Human resources workers juggle a lot of jobs, but one job most HR professionals don’t need to worry about is sales. Still, HR should feel some responsibility for the success of the sales team in that HR should increase the efficiency and effectiveness of every department in the business. To that end, here are a few ways HR can improve the performance of the sales team and boost profits for everyone.
Clarify and Underline the Employee Value Proposition
The employee value proposition (EVP) is what a company offers an employee for their skills, experiences and other assets. While this does include salary and benefits packages, it should also include other perks to help attract, engage and retain top-tier talent. For example, an excellent EVP for millennials includes schedule flexibility, feedback, transparency, and professional development opportunities.
HR needs to understand what the EVP is for their sales teams. It may be that the EVP is not enough to attract the sales talent necessary for desired performance. In that case, HR should work with sales management to improve the EVP, perhaps by offering account plans or modifying the workplace culture. Then, HR should clarify the EVP and advertise it to existing sales employees and future talent. A winning EVP will generate a winning sales team every time.
Provide Training and Resources to Enhance Sales Efforts
While some sales tactics have withstood the test of time, sales are as subject to trends as any other department in a company. That means sales staff need to stay up-to-date on developments in the industry, customer behavior, competitor behavior and more.
HR should be able to provide additional trainings, access to seminars and perhaps tuition reimbursement programs to help sales staff stay informed and current. Additionally, HR should offer tools for boosting sales, such as B2B intent data, customer data any other information sales professionals need to enhance their ability to close deals. HR might also schedule meetings with the sales department to educate them on using the latest resources – otherwise, expensive tools might go to waste.
Understand Various Sales Roles and How They Work Together
HR professionals are too familiar with how their role within a company is misunderstood. Too many outsiders believe that all HR workers are the same – or worse, that all HR workers are useless cogs in the corporate machine. The truth, which HR professionals understand, is that HR is nuanced, and each HR role is critical to company success.
The same is true within sales, and those in HR would do well to recognize it. Not all sales staff are identical; a company could have as many as 14 specialized sales roles. Plenty of expert salespeople fail to flourish when placed in the wrong role. For example, a top salesperson in new account acquisitions may fall to the bottom when expected to nurture relationships in long-term customer accounts. Sales should form a cohesive machine, and like any machine, it is vital to recognize and respect the discrete parts.
Understand Sales Strategy to Understand Talent Requirements
Offering new tools for sales and recognizing the structure of sales roles is not the same as understanding sales strategy. HR should talk to sales leaders about how sales professionals make decisions about products, tactics, customers and more. Some questions HR might ask of sales include:
- Which products provide the greatest return?
- How are customers segmented?
- Do sales use specific sales strategies to drive growth?
- What type of sales resources are needed in each channel?
- How much productivity is expected?
- What performance measures are in place?
Using this information, HR can more effectively attract talent to fill holes in the sales strategy and build sales success.
Pay Attention to Every Level of Sales Performance
Too often, HR focuses intently on the top or the bottom of any given department, but the most power for change lies in the middle. Instead of giving too much attention to low performers (who tend to produce just 3 percent of an average company’s revenue) or high performers (who produce about 52 percent), HR should incentivize middle performers to increase their efforts. Even a modest positive change to the middle can have will effects, so HR should develop plans to address this oft-forgotten section of sales.
HR and sales go hand-in-hand – just like HR and every other department within a company. Still, HR can take responsibility for the success or failure of sales, especially if they aren’t doing enough to support sales staff. HR teams should take the above steps to bolster their sales efforts today.