How To Define A Sales Role

How do you define the role of a sales person? At first the answer seems obvious – a sales person sells products or services – but in fact a sales role isn’t always so easy to define.

These days, selling can be a long and involved process. For large organizations whose products or services need a more complex sales team, defining which team members qualify as sales people can be challenging.

For example, some services take a couple of years to fully implement and a large team is involved in the eventual implementation. In cases like that, which of those team members qualify as sales people?

The Importance Of Defining A Sales Role

It’s important to define what qualifies as a sales role for two reasons:

  • Your business knows which staff members deserve recognition as part of the selling process. This can help decide things like salary or who gets paid commissions.
  • Staff members are clear on whether their role is a sales role or not, and what targets they are expected to meet. Clear knowledge of roles and responsibilities is a must in any organization

It’s clear that defining a sales role is important. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

The Definition Of A Sales Role

There are two main prerequisites for being a sales person. A sales person must:

  • Have a direct relationship to and communication with the client. Many people within a team might bring revenue through establishing third channel sales, but that’s not the same as being in a sales role (it falls more into the category of business development). A sales person is one who builds and nurtures a direct relationship with the client.
  • Have the opportunity at any stage of the relationship to persuade the client to change their behavior or take action. Once discussions are open, a sales person is the one with the opportunity, skills and motivation to guide client behavior towards purchase.

Core Activities Of The Sales Role

Now we understand what defines a sales role (direct relationship with the client plus the opportunity to influence client behavior), it becomes easier to define the core activities that comprise a sales role:

  • Identification of targets and buyers. In many companies now the marketing department is also involved with identifying leads and driving initial interest. However, identifying potential target businesses and defining which person within the company to best approach is still very much the responsibility of a sales person.
  • Stimulating interest. Identifying potential prospects is vital, but once those prospects are found there is still the issue of how to stand out from the competition. Even customers who know they want a product like yours may need some persuading that yours is a better choice than any other on the market. Stimulating interest and then fanning that flame until the customer is ready to purchase is the responsibility of the sales person.
  • Closing the sale. Once a potential buyer has been identified and there is definite awareness of and interest in your product, it’s the responsibility of the sales person to drive that opportunity forward and close the sale. Depending on your business and services, the sales person might also be responsible for fulfilling the order or delivering the service.
  • In certain cases, a sales role also includes a level of account management and client support. A sales person sometimes needs to act as a liaison between their business and their client, with a view to keeping the contract rolling and keeping up client relationships and interest (this is distinct from technical support).

Clearly defining the sales role helps your business develop a strong sales team who understand their roles and have the right focus, which ultimately means better client relationships and more revenue for your business.

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