There are many reasons why sales in any organization should be more engine-like. That is why managers should look beyond the salesperson to a wider view of their organization’s sales success. This article examines the concept of the sales engine and how its application can really get managers thinking.
Why is the engine a good analogy for sales?
We are forever saying that sales should be the engine of every business and that the sales function should be more engine-like. But what comes to your mind when you think of engine? Well, here are 7 of the most common associations and why they make the sales engine a good analogy for selling:
[expand title=”An Engine Produces Consistent & Repeatable Results” tag=”h3″]
Applying the engine concept to selling poses the following questions:
- How effective is your sales and marketing?
- Does there is consistent and repeatable process for sales?
- Does the approach consistent for each sales person, or sales opportunity?
[expand title=”An Engine Is Of Central Importance” tag=”h3″]
The engine is at the core of any vehicle, or machine – so too sales is inimical to the organisation’s success. The key questions in this respect include:
- Is sales and marketing a key priority within the organisation?
- Does it have full organisation-wide support?
- Does it get the time and resources it deserves?
- Is it a key part of organisational culture?
[expand title=”An Engine Can Be Active or Idle” tag=”h3″]
An engine only works if it is active, and revving it up is the first step to increasing output. This poses the question in relation to sales:
- How active, indeed proactive; is your sales and marketing?
- For example, is there enough sales prospecting, or sales meetings to achieve the results required?
- How effective is the activity?
[expand title=”Lots Of Parts Working In Unison” tag=”h3″]
An engine has many component parts working in unison. So too with a successful sales organisation, so making it more engine-like approach poses the following questions:
- How well co-ordinated are your sales and marketing efforts across your organisation?
- Do marketing and sales work well together?
- How integrated are your various sales and marketing initiatives, or campaigns?
- Are all aspects of selling – from lead generation to account management – working well?
[expand title=”Automates The Work/Effort” tag=”h3″]
An engine automates some of the work, making the outcome depend less on the effort, or the individual. It does not mean that the driver (in this case the salesperson) is not important, but that he, or she can achieve more).
This poses the following questions:
- How dependent is your organisations sales success on the efforts on individual salespeople?
- What does your organisation do to maximise the effectiveness of the salesperson in his, or her efforts?
- What does your organisation do to ensure that although sales people may come and go sales effectiveness is unhindered?
- To what extent have elements of sales and marketing been made more efficient through the use if information technology? For example capturing enquiries via the web, or triggering diary alerts of next actions against any sales opportunity)?
[expand title=”There Are Engine Controls” tag=”h3″]
An engine is highly regulated, it works within defined parameters and provides the driver the instruments and dials to monitor and control performance. If only the same could be said of sales, as managers strive for greater visibility, predictability and control. That poses the following questions in respect of the sales engine:
- Does management have visibility of what is happening?
- Do managers have all the information they need?
Can they track performance in real time?
- Is there a central repository for all sales and marketing related information?
- Are key metrics – the motoring equivalent of MPH and MPG – readily available to managers?
- How accurate and sophisticated is sales forecasting?
[expand title=”Engines Need Occasional Fine Tuning” tag=”h3″]
An engine needs fine-tuning from time to time, otherwise its effectiveness and efficiency will suffer. Without ongoing maintenance it will start to burn gas, loose power down and may ultimately cease up altogether. A sales organization requires ongoing maintenance too – that is new spark-plugs, an oil change and some fine-tuning. The engine analogy in respect of sales poses the following maintenance related questions:
- How is the performance of your sales organization measured?
- Do managers have a dashboard that provides key information relating to sales performance?
- Are metrics used to measure how well the sales organization is running?
- When was the last time new skills, strategies, or techniques were adopted?
Sales Engine®: Change of words, or Change of Perspective?
While from ‘sales person’ to ‘sales engine’ is a small change of words, but a major mindset shift. That is: sales is not just about the salesperson but:
- All the people, processes, plans, systems and structures required to ensure sales success.
- A more integrated, systematic, and structured approach to sales and marketing in their organizations.
When managers focus on sales as the engine of their business, then opportunities to accelerate sales growth immediately present themselves. These are not limited to the salespeople and his, or her efforts, but to every aspect of how the organization sells.