the assessment and the independence of their approach are unique and I had not seen anything to match it in my 24 years in sales. The TNT Corporate Development team is very experienced in both their number of years in sales and number of years in TNT. Engaging Silent Edge sent a message to the team that TNT is...
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