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Sales Make it Happen

The New Sales Professional

Most companies expect their sales teams to identify prospects, provide product or service information, and persuade buyers to purchase. So, why pay to staff a marketing department? Isn't it the marketing department's job to identify bona fide prospects, build interest in the company's products or services, and generate sales?

The primary task of marketing in any organization is to know the customer so intimately that when she is exposed to the company's product or service, she immediately sees that it fits what she wants, and is willing to explore a purchase. If the marketing department, in the business-to-business sales world, does its job and fills a company's sales funnel with prospects and customers who are ready to buy, the role of the salesperson will change. No longer responsible for demand creation, the salesperson's role will evolve from persuader to facilitator, and with that evolution will come increased responsibilities and accountabilities.

Instead of selling, in the traditional sense, the new sales professional will manage expanded activities as an agent for both the company and the customer. These expanded activities will include interfacing with internal departments that impact the customer's purchasing experience, negotiating agreements that benefit all parties, and listening for opportunities to tailor products and services to customers' current and future needs. As the customer's agent, consultant, advisor and voice, the salesperson will work with the company and help figure out how to create and deliver what satisfies customers and keeps them loyal for as long as possible.

The expanded role of professional salespeople will make them increasingly more important in the company's revenue generation process. As the role of the salesperson evolves from persuader to facilitator, everyone benefits. The company is able to provide products and services that satisfy customer wants and needs, the customer gets what she wants when she wants it, and the sales professional enjoys enhanced status in the eyes of the customer and the company.

It's a great time to be a professional salesperson. If you remain in the game, you'll have an opportunity, soon, to grow your skills to levels you might not have previously imagined. Those skills will be valued by employers even more tomorrow than they are today, and one day you will be recognized, evaluated and compensated for your ability to drive customer satisfaction and retention.

--- from the desk of a retired, successful leasing company president.