Selling vs Administrating
Back when I was beginning my sales career, a senior representative was assigned the task of showing me the ropes. He gave me one piece of advice:
“If you want to be successful in sales, get up one hour earlier and stay up one hour later. Use that time to make one extra call each day. It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you’ve made 250 additional calls. Those additional calls will make you successful.”
Administrative Sales Support is a Key to Success
This approach to sales worked well because of how we did business back in those days. The more time you focused on building relationships and selling, the more successful you were. And you could focus nearly all your time on selling, because you had limited administrative needs and most organizations had ample internal support.
There were people who personally answered calls throughout the business day, instead of calls going into voice mail. People who answered questions and provided information on the spot. People who engaged in solving customers’ problems.
With limited administrative needs, the requirements usually did not call for customization and individualized attention. When it came to creating sales presentations, for example, one size usually fit all. The additional resellers’ demands for support and resources weren’t administratively complicated to fulfill.
Fast Forward to the Present
The current business landscape is far more challenging for sales and marketing professionals. Today’s territory managers are time challenged because they’re doing significantly more administrative work to meet the demands of resellers.
Increased Administrative Tasks
In many sales organizations—internal or external—the trend has been to reduce staff and to automate tasks. At the same time, the number of communications channels we use has grown to webinars, emails, texts, phone, and face-to-face contact. In addition, volume of communications has increased exponentially.
We all know how many emails are typically received per customer, per week. They add up to hundreds (and thousands) of communications. It can take an overwhelming amount of time to manage and respond to each one.
Increased Resellers’ Demands and Needs
Addressing reseller’s demands requires greater customization and expertise. For example, here are just a few of the tasks that need to be performed or oversee:
- Item set-up
- Digital marketing plans
- Program management
- Engagement strategy
- Collateral materials
Are we selling or are we administrating?
Inevitably, these communications and needs demand administrative attention along with the core sales and relationship building needed for successful transactions. With limited time, we need to answer both requirements.
At Midwest Resource Group, we emphasize what others have been forced to de-emphasize: a dedicated, full-service administrative department. That gives our managing partners and territory managers more time to devote to building relationships and selling. Working as a team with focused, trained, administrative experts acts as a force multiplier in the sales process. We can interface more and confidently fulfill the resellers’ requirements.
Times have changed, but, that advice my first sales mentor gave me, still holds some truth. However, to make the extra calls, we need to be able to focus and not be bogged down administratively.