Small businesses often start out with the owner being the sole sales representative, but as time goes on, this can become impractical and can end up limiting the potential for growth. In such instances, the business owner may need to consider handing over the responsibility of sales generation to someone else.
Options for sales models
If this brings to mind the door-to-door salesman of old, those days are definitely gone. There are plenty of other modern sales models and methods that SME owners can use to expand their businesses.
Here are a few to consider.
Hiring a sales representative or team
Having a dedicated sales rep or team can enable you to focus on running the business while your team promotes your product and generates sales. You can either hire people as employees (which will involve wages, superannuation, leave considerations and so on) or as contractors who provide you with an invoice.
In either case, when it comes to hiring sales personnel, you need to look for people who:
- Have a good track record and positive references.
- Will deliver a high level of commitment to your product or service.
- Have plenty of enthusiasm, integrity, and professionalism.
- Demonstrate excellent communication skills.
- Will be a good ‘fit’ for your organisational culture.
Hiring sales personnel can be a viable option if you have a retail outlet (physical or online) and your customer base is growing.
Hiring a sales manager
You might also consider hiring a sales manager to hire personnel, manage the sales team, develop sales strategies and goals, generate reports, and monitor performance. This can be a great way to free up your time, so you can concentrate on other goals. It will involve handing over a considerable amount of control though, so it’s important the sales manager you hire is right for your business.
Hiring a sales agent or broker
These are independent sales reps or brokers who earn a percentage of sales rather than a wage. This option can provide a better solution for SMEs that do not have the budget for a full sales team. It also means you only pay when you get a result – and of course it’s in the interests of the agent to generate sales.
The downside might be that agents often have many clients to work with, and so might not have the same commitment to your business as a dedicated sales team or representative. With an agent you are also likely to have less control than with your own sales team.
Using a telemarketing company
A good telemarketing company should be able to directly call potential clients, take orders, track shipments and respond to customer queries.
This option can be lower in cost than hiring a sales team or broker. However, telemarketers can tend to have a negative image with the public, which should be taken into consideration.
Ideas for sales methods
There are many other methods for generating sales, including:
- eNewsletters – these can provide a good way to connect with customers and generate leads.
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) and content marketing – these methods can make your website more visible and appealing to customers.
- Social media – another good way to connect with current and potential customers and generate leads and sales – often at a very low cost.
- Marketing sharing – such as affiliate marketing, customer referrals and testimonials, and brand partnerships.
- Consultative selling – this focuses on building relationships with clients by offering a free service to start with. An example might be offering a free one-hour consultation for legal services.
Have a sales plan in place
Whichever model or method you use, you should have a documented plan of action for sales. This includes:
- Determining what the objectives are for your sales department from the outset.
- Developing methods for measuring sales productivity.
- Ensuring your sales teams are providing good service (including post-sales) to your customers.
- Making sure promises are being delivered on.
Keep in touch with customers
Ongoing communication with customers is also vital for building relationships and generating more leads and sales. There are a number of options for this, including phone, email, and virtual fax where you have the option to send and receive faxes online. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn