Sales is probably one of the toughest jobs out there. There are many highs but also many lows, you’re constantly chasing targets, knocking down doors, building relationships, growing company revenue and running between clients and your next sale.
Just when one sale is made, another one is expected of you. Having said this however the rewards can be exceptional, this is the one job other than being a business owner where you can write your own paycheck, the harder and smarter you work, the more you can earn. So what is fair reward for a sales person?
Says Lisa Knowles, Global Head of Recruitment at Recruitgroup: “Business owners need to make sure that the reward for their sales people is on par with what is expected of them. Sales people are motivated by making money, however the level of sales, the length of the sales cycle as well as the complexity of the product or service needs to be taken into account when deciding on what part of the salary is fixed and what part is variable. Commission and bonus structures need to be adapted around these factors.”
According to the National Income Average, Johannesburg pays 24% more than the national average. Durban pays 6% more, Cape Town pays 2% less and Pretoria pays 8% less. Basic salaries therefore need to be in proportion to these. If you have branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town, you can’t expect to pay sales consultants in these two provinces the same.
2. Years’ experience
According to Payscale.com the average basic salary for a call centre sales consultant is R99,370 per annum. Basic salary pay increases as job seniority increases for example to Field Sales, Sales Management and Sales Administration.
When deciding on making an offer to a sales consultant, their number of years’ experience, number of strong client relationships they have built and industry knowledge they have all need to be taken into account.
More experienced sales consultants may be more interested in company share options, directorship opportunities or EXCO possibilities as a form of incentive.
3. Length of sales cycle
If the product or service your business sells takes longer than a year from prospecting to closing one sale, for example software, engineering or outsourced service sales then the basic salary needs to fully cover a sales consultants monthly expenses so that they can effectively do their job and not have the stresses and strains of knowing they can’t pay their bills.
Annual bonuses and incentives work well in these scenarios. In a sales environment with a quick turnaround time for example insurance, retail and B2C sales a lower basic and high commission potential would make more sense as it would keep sales consultants motivated to bring in a high volume of sales. Incentives and spot bonuses work well in these environments.
4. Complexity of sale
Research has shown that for a highly complex sale, sales people are more motivated by stability and achievement than they are by money and therefore a structure that reflects this would probably work better. In this case a higher basic and lower commission or bonus would be more advisable.
For the right person, sales can be a highly rewarding profession. The gratification is almost instantaneous and targets should in most cases be clear and achievable. A good sales salary structure needs to be adaptable, competitive, fair and motivating.
To decide on the right salary structure for your sales consultants it is advisable to do thorough research within your particular industry in order to identify your competitors offerings as well as to identify a commission structure that will attract and retain the best sales people to and within your business.
How To Build Organisational Wealth Through Increased Efficiency
Using the right business systems can allow your staff to become more efficient through best-practices and better process flows.
As your business grows, the demands of running and managing all its parts increase. Fortunately, technology can help you standardise, streamline and adapt your operations in order to meet these increased demands. Let’s have a look at some of the ways in which you can increase efficiency to build your organisational wealth.
Integrated business units
It can be difficult to get a holistic view of what is going on in your business if information is floating between different departments and/or locations. Manually pulling data together can be very time consuming, causing delays and leaving greater room for human error.
By implementing an integrated business management solution, you can significantly increase efficiency among all your business units, allowing departments to easily share and access information. This real-time, inter-departmental integration allows you to get a birds-eye view of the performance of your business at the click of a button.
Business process automation
You can significantly save time by automating key business processes with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Accounting, for example, is much easier when details of all transactions are quickly and automatically shared between departments (no need to manually upload or download information).
Automation will enable your teams to respond to customer enquiries with alacrity and maintain optimal stock levels. Through automatic alerts and responses, relevant managers will be notified when stock reaches predetermined minimum levels. When these levels are reached, purchase orders for replenishment stock are automatically generated.
Automation also enforces consistency in your business’s day to day operations by following local and industry best-practices built into the system.
Synchronised customer data
The success of any small to medium sized business depends on getting new customers and providing excellent products and services to existing customers. Collating and sharing customer data across all departments is essential for effective customer service. SAP Business One, for example, provides the tools to track and manage the entire sales process, from initial contact and invoicing through to project management and after sales support – playing a pivotal role in customer retention management.
This complete view of past, present and prospective customers, along with historic purchases will help you to better understand your customers’ needs, behaviours and preferences. This will enable you to respond to clients effectively in order to boost satisfaction levels, increase sales, maximise profits and ultimately promote client retention. In addition, your marketing team can better plan campaigns based on insights from accurate data about prospective and current customers.
Instant access to information
You have to be able to plan properly to stay ahead of your competitors. Having access to up to date, relevant and accurate business data removes the guesswork and empowers employees to make informed business decisions. With an integrated business management system, you will be able to better manage your cash flow and stock holding with a real-time overview of current stock levels, orders in process and outstanding payments. This, in turn, will save time and allow you to better manage your procurement process and help build organisational wealth.
