In an age where the term “lean” applies not only to startups, but to large companies, it’s important that each team member contributes more than his job description to the company — regardless of title, pay grade, or tenure. Going above and beyond these job descriptions can be the difference between a company growing steadily and a company growing exponentially.
With sales being a key ingredient in the healthy growth of a company, it’s important that every single employee views himself, in one way or another, as a salesperson. At every point of access, your representation of your company can leave a positive impression or a negative one. This means that all employees at your company function as salespeople on a daily basis, in the smallest of interactions — and they need to understand that fact.
This sales mentality needs to be created and encouraged by the leaders in the company. Each team member should be held accountable to explain how he plans to contribute to the growth of the company. Additionally, each team member should be willing to help the company grow — and passionate about doing so. Teammates should be constantly finding ways to add value.
For example, a web developer needs to understand that while most of his role will not involve directly communicating with customers, there still is a direct connection and contact. By understanding that the development that goes into a site or its layout has weight in terms of conversions and user experience, it’s important for everyone in a development or design role to have a sales and customer mindset, in addition to a designer/developer mentality.
All employees, regardless of their positions, should follow these guidelines to contribute to the growth of their organizations:
1. Understand the sales process
By understanding the sales process, employees with other obligations and responsibilities can gain a better understanding of how they fit into the sales process (directly or indirectly). Whether it’s the CEO, Vice President, or Director of Sales, companies should invest time and energy in educating all their employees on the sales process. Sure, including all staff in every single sales meeting would be overkill. But investing a small amount of time each month in educating non-sales staff on current sales processes and strategies makes them better equipped to recognize entry points for sales within their own roles.
2. Make their roles sales-friendly
Each employee should take the time to find ways to add sales via his specific role. These processes should be developed and executed with the guidance and help of the companies’ leadership and sales teams. For example, web developers should spend time figuring out how they can make the company’s site more user-friendly for conversion. Account managers should communicate with the sales team internally to figure out how they can upsell or offer more value to achieve a longer client lifetime value. The more sales-friendly each role is, the more likely each employee is to adapt and execute some type of sales.
3. Enhance their efficiency
The better each employee gets at doing his job, the more efficiently the company will run. That translates to increased opportunities to take on clients. Invest time in work productivity and efficiency, and you’ll be able to add sales processes to your workload without sacrificing other priorities. If an account manager develops processes to make his job more efficient and less time-consuming, he can spend more time developing methods to keep clients on longer, on higher budgets, with the same amount of effort.
4. Help and diversify
By encouraging each employee to understand that he is bigger than his specific role, there will be more collaboration and synergy between departments. As teamwork increases, there will be additional opportunities for each department to feed the sales funnel. Find ways to benefit other departments in your company, especially in regards to sales and overall revenue growth.
5. Represent — every single day
Every employee in a company or organization who considers himself a salesman, in addition to his own role, is an asset to the company because he’s creating commonality and accountability. More often than not, you want passionate and enthusiastic people who see every opportunity as an opportunity to grow the company to execute on those opportunities. If a particular team member isn’t visibly and audibly excited about the company, he probably isn’t a good fit.
Companies can and should encourage a culture of sales within their organizations by developing processes to ensure that each employee is operating in some sales capacity. By creating a mentality that each employee is, in one way or another, responsible for sales, a company creates a deep accountability for each person’s job — and the growth of the company as a whole. In a culture where everyone is encouraged to reach outside their specific roles, people will go outside their comfort zones to make themselves and, therefore, the company better.
Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President of Digital Talent Agents, a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.