sales concept service product and relationship hand drawing on whiteboard

When distributors are looking to increase sales, they typically consider two things:
1.   Adding inside and outside salespeople
2.   Investing in coaching and training

Of the two, coaching and training usually are the most effective and "profitable route to take," according to Mike Sawchuk, President of Sawchuk Consulting, who helps distributors improve their sales operations.

"The coaching and training may not necessarily be for the salespeople, but for the owners of the distribution company. These owners must make sure they are giving their salespeople the right tools and the environment they need to succeed."

To determine the strengths and weaknesses of their organization, distributors should ask themselves the following four questions:

1)   Do you provide your salespeople with clear, consistent communication?
Distributors need to set priorities for their salespeople; create expectations and rules about how their salespeople spend their time; ensuring they know what is expected of them. According to Sawchuk, distributors must also set sales goals for their staff and track their performance. "What gets measured, gets done."

2)   What are you measuring?
Distributors should be measuring the number of opportunities each salesperson has; revenue potential per opportunity; "win rate" of the sales rep; along with sales cycle time to close.

3)   Are you clear on the key performance indicators?
Distributors need to know the activities that drive each key performance indicator (KPI) they are measuring? They also need to know the selling skills that drive each KPI. If the reps are effectively doing these activities, then sales results will increase.

4)   Are you providing content to assist your sales team?
Your marketing department should be providing customer-focused web content. The content should not be about you, your company, or its products or services. Instead, it should address the needs and challenges of the customer. The sales team can then blast and share the content via their social media vehicles.