Having personally lead sales teams in China since 2000 and having worked with companies across multiple B2B and B2C industries as sales & marketing consultant, trainer and coach, I know that we all share similar concerns about our Sales Force:

  • Are we getting the most out of our China Sales Force?
  • Are our Sales Processes guiding, supporting and not hampering our Sales Force?
  • Do our Sales People employ a structured, targeted and result oriented sales approach?
  • Do our Sales People know that objections often are opportunities to (up-/cross-)sell?
  • Is our Sales Organization structured according to our business divisions or the market?
  • How can we measure effectiveness of our Sales Force without micro-managing?
  • How can we stabilize a volatile Sales Force over the long-run?

The continuing issues with Sales in China are not isolated to any particular industry, company origin or organizational size.

Surely, large multinational organizations may have more resilient, and often automated processes along which their Sales Force operate – yet, ultimately sales and the act of selling boils always down to the individual Sales Person and the individual customer, where the real impact of effective selling is experienced by the customer and where money is made (or not) by the company.

Stemming from my experience as sales & marketing consultant I suggest taking these 8 steps to achieve lasting improvement of your Sales Force effectiveness:

  1. Organize the Sales Force according to the market, not (only) according to – often historically grown, or Headquarters-dictated – business divisions,
  2. Establish a standardized Sales Process that guides and supports the Sales Force – eliminate unnecessary steps that slow down and lead to frustration of the Sales People,
  3. Provide – but don’t overburden – your Sales People with a simple set of easy-to-use tools along the Sales Process,
  4. Establish a steady mix of “oldies” and “newbies” – constantly refreshing the Sales Force, in a structured, sustainable manner,
  5. Provide regular education on sales approaches, tactics and soft-skills that match the outlined sales process,
  6. Educate and enable your Sales People to turn customer objections into additional sales,
  7. Only measure what the Sales Person really can influence – does performance rating based on margins really help achieve our goals, or are we missing out by diminishing motivation?
  8. Establish a process of regular measurement, progress check and feedback – without over-burdening the Sales Force with redundant reporting tasks.

Remember: to get the most out of your China Sales Force, your Sales People need to be motivated and eager, dedicated and target-oriented, confident and compelling, educated and supported, but also in particular: structured and organized.

Michael Adick
Managing Director, Articulate Ltd.