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Sales should be forefront of any business, so why aren’t they?

Many business owners mistakenly prioritize social media and marketing over sales, missing out on essential revenue.

Let’s begin by saying the obvious: without sales, you don’t have a successful business (or, certainly not a scalable one anyway). After all, what is a business if it can’t actually make sales? Yet, shockingly, sales still comes down to the bottom of priorities for many business owners, who are much quicker to seek help for things like social media or marketing than they are for the one thing that will bring more revenue into their business and make them more money.

Whether they’re a solopreneur or a brand that has a team of employees, there are over 5 million SMEs in the UK and for many of them, the introduction of a sales team often comes much later than a social media team or branding team does. Whilst not every business can afford to expand and build a team of their own immediately, solo entrepreneurs can also neglect sales and leave it to the bottom of their to-do list, whilst they upskill and educate themselves in many other business areas.

 When I started my very first business aged just 21 (a children’s theatre school) many years ago,I was desperate to grow my customer base so I could make a profit. I had thought if I had a great offer, customers would flock to me but it didn’t work that way! I quickly realised that to get more families in the door, I needed to focus everything I was doing around sales. 

At this time, I couldn’t afford to make a hire so I made it my mission to teach myself everything I could about selling. And it worked. Soon I had a thriving business and started a second with my sister, which we quickly scaled again. As the business grew and I made more sales, I started to realise that what had seemed like common sense to me, wasn’t something other business owners were doing. After setting up my free Facebook community for fellow business owners during lockdown, I watched them lament at the lack of business growth and income and suddenly realised: they weren’t actually asking for the sale! The truth is everyone needs a sales department in their business, even if they’re a team of one and they’re taking on that role for themselves. I quickly became passionate about showing others why they needed to priotise sales too.

But the inability to recognise the power of sales isn’t just a problem for business beginners, as my business grew, I started to work with multi-six and seven-figure businesses, who had built teams to support all other aspects of their business but still hadn’t managed to build a sales team. 

Even larger corporations that do of course hire sales staff, do not always make training them a priority. Training in doing sales the right way (without pushy tactics or cringy pressure selling) is key. Investing in sales training has been shown to yield a return of investment of over 300% which is a pretty compelling argument for its merit if ever there was one. Yet, this doesn’t always translate into the right support.

After all, almost 50% of account executives leave roles due to a lack of training. Whilst I believe that formal qualifications are not required to be an amazing salesperson, companies that priotise training in sales are over 50% more effective than their competitors too. And this isn’t just about sales training once they start the role-the ever-changing business landscape in this digitally-driven world means consistent training is needed, especially in the online space which is constantly evolving.

We need a ripple effect when we’re supporting staff and teams to sell the right way, with integrity and putting client relationships at the heart of any business organisation. It’s not just about training sales teams either, everyone in an organisation should know how selling works and the role of the sales team as they’ll be integral to their own work too. After all, it’s counterintuitive for businesses to have an amazing website and perfect social media presence without the driving force of sales. Without sales means you’re without customers and without customers, a business can simply not survive for very long.

Charlie Day is Founder of the free Facebook community Sales is Easy If You Just Know How with Charlie Day

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