You know exactly how important a strong sales department is to the success of your business. But just developing those areas isn’t enough to maximize growth. If you’re neglecting your sales infrastructure, it could hold you back from real growth – and put all your efforts to waste.
These are the fundamentals that, if done right, will allow your business to scale and thrive for the future.
What is a Sales Infrastructure?
Let’s start by getting detailed about what exactly your sales infrastructure consists of. If the entirety of your current sales plan entails asking your salespeople to sell as many products or services as possible, you don’t have a sales infrastructure.
A sales infrastructure is the framework that supports all of your sales efforts. Building a robust sales infrastructure ensures your company is supporting your sales and marketing people from the lead generation process right through to the final sale and beyond.
In addition, a sales infrastructure makes sure your sales process is as consistent, frictionless, and works as efficiently as possible. And it helps your business scale – with growth now and over the years as well.
The Building Blocks of Sales Infrastructure
Your sales infrastructure has four components, and each one is important to the health of your sales organization.
Your sales team is the foundation of your success. Ensuring your employees are carefully selected, thoughtfully trained, and highly motivated (we’ll talk about this below) puts you on the road to success.
And having the right sales staff isn’t enough – you also need the right sales leadership in place to motivate your teams and develop a strong strategic and collective vision for the future.
Do you have a thoughtful and comprehensive sales strategy in place? This strategy has several elements. Goals for the sales department are important but asking them to make as many sales as possible isn’t good enough.
- Do you have clearly defined customer targets?
- Do you have clearly defined services and or products and how they deliver value to your prospective or current customers?
- Also, do you have a true understanding of your sales cycle?
- Have you defined where your target customers are geographically and defined sales territories?
All of these components are required to align to your company’s selling strategy.
Are your sales processes organized and clear to your sales team?
For example, do you have a process in place for evaluating leads and converting them to opportunities and walking them down a defined path to a sale, or is your team losing leads and getting deals “stuck” in their pipeline that never close?
If your processes are in place and regularly reviewed, your sales infrastructure and process will enable a more effective sales department.
KPI’s, Technology and Tools
An unglamorous but essential part of your sales infrastructure, your kpi’s, your technology and tools all play a key part in your success. If your technology is out of date or you’re lacking the tools to clearly sort and track leads and sales, your team will soon fall behind.
In addition, regularly assessing if your technology is giving your sales team the support they need to do their jobs efficiently is an important step. You need the metrics, KPIs, and scorecards to ensure your sales organization is staying on track too.
The Goals of a Strong Sales Infrastructure
It’s critical to take the time to answer the tough questions above to assess the health of your current sales process.
But once you’ve done that, how do you begin building a strong sales infrastructure?
The goals of a strong sales infrastructure can be distilled into three areas:
1. Continuous improvement.
If you don’t have regular and thoughtful processes in place to review what’s working well on your sales team and what isn’t, how can you improve? Without a system in place to evaluate and review progress, nobody will know how to proceed when it comes time to make a change.
2. Optimizing your processes.
Similar to improving things that aren’t working as well as they should, it’s important to review processes and data to find out what is actually successful.
Maybe one of your sales reps has a much higher close rate than the rest of their teammates – what makes their approach different? If you’re holding regular reviews and check-ins, you might find something one individual or team is doing that can be applied to the rest of the team or department, and in the end it could raise sales across the board. Regular team meetings are a great vehicle to facilitate idea-sharing!
3. Reducing sales staff turnover.
When your sales reps are left to their own devices without any training or regular check-ins, performance can suffer. A rep who has the potential to excel but lacks the right resources and doesn’t get timely feedback will get frustrated and search for better opportunities elsewhere. And that turnover hits your bottom line, both in hiring costs and the loss of institutional knowledge.
Focus on Your People and Your Organization
One of the biggest takeaways from learning about sales infrastructure is that there are steps needed at both the individual and organizational level.
For the organization
A strong sales infrastructure starts with organizational processes and clarity. Companies that define and implement a clear sales process regularly outperform companies that don’t.
What to reach for is that your organization as a whole becomes clear on:
- what excellence looks like
- where it stands today
- where it’s heading tomorrow
- and what resources you have for your staff
When this happens, everyone will be in a much better position. This kind of clarity provides motivation for your individual employees. It also serves as a framework to thoughtfully evaluate the overall health and vision of your company. And of course, it sets you up to bring in record sales.
For your individual employees
It’s no secret that employees who understand how they’re contributing to the larger goals of their company are more motivated to succeed. That’s just how human nature works.
But a strong sales infrastructure offers more than motivation. It also offers accountability for sales reps and marketing personnel. Without a process for training (or coaching) and regular feedback, team members can struggle and soon feel less a part of something greater. If they’re stuck with inefficient processes – starting from scratch for each new lead, not knowing what kinds of sales prospects they should be targeting – your sales will suffer, and morale will decline.
By contrast, with a thoughtful sales infrastructure in place, your employees will feel supported and clear on their (and your) goals. They will know what they’re supposed to do, and the most effective way to accomplish each goal. And they’ll get regular feedback about their achievement status.
Supporting Your Sales and Your Strategy
Sales infrastructure doesn’t sound like the area you should be focusing on immediately as a business leader. However, lacking a well-defined one (that could be the missing piece in your business strategy) might be stunting your long-term company growth.
Have you noticed a slower sales closing rate than expected, or your sales force seems disorganized or demotivated? Take a look at your sales infrastructure and you might find some surprising revelations.
We Can Help Improve Your Sales Infrastructure
You’ve got a lot on your plate as a business owner. So, to expedite meeting and exceeding your sales goals, it might be time to call in reinforcements.
If you need an expert guide to review your sales process and infrastructure, 360 Consulting is here to help. We work with companies from small to large in all B2B industries. Schedule your free consultation here to find out how we help sales teams break sales records.