Written by Ralph Burns, a consistently top-performing sales manager with over 20 years of sales and sales management experience, the goal of the blog is to inform, entertain and interact with sales managers and aspiring sales managers in every industry, experience level and walk of life.
The job of a top sales manager is a lot like old-school video gaming. The more you succeed, the deeper you get into the game, the harder the challenges get thrown your way. And the same is true for sustaining the revenue growth of a large company.
Success breeds imitation.
Look at it this way. According to a worldwide CEO survey, most CEOs these days are putting focus on revenue growth rather than cutting down on prices and meeting consumers halfway. The same CEOs are also looking to be more flexible in satisfying the changing needs of consumers. But this isn’t a recent phenomenon. In fact the situation hasn’t changed since 1997, when the industrial average grew only 5%. After tax profits stayed at a humble 0.5%.
Why is it that a lot of sales managers and CEOs are having a hard time maintaining positive company growth for a sustained period of time?
Because success inspires imitation. Morningstarwrites, “Success breeds competition as surely as night follows day.”
The lifecycle of success and its eventual fallout is presented below.
o Service/product is introduced to address a problem.
o Service/product is a huge success. Competition enters the market.
o Competitors struggle to differentiate themselves, resulting to complex but ineffective products or services.
o Complexity blurs differentiation.
o Market is oversaturated resulting to loss of revenue.
So what can you pull as a top sales manager to stop, or at least slow down, this downward spiral? There are three tried-and-true methods, which are:
1. Fix your sales force
Most companies believe that the product or service is everything. If you could put a superior product on the shelves, no one cares who does the selling, right?
Wrong. A superior product or service is useless if consumers aren’t “getting it”. As a top sales manager, you should be handling a team of articulate sales people who could convince consumers the real value of the product or service your company has to offer. These kinds of sales reps are your sales superstars. They’ll go a long way into helping you sell more and sustain a stable company growth.
2. Offer solutions, not commodities
When one product becomes successful, it is inevitable that too many others like it will start showing up in the market, like wild mushrooms. Over time people will see your product as a mere commodity.
This is where the top sales manager comes in. As a top sales manager, you need to be able to position your product or service as a “solution” to the consumer’s problem and not just a product or a service per se. It’s the reason why lately you’ve been seeing a lot of variations of the slogan, “we provide the total solution for the customer”.
3. A combination of the two methods
A superior product without a skilled sales force to back it up is nothing. Likewise a skilled sales force won’t get anywhere selling an inferior product. But a combination of both – superior sales force and product/service – ensures long-term success for your company and career.
Share your tips on how to sustain long-term positive growth of your company by leaving a comment below.
Burns, Ralph. “Sales Management: Maintain Long-Term Success As A Top Sales Manager.” Sales Management Mastery | Sales Management Training, Tips and Techniques for Front Line Sales Managers. 29 Aug. 2010. Web. 07 Sept. 2010. <http://www.salesmanagementmastery.com/maintain-long-term-success-as-a-top-sales-manager-by-offering-products-and-services-as-solutions-not-commodities.php>.