As soon as your brewery starts to grow, you’ll inevitably come to a point where you need to establish and develop a sales team. Here are 5 key points to remember to help you get the best from your sales team investment.
1. AGREE AND CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOP YOUR SALES PROCESS
Every company creates its own sales story and process. Usually it starts with the founders who have to go out in person to tell their story and persuade people to buy their beer.
When you start to employ a “Sales Team” you need to educate them in the “Sales Story” and ensure they follow it;
· You can provide a pre-devised sale process or you can work in collaboration to devise an agreed procedure. The collaborative approach often works better as your team will feel more empowered to think for themselves and improve their approach.
· Once out there don’t leave your sales team to their own devices, ensure you have visibility of their activities and what they are saying.
· Constantly check to ensure no problems are emerging, it’s not necessarily a case of micro-managing their every move, but to start with, both you and your team need to be clear as to what is expected.
2. BE CLEAR ON TARGETS AND ENSURE THEY ARE REASONABLE
· Ensure you develop clear and accurate targets that are understood.
· Constantly monitor to ensure they are delivering the results the company needs.
· Both commissions and bonuses are good ways to drive sales but if unattainable, they simply demotivate.
· Use commissions over the long term and bonuses on short term actions
3. USE YOUR SALES TEAM RESOURCE EFFICIENTLY
It can be tempting when you’re a small business to put all hands to the deck when you need to get some extra work done in the brewery or you have a deadline to meet. Unfortunately, if you get into the habit of giving your Sales Team other tasks, they can lose their focus on their primary purpose – to secure and sustain your sales. If you need temporary help, think about other ways you can bridge the gap and don’t just fall to using your sales people.
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team
· Some are better at cold calling & opening doors
· Others are better at managing and growing accounts for the longer term.
It’s a rare sales person who’s equally happy balancing both of these roles, so it can be more productive to split them between two different team members who’s strengths lie with one or the other of these activities.
4. REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW
Have weekly meetings with your sales team to assess progress and to talk through any issues. Don’t let these meetings slide if you want to stay on top of your sales and marketing activities. If you really want to push your sales growth forward more quickly, have a short 15 minute meeting at the start of each day. If the people are present, hold the meeting standing up (people don’t like standing around so it helps to keep the meeting to the point) simply ask three questions to each attendee.
1. What did you achieve yesterday?
2. What are you planning to do today?
3. And finally what’s potentially blocking you from doing what you need to do today?
Don’t accept excuses. If there is an issue, aim to answer it within 1 minute in front of the group. If it’s more complicated, take it ‘off-line’ to deal with after the meeting. This regular discussion helps keep people focused on what’s important which ultimately increases your chances of success.
If they are not there, do it via Skype.
5. ENSURE THERE ARE NO SALES BLOCKING PROCESSES
A sale that has taken an age to achieve can be lost in an instant if the sales ordering process acts against the buyer.
You may have the best beer in the world and a compelling sales patter, but if you make your customers jump through too many hoops with a cumbersome ordering process, they just won’t want to hang around.
Not sure if your ordering could be improved?
· Ask your customers how satisfied they are.
· Are their other beer suppliers doing a better job in this regard and could they offer tips for how you could improve your service to them?
· Online ordering forms for example could speed up the process.
· Sending an order confirmation or checking that the order is satisfactory with a post-delivery phone call/Text are other ways to improve performance in this regard.
Constantly check that your customer’s route to purchase your product is as smooth and simple as you can make it!
To discuss your sales team management further, why not arrange a ‘no obligation’ chat with one of our associates.
All of the above is easier if you have a clear “Sales Plan”
You should have a simple plan written down. It should cover the following areas;
· It should include a summary of your sales objectives for the year,
· Your brand proposition ie. What’s so special about your beer, what’s your brand promise.
· There should be sections outlining your customer segments, target areas, a step-by-step sales process, target sales numbers vs last years sales numbers for each product in your range.
· A calendar of sales activities through the year.
· A sales budget detailing your sale-related expenditure and the resources you’ll need to support your sales activities.
If you would like a “Sales Plan” template please just drop us a line and we can provide you with a template & guidance notes.