Sales people have a reputation of working independently to tackle prospect and customer needs. With advancements in technology, competitive influence, and increasing time pressures sales people cannot own all sales activities and excel in most sales roles today. World Class sales professionals know which resources they can rely on and delegate any activity that can be successfully executed by a support team member.
What should support resources assist with? Any task that allows your highly paid sales resources to spend more time converting prospects and adding value to customers. This also includes Sales Management activities. Support resources can free up Sales Management’s time so it can be spent on key leadership activities.
Examples of Support Activities:
- Presentation construction
- Proposal Generation
- CRM entry
- Metric tracking
- New Account Setup
- Customer Service Support
- Product/Service Specifications
- Post-sales support
- Forecasting / Reporting
- Lead tracking
The amount and type of support required will depend on the sales roles you deploy. Generalists typically cover more products and require greater product or service support. It is very difficult for a generalist to be well versed in every offering they represent. Specialists typically require more focused support resources that are dedicated to their function. For example, a sales rep specialized by selling activity such as a hunter would be focused on generating more leads.
How many support personnel do you need to meet your sales force structure requirements? Below is a simple process.
- Measure the amount of time your sales force currently spends on non-selling tasks versus desired future state
- If possible, move non-selling tasks to existing support staff
- Based on the remaining non-selling hours, calculate the required number of support staff FTEs
Validate this number by looking at your competitors support structure and asking your sales people what they think a realistic number is.
Once you define the number of support resources you need, hire for the required role competencies. Onboard properly to ensure support resources are viewed as competent value added resources. Ensure task accountability is clear so sales people don’t continue to perform duties that are in the non-selling bucket due to fear of them slipping through the cracks. Defining the correct support structure for your sales force is an integral part of your Go to market strategy.