The Better Sales Networks
The article “The Better Sales Networks” by David Gobes and Tuba %u1E7Ast%u1E7Bner highlights the importance of social networks and other networks in creating and establishing contacts with potential customers and other related individuals. The authors provide various skills and important aspects to note in using sales networks to improve business and interact easily with different customers. The authors categorize sales into four particular stages that will be discussed further and related to the sales networks. Additionally, the two types of sales network management will also be discussed and how they influence each stage of sales. Various aspects that influence the impact of a network were also analyzed and summarized in the article.
Stages of sales
The article highlights four main stages in carrying out sales successfully. These include identifying the prospects, acquiring buy in form the potential customers, developing solutions and finally sealing the deal. In order to successfully go through all these four stages, it is important to understand their impact on sales and other factors that may play a role in ensuring that they are achieved successfully. These factors include the density of a particular network and its strength. Additionally, two types of management make it effective to carry out these four stages which include management of the flow and management of the contacts’ efforts.
Identifying the prospects
Identification of the prospects is an important step in the conduction of sales. In order to achieve this successfully, it is important to create strong sales networks which allow salespersons to widen their scope of thinking and thus acquire new prospects rather than chasing previous leads. The authors suggest that having a reliable network strategy is important as this would make it easier to get newer prospects. Here, the salespersons can also acquire information about what the clients expect and also how to improve on their products. A reliable network also makes it easy for the salespersons to reach out to newer clients and to gain unique information that would play a major role in improving the company’s status and relationship with clients.
Acquiring buy in from potential customers
In this stage the salesperson is expected to build strong relationship with potential buyers. This involves reducing the number of clients to a minimum which can function effectively with the salesperson without any hassle. This involves further penetration into the company and communication with other people from the company other than the initial contacts. In order to achieve this successfully, it is important for the salesperson to understand the functioning of the network created for prospect management and to map it out for further reference. This helps the salesperson to understand the chain of power and influence within the company and thus dedicate their time and resources on them in order to consequently gain buy-in from the company’s management and authorized decision makers.
Up-selling also plays an important role in expanding the salesperson’s network. This is achieved through interaction with different brokers from a particular network who would further introduce the salesperson to a newer network with individuals who, if resources are invested correctly on them, would prove to be beneficial to the salesperson.
Creation of solutions
Creation of solutions for a customer could further improve the relationship between the salesperson and the client. Clients prefer salespersons that are dedicated to their work and those who would go an extra mile to find information that would help the client. Consequently, the salesperson might land an account. In order to achieve this, the salesperson has to rely on their networks. The networks provide the salesperson with information from different topics related to the problem at hand. The salesperson has to rely on different experts who could work as a team to provide information and expertise on the best solutions to such problems. Eventually, solving the problem would be achieved through a small dense network to the satisfaction of the client.
Sealing the deal
This is the final stage of the sales process. By the time a salesperson reaches this stage, they have displayed their competence in presenting the product, meeting face to face with different potential customers and communicated with a lot of other individuals involved in the process. In order to close the deal successfully, the salesperson has to provide references for the customer on individuals who have dealt with the program and their success stories. This is where the salesperson’s networks play a key role. The networks provide the salesperson’s customer with assurance of the functionality of the product and also assure the customer about the competence of the salesperson. It is also important to interact and create networks with particular experts in a certain field. Such experts play a key role in vouching for an individual and also giving the customer assurance or good worth of their money.
Necessary network strategies
In this section, managers are encouraged to utilize three key levers in order to encourage their salespersons to implement the network-based view and also utilize social networks to expand their customer base. The three levers will be discussed below:
- Sales force structure
The sales force structure involves encouraging the salespersons to interact with individuals of all kinds in order to expand their customer base. It is important to note that not all salespersons are extroverts and thus the managers should try and encourage each salesperson to focus on their strengths. Additionally, the sales manager could further encourage the salespersons creating a sales structure that would not only motivate the salespersons but also previous customers who would be motivated to help. The sales manager should ensure that previous business deals do not interfere with the current progress of the company in any way such as providing references for other potential clients.
It is important to have a properly designed compensation plan that would help in improving the network management skills of the salespersons. It also helps in maximizing the flow of resources from the established networks. Managers can make this effective by making it easier for salespersons to identify the individuals they work with and further than that they can also create teams to deal with clients with support from a team of experts identified by the manager.
Development of skills
Managers should ensure that the salespersons adopt the network-based view of handling sales in order to improve and learn newer skills related to the network. This involves creating an organizational culture that would encourage the salespersons to expand their knowledge on network-based outlook of sales. Development of skills involves being able to learn a client’ personality and thus being able to help them create their own social network in order for them to serve as dependable references in the future.
In summary, the authors explain the importance of creating networks for interaction with customers and also establishing effective customer bases. Salespersons are advised to manage the flow of information effectively and also to coordinate the efforts made by the contacts in order to successfully create functional and profitable networks. Additionally, it is important to note that the creation and management of networks is not easy and it requires effort and dedication.