Who doesn’t like it when a plan comes together and things are working well? Working smarter and better – not harder – is what increased efficiency is about. Your teams will share the benefits of increased efficiency as you grow your organisational wealth together.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa: Achieving Positive Corporate Culture
How to achieve positive corporate culture in a group company.
According to management consultant Peter Drucker: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. And there’s a good chance of this being true, especially since studies have shown a direct correlation between a strong, positive organisational culture and a business’s financial success.
The importance of culture
Prof JL Heskett writes in his 2011 book, The Culture Cycle, that a positive culture can make as much as a 20-30% difference in company performance, when compared with “culturally unremarkable” opponents.
Culture is also a form of protection – strong competitors may be able to copy a strategy, but can’t duplicate a culture. Indeed, when things go wrong in the economy, public opinion, or even the strategy itself, a company’s culture can serve as a safeguard against these, because employees are faithful to it.
But… while culture is a remarkable thing, it’s difficult to define and attain.
The definition of culture
Company culture is traditionally interpreted from a corporate perspective, to include the principles, opinions, basic assumptions, and mindsets that are shared by a group. But these don’t hold any value if they aren’t entrenched in a company’s processes. This is why culture is also about action.
A company can’t create an intelligible culture without people who a) agree with its core values or b) are prepared to commit the time needed to.
Further, those employees who succeed in a company are generally those who most closely associate with the culture. If the principles and ideals of an organisation are shared, a strong culture can even support recruitment through self-selection.
As a result, leaders should spend as much time determining, collaborating on, and communicating culture as they do on strategy.
Culture in a group company
With different and broad-ranging companies working together, the goal of building and sustaining culture in a holding company can be trickier than in other organisations.
In cases like this, it’s critical for every company in the group to hold onto its own distinct culture, in ways that fit the greater business.
Simultaneously, the parent company should create a culture for all of the holding companies to attach to. Because, without a uniting mechanism, real integration can be difficult to accomplish.
The problem is: which culture is the priority? The composition of a group company evolves as it acquires and sells different companies, so a root culture is necessary; one that current and new subsidiary cultures can buy into.
Where to start
- Develop a set of principles, behaviours, and motivators for culture, and define what these mean practically.
- Write a positioning statement to share what the organisation stands for, both externally and internally. For example, Google’s is “organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful”.
- Generate a motto that summarises your culture. Google’s is: “Don’t be evil.” In other words: do positive things for the world, even if it means letting go of some short-term wins.
- Communicate these messages widely and repeat them continuously. (As obvious as this sounds, many group companies make the mistake of not communicating values to subsidiaries.)
- Invest time and resources into smoothing out the cultural differences every time a new company is acquired. This is important because an implosion of combined cultures can cost valuable talent, customers, or worse.
- Teach the culture. Not just through induction programmes for new employees, but through ongoing events, reminders, collaborations, and other ways that remind people what the culture looks and feels like.
- Share and ingrain the group’s root culture, as an element of unity.
The heart of the matter?
Peter Drucker highlights a potent triad in organisational transformation: Strategy, capabilities, and culture. He says that all three must be created together, aligned, and designed to be supportive of one another. This is more complex in group companies but, with strong communication and high levels of collaboration, a clear and productive culture is possible.
Why Deadlines Aren’t As Great As You’d Think For Creative Work
Be careful about how much time pressure you put on yourself.
Do you ever find yourself staring down at a deadline and just freeze? There is something to be said for setting a schedule for yourself and following through, especially when you are first starting a business, but recent research from Harvard finds that when you are dealing with creative pursuits, you need to give yourself enough time to breathe, otherwise you’ll just be doing busy work instead of actually building something that is truly innovative.
In an interview with Harvard Business Review’s Working Knowledge podcast, Professor Teresa Amabile said that during a hectic day, it’s possible to get a mistaken sense of creative energy powered by adrenaline simply because things were being crossed off a checklist.
“People who are under a lot of time pressure on a given day, actually feel very productive, they tend to feel very creative,” she said.
“But, here’s the interesting thing; they were actually significantly less likely to come up with creative ideas, or solve problems creatively on those days. They got a lot of stuff done, but they weren’t necessarily creative.”
She noted that in her research, people came up with the most creative solutions when they were working under low to moderate time pressure. So the next time you think about imposing an arbitrary deadline on developing new ideas, you might want to go easier on yourself.
Because feeling like you’re on a treadmill doesn’t only make your thinking more fractured, Amabile says that it also makes it tougher to find meaning in your work. So what can managers do to make sure that their employees always have time to innovate? Start with providing spaces where they can be quiet, focused and away from distractions.
“Let them understand the importance of what they’re doing, their own individual actions, and how that translates into something that will contribute to a customer need, to a societal need, to something that the company really needs to move forward,” Amabile said.
“Try to give people enough time for projects so that they can explore, so they can do that background research to get the information they need, and then so they can play with it somewhat. That doesn’t mean indefinite time frames, but it probably means longer time frames than people are usually given in most companies for most projects.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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