How can I become an effective Sales Director asap?
July 31, 2014 9:59 PM   Subscribe

I just became the Marketing & Sales Director of a startup even though I've never done sales in my life. The company has exactly one salesperson on the other side of the country and he is trying to sell a pricy (4K) piece of B2B hardware. Before this he worked at a phone service company. The company only just starting producing enough units to sell. The entire staff is counting on the two of us to magically sell machines and I don't know what to do. We're being asked for sales projections, etc. and I have no idea where to even start. Snowflake details follow.

Ask me about inbound marketing, PR, publishing, or events and I can give you answers. Sales? I am sunk. The CEO knew this when he hired me. It was almost like an afterthought: Hey, can you manage our one salesperson? And naturally the sales guy had been kept out of the loop on lots of stuff.

So successful salespeople, managers, etc.: What can I do? How do I learn to sell and, just as importantly, help my salesperson sell?

As a marketer, I've never cared about impressions or likes or page views. I've only ever cared about marketing that drives sales. But I've never actually had a job that demanded I drive sales.

I've primarily been a consultant who begged clients to do evidence-based marketing, which they refused to do because they only cared about pretty websites or creating customer personas that did not require interviewing actual potential customers. (Bitter? Nah.)

So where do I start? What do I read? What tools should I use? (we are using many different systems for data for sales, support, programming, production, etc. It is a nightmare)

Help get me started. I'm not worried about losing this job, my CEO loves me. Even if I lost this job, I could find another. I'm actually worried about losing a company. Help!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about a sales training course? I've heard there are programs that teach specific methodologies -- I guess they're aimed at existing sales teams, but I imagine that in addition to giving you the methodology they'd also give you an idea of what the main issues, approaches, and metrics are for sales.
posted by duoshao at 10:27 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

If the product, marketing, and pricing are right it isn't sales, it is order taking.

Whether you have it dialed in, or not, it is a numbers game. Right now you don't have many numbers to work with, so get some. Then try and make the, better. You could start with a spreadsheet, since you just have one sales person at this point. Or you could pick from any of a billion CRM tools. Or just pick the first one that seems good. A friend recommended insightfully, but i left the project before I had a chance to use it, so no first hand experience, I am afraid.
posted by Good Brain at 10:49 PM on July 31, 2014

The benefit of using a CRM package is not just in the stats, it helps make the salespeople interchangeable since their rolodex is now company property in the cloud. One day your salesperson or people will bail for more cash elsewhere, plan for that day and make sure relations can be picked up by a new employee.
posted by benzenedream at 11:34 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

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