There is always some uncertainty surrounding sales departments and their role in a company. Some consumers - and also some organizations - are still skeptical about dealing with a salesperson.
We are up for a challenge, so we have gathered together a guide to finally understand salespersons and why are they important to have in a company.
What is a salesperson?
First things first, let’s break the myth that one is born a salesperson. It’s true that these professionals usually have some common personality traits that are useful for their job. But this doesn’t make them mandatory to have nor impossible to learn.
What are the salespersons’ traits? Fair enough. For instance, we often tend to imagine them as extremely extroverted and easy-going people. Truth is, they might as well just be professional.
Every job entails certain characteristics, but they don’t necessarily have to be intrinsic. Just as developers can be very talkative outside their working hours, salespeople can also be reserved in their private lives. Agree?
The important factor here is for them to be sure about what they are selling, and be convincing enough for a third person to believe them. It’s in this stage where every salesperson has its own tricks, do’s and don'ts, and previous mistakes to learn from. Some might win most deals by making clients laugh, while others succeed more by being serious.
Unlike in The Three Musketeers, there’s no “one for all” in sales.
What does a salesperson do?
Of course, this depends on the company they work for or, if they are autonomous, the product they sell. However, some of the following tasks are probably common to every salesperson. You are about to discover that they do much more than selling.
First of all, they do tons of research. From the business market to social habits, as well as staying up-to-date with the latest trends. It’s important for them to know what’s happening to be able to talk about it - all the talking they do must be based on something, right?
It’s possible, especially for big deals, that they have many conversations with the client before actually signing a contract. This involves plenty of informal conversations about mundane topics such as hobbies, holidays, or the favorite for elevator talks: the weather. On top of this, add the culture and time differences. Sounds like an intense conversation now?
More precisely, why is a salesperson important?
In very summarized terms, they find and understand a need that can be covered by their product. You might or might not know that the need is there, but surely they will. A salesperson can often give an easy explanation, problem-solution oriented. All the previous research is now shown by their approach to the sale conversation, certainly varying from client to client.
If you are a consumer with unresolved questions about a product or company, your answers might be waiting for you in the shape of a salesperson. They have the information and, in case they don’t, they’ll know where to find it for you. Then again, the final decision is always yours… Right?
On the other hand, if you are an entrepreneur or a busy manager that wants to boost their business’ performance but is still uncertain about how, try hiring a salesperson. They might find a gap in the market with the potential for your company, the error that is stopping you from selling more or the idea that could give you higher revenue.
Does it sound too good to be true?
How to measure a salesperson’s performance?
Performance is much more easily measured if there are pre-defined KPIs to the specific department. For instance, objective related to clients’ calls and meetings or won/lost deals.
If you want to measure a call center’s performance, read our guide of the 5 best KPIs for telemarketing here.
Whether the salesperson works by phone or face-to-face, here are the 3 most useful KPIs for salespeople:
- Pending meetings for the week
The first step for a sale is actually having a meeting with the potential client. This KPI will give you an overview of how your week looks like. If it looks too empty, you should work together with your marketing team to get more leads. The more, the merrier!
If you are already a busy company with a sales department, you might rather measure this KPI on a daily basis per employee. This will allow you to see their individual performance as well as the overall results they are getting as a team.
Another option for this KPI is to divide the meetings into their different purposes. For example, you can measure first-contact meetings separately from demo or onboarding meetings. This way, you’ll have a much clearer overview of the potential and current clients.
- Closed deals
Comparing this KPI to the one above will give you some valuable information. Ideally, all the opportunities would turn into won deals, but one step at a time.
Apart from the number itself, it can also give you some insight into how certain actions (for instance from the Marketing department) are performing, if the number is growing more than usual - or the other way around.
It might also be a great learning to try to get some patterns on what’s triggering a deal to be won so that you can replicate that in upcoming meetings to increase this KPI.
- Value of new deals
As well as closing deals, it’s important to know the actual value they are bringing to your company. This provides you with an overview of the income you can expect for the following days or months, as well as the total worth of your clients.
You can, therefore, see whether you are opening more expensive accounts or if bigger companies are starting to use your product - and also the exact opposite.
It is also an inspiring KPI to show to your salespeople to keep their motivation up and running - and ready for more!
If this sounds interesting, you might want to try to display this KPIs in the most visual and motivating way, so that all your employees can see their performance getting better and better! You can easily do it with Plecto dashboards, integrating with your CRM systems to import your data. Try it out here!