Companies need to be reminded periodically of how important their sales team is.
Engineering companies can make the mistake of spending too much on R&D and not enough on the sales and marketing end of things. Yes, every company needs great products, but it also needs fabulous sales and marketing talent. A balance is required. What good is the new mousetrap if you don’t have a professional to announce it to the world and close the orders?
I’ve been with companies where the accounting arm of things was so focused on saving money that they would squeeze until the major focus of the sales force was on its expense account rather than on its customer account. I’ve seen accounting so worried about not spending that it killed nearly every sales and marketing campaign or hampered the spending so completely as to create an ineffectual sales and marketing effort. When it comes to sales and marketing don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Spend what needs to be spent to be effective. For instance, if you can’t afford to hire and pay correctly in 40 territories then do it in 20 territories and build up. Don’t skimp so much that you can not be successful.
I’ve seen companies that were so tight they would never spend a dime on sales training, negotiation training, sales recognition or much else that might have given them a tremendous return on investment. You must spend money to make money. Share the wealth and it will come back to you multiplied.
Yes, sales reps should be accountable for their expenses, but don’t make this the major focus of their work life. The major focus of their work life should be garnering more sales.
It is your sales and marketing team that will drive your top line. Without a top line you’ll have no bottom line. If you want to stay in business, be sure you support those people who help you sell more and the tools, training, and programs that are important to their success. Remember a successful marketing and sales team means a successful company.