Sales Enablement for Non-Salespeople: Four Ways to Grow Revenue
Last month I met a friend from my university days for coffee. Outside of a few email check-ins over the past few years, we had not seen each other much. I had heard that he had started a consumer technology business, and when we got together I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the company’s growth. In the past couple of years, his company had scaled and now had fully functioning human resources, marketing, finance, sales, and operations teams.
We talked for a while, catching up on the twenty-year gap since graduation, and then the reason that he had contacted me became clear. He told me that while they were busy scaling they lost focus on revenue growth and they were struggling to regain momentum. He had read many of my articles about sales and was curious whether I had some ideas.
I sat back in my chair and began to think. My mind immediately went to the company’s forty-five employees, most of whom are not in the sales department. I shared with him the following quote by Philip Kotler:
“The sales department isn’t the whole company, but the whole company better be the sales department.”
I explained that in his employees he has the best brand ambassadors that he could ever ask for and that he needs a sales enablement strategy that will convince them to talk to their networks about the company’s services.
I also stated the obvious: We are living in a day and age when consumers are far more educated and are engaging in the sales channel far later in the buying decision process. Therefore, ensuring that all of his employees have bought into waving the company’s flag can provide immense value.
His reply to me was exactly what I expected: “But they’re not salespeople.”
I then mapped out the following ideas that he could use in his company.
Selling for Non-Salespeople
1) The job is not only to close.
Most believe that sales is all about the close. Yes, closing is important. But more important is the open. To close a door, the door must first be opened.
The job of non-traditional sellers is not to close. Rather, their jobs are to get to know people and to find problems to solve. Provide them with a process so that they know what to do when find a live sales lead.
2) People have mental images of sales, but those images can be changed.
The majority of people have mental images of sales that are not attractive. The easiest way to get a person over this hurdle is to map sales to one of his or her natural gifts.
For example, the gifts of curiosity, listening, and problem solving can be used in this way. Show people how to change their mental images from being a pushy salesperson to using their natural gifts to help others.
3) Mentorship is key
Your best salespeople are unlikely to be the stereotypical salespeople of years ago. As a matter of fact, the best salespeople are more introverted than extroverted.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the typical successful salesperson is a 3 or 4. Such a person is an ambivert, someone who has a balance of introverted and extroverted characteristics.
Leverage these ambiverts as mentors of your non-salespeople. Ensure that these mentors preach the long game. This is not about overnight success; this is about slowly but surely integrating aspects of sales into all employees’ everyday routines.
4) Demonstrate gratitude
We all know, too well, how hard it can be to embark on something new. The reality is that if people who work in HR, marketing, finance, or operations wanted to do sales they would have chosen it as their career. So, every little step counts.
Owners and managers should celebrate the small wins and demonstrate gratitude to non-salespeople who contribute to sales by either generating new leads or retaining customers. Positive encouragement is important for those who are new to the game of sales.
These are just four of the ideas that I shared with my university friend. He jotted down notes during the hour that we spent together, and his excitement increased as we spoke. He called me this morning and told me that he immediately implemented a number of my ideas and that things are really starting to flow at his company. I reminded him about the quote that I had shared with him and suggested that he keep me posted.
What are your thoughts about non-salespeople waving the company’s flag?
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