How can I get my sales team best positioned for success in 2014?

How can working in verticals help my team succeed?


Happy New Year everyone!

In December, I talked about taking time to review the successes and challenges of the previous year. January is the time to build an effective plan to increase revenue in the coming year. For a sales team, the best way to position the group for success is through specialization. Your sales team is composed of different people who have different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses. The sales manager's responsibility is to help make the whole greater than the sum of its parts by leveraging each person's individual strengths.

The way to do this is to have your team work in verticals. In other words, have one rep focus on selling mostly to auto dealers, another rep focused on real estate, another focused on health, etc.  Each sales rep will be responsible for learning everything there is to know about that category:

  • What are the hot buttons of that industry?
  • What common challenges do these businesses face?
  • How much do they spend on advertising?
  • Where do they feel they get their best ROI?

Then, you can use that feedback to design sales packages which have the greatest chance for success. As I have often said, if you can match the needs of your prospect, you're going to make the sale every time. By focusing on one or two specific categories, the sales rep will become an expert to that group. The rep will know how to use language in a sales pitch that will resonate with their prospect. They will be able to preemptively overcome objections and they will be offering a product that will have the greatest benefit to the customer.

This idea isn't new. Henry Ford did it in his factories – by allowing an employee to focus on a specific task, that person was able to increase his efficiency, which in turn, increased the effectiveness of the whole process.

I would also recommend that the sales manager hold weekly sales meetings where each week, one rep talks about one specific