GCE Strategic Consulting

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The blog that shares our expertise and perspective for driving business transformation, based on the successes and failures we've seen everywhere from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Building a Sales Operating System for your Small Businesses

How to Build a Sales Operating System for your Small Business

An effective and scalable sales operating system isn't just for the large Fortune 500 companies. Small businesses can also have strong processes that increase sales and generate revenue that is predictable and repeatable.

Here are the 5 essentials of building a small business sales system that's effective, efficient and sustainable.

1. Build Your Sales Leadership

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell once said "everything rises and falls on leadership". In this case, that leader is you!

You have to take the reigns of sales leadership in your business. You can't pawn it off on your sales people.

Taking ownership in your sales organization is not an option for you as a small business owner. It's tempting to dream about some mythical sales rock star to enter your organization and just 'make things happen', but that is highly unlikely.

So take ownership and develop your own leadership around sales.

This also means you're going to have to sell! If you can't sell your own product or services, don't expect a sales person to. Plus, you, as the business owner and leader of your organization, have to lead by example.

2. Hiring Your Sales Team

The most important step in building as old sales team is to hire well. Research shows hiring a bad sales person will cost you more than just about any other hire.

That is because not only are you losing money on their employment costs (salary + benefits), you're losing opportunity cost for however much time they are there.

In hiring the right sales person, the first thing to look for is how successful they have been in past sales roles. Find out what their track record was.

You also want someone who is optimistic,competitive, organized and a good listener. And of course, you need them to be good communicators.

Did they consistently hit their sales goals in the past? Were the conditions of their success similar to the environment you're creating? Why did they leave if they were successful?

3. Training Your Sales Team

In a small business sales system, you don't have the luxury of spending weeks on training your sales reps before putting them on the phones. That means most of your training should be hands on.

Spend a day or two on training your products or services. Then spend another day on your sales process, including scripts, lists, CRM, etc. Don't spend much more time than that to train.

One of the realities of hiring salespeople for small businesses is that there tends to be high turnover. That means if you invest more than a few days in training on a lot of people that don't stick around, you're wasting cash you probably can't afford to bleed.

By getting them selling right away, you can also evaluate quickly whether they will be a good fit for your organization.

4. Firing Your Sales Team

It sounds harsh, but you have to be quick to let go of under-performing sales people. As a small business owner, you don't have the cash to keep sales people on who aren't generating revenue or aren't building a pipeline that will produce sales at some point soon.

When you hire, tell them upfront that they will have a 2-week trial period, and then a 30-day performance evaluation.That gives you 2 mile markers and 2 opportunities to let them go.

5. Tracking Your Sales Team

You will need a customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of your sales team's activity.

Sales Force is the world's most-used CRM.It has a lot of robust features, but it may be overkill for a small business.They also have a large ecosystem of developers who build apps for the Sales Force platform.

If you want something simple and less expensive, Zoho is a really good CRM option. Zoho should do the job for a sales operating system.

You want to keep the tracking as simple as possible because you do not want your sales people to get bogged down by reporting. But you also need to be able to see their activity and know what's coming down the sales pipeline.

First, track their call activity.Depending on your culture, industry and preferences, full time sales people should be making 60-100 sales calls a day. Expect high activity in the beginning since they don't have customers to service or deals to negotiate.

Second, track how many sales opportunities they are creating. This will give you a sense of your sales pipeline and will help in forecasting revenue.

Lastly, and obviously, you'll be keeping track of their closed deals and sales revenue.

For a Complete Sales Operating System, check out GCE Strategic Consulting. It's a great out-of-the box system for small businesses.