The Pipeline Guest Post – Chase Hughes
As small companies grow, they often see a specialization emerge in their salesforce which only grows to increase its segmentation from one another. The sales department grows to become independent from the customer service, marketing, and other areas of the business. As a startup company, many sales forces intermingle with other departments as they are often in the same floor, right next to one another, and may even be the same person. As companies grow, they can learn from these early stage companies by cross-training their sales team in other areas, or at least promoting engagement with other areas that impact sales. This admittedly does require an investment, but in this article, we will explore five points for why it is helpful to cross-train your sales team.
1. They have a deeper understanding of the customer
The most effective companies have a very strong understanding of their target customer including their demographics, psychographics, and on an emotional level. If a lead generation salesperson has very little interaction with the customer, it would be very difficult to understand any of these points. However, if they interacted with the marketing department, they would be able to effectively understand the quantitative variables from the marketing team and the emotional aspects from the account managers.
2. They understand how their behavior impacts the company more
When a person playing a single role within a company does not have substantial interaction, it is unlikely that they will understand how their behavior impacts others in the company. For instance, a salesperson that only focuses on closing may say things to the customer that negatively impacts the relationship. They really may not care so long as the deal is sold, but the customer may not last long.
3. They feel more engaged with the company
If salespeople understand the role that they play in the pipeline, then they may see the significance of their engagement with it. If they are highly isolated from the company, they do not have much interaction to see how their results influence others in the company, the customers, and the company in its entirety.
4. They have a better understanding of the unique selling proposition
The unique selling proposition for a company is generally not something simply listed on paper; it must be fully understood. If salespeople are interacting with everyone and cross-trained in some other areas, they may see the ‘big picture’ about how the company is actually unique, not just read a script which states why.
5. Other customer facing employees may benefit from their sales experience
Cross-training sales teams and getting them exposure to other parts of the company isn’t just for the benefit of your sales team. There may be product managers which can benefit from interaction with your account managers and ‘closers’ benefiting from training from lead generation experts. Everyone has something to learn and it may not be your sales department at all.
About Chase Hughes
Chase Hughes has six years of experience working in the consulting sector and three years in the private equity sector for large multi-nationals and emerging startups. He is the founding partner of Pro Business Plans, a service that writes business plans for debt and equity capital for startups.