Is Commercial Management the End of the Hierarchy? In a sales organization, the roles are clearly defined: a sales manager, zone managers, land managers and sales representatives. However, the many technological innovations, increasingly tough competition and increased professional mobility have upset the pyramid hierarchy, requiring a rethinking of commercial management with a more transverse system, where autonomy, communication, mutual aid and coaching are the new pillars.
How can these Changes be Applied to the Commercial Forces?
Give power to your Sales People
What do salespeople need to deliver their full potential? In 2017, we no longer manage employees, we coach them. On the other hand, we manage activities and performance. Coaching is a leadership skill that draws the full potential of a salesperson by allowing it to focus on the activities and behaviors that lead to the expected results. To do this, it is essential to give the sales people all the tools necessary to monitor their performance.
To be autonomous, the salesperson must be able to analyze his own performance. That’s where the manager comes in. He must listen attentively to his employees but also find the right words to help the salesperson interpret the various signals: verbal signals of course, but also the unspoken. Expressions, postures and omissions are all signs that must be analyzed and used to accompany teams.
To gain autonomy, the salesperson can also enrich his argument, his knowledge of the product / service and improve his performance, must evolve constantly. Why not set up micro-formations, accessible at any time and on any platform (Smartphone, computer, tablet …)? On some platforms, salespeople can, for example, consult short training videos or quizzes that will respond perfectly to these needs.
Build on Internal Communication
Communication is the keystone of your business organization. Three aspects of internal communication must be taken into account:
- Communication with the marketing department. This is still too common in companies: non-aligned marketing and commercial strategies. By aligning the strategies of both teams, it is a clear vision of the future of the company that you will provide to employees.
- Communication from the top of the hierarchy downwards. In recent years, the contact between the different hierarchical strata has been facilitated by the advent of many technological tools. Use less formal mediums (instant messaging for example) that allows to establish more personal and warm exchanges, in particular to re-booster your teams.
- Communication from the bottom up. Encourage your teams to put together feedback from the field: for example, it may be beneficial for the entire sales organization to communicate good practices from customers and prospects, or sales advice on a specific product.
Why not test the Holacratie?
An organizational trend called “holacratie”, which first emerged in the United States, has met many adepts in France in recent years. Holacratie relies first on the “sales department” of the company, then on a structure in circles. Each circle corresponds to an activity, without this being hierarchical: roughly, a circle for accounting, a circle for maintenance, a circle for the commercial organization, and so on.
Within each circle, the organization is alive and can evolve according to needs. A person takes the role of “first link”, but cannot organize or reorganize the circle as he sees fit: this requires going through the “governance meeting”. It is therefore a matter of leaving all employees the opportunity to express themselves and make proposals. The idea is not to discuss the hours to find all the solutions but to solve the problems one by one by sharing each idea.
Holacratie is forms of horizontal management that can help a sales organization find solutions in teams, by changing the hierarchy. But it is essential for this method to work that employees adopt vision and communication as core values of the company.