Does your business make beautiful music?

Don’t have enough sales? That’s easy – just hire another salesman, right? Well … maybe that’s the best answer, but there are other things you should consider first and other actions you can take that will make an even great impact.

Is the rest of your business a finely honed, selling engine? Have you designed it to drive sales growth and support any sales efforts? If not, you need to examine your business processes – and sales processes – from a different perspective. Appropriately skilled sales staff form just one component part – albeit an important one – in your sales engine.

Does your business work like the parts of an orchestra?

Although this article focuses on sales, it’s easier to illustrate the various components by using a different example: what’s the difference between a room full of people who can all play a musical instrument and an orchestra playing a beautiful symphony? The ability to play an instrument is like selling skills – vital to producing good music, but, by itself, not enough to play a piece of music designed for many instruments. So what’s missing?

First, they all need to being playing from the same musical score – there has to be a documented, well communicated plan, written and available in a language appropriate to each musician. It’s the same in your business – everyone who is involved in any way with customers and getting products to customers, needs to act according to a plan. At the highest level, this sales plan comes from your Business Plan and can involve almost everyone in your business.

The orchestra also needs the right type of instruments and in the appropriate number – thirty drummers would soon drown out the music of one violin. Yet amazingly enough, some businesses allow themselves to grow in such an unbalanced way; one salesman may be expected to cater for a massive factory, or a single order dispatcher might be forced to send out orders brought in by twenty salespeople. A symphony uses a score to keep all the musicians working together appropriately and a company uses a sales plan which is tied to a business plan.

In addition, someone needs to determine the optimum number and type of instruments to perform the score and a conductor needs to manage the interactions of all the instruments during a performance. Management carries out both of these functions in a business, selecting the optimum balance of different skills and preparing plans, targets and incentives to motivate each person to carry out his or her function. Management must work to the same plan as the employees. Imagine the orchestra musicians using a different score from the conductor and the discord that would result.

Finally, consider the all those things an appreciative audience forgets when listening to a perfectly performing orchestra – lights, space, acoustics, ambiance, stagehands behind the scenes enabling the players and conductor. Businesses have these important extras as well. Consider mobile phones, support staff, adequate office space, IT support – there are myriad support systems that can make all the difference between a good sales performance and outstanding success.

Think of your business sales process like all the components of a sales engine – to turn that engine into a high performance tool, all the parts need to be in order and work together. Understanding and designing your ‘sales engine’ with this thought in mind will enable you to race ahead and allow you to perform just like a world renowned orchestra!

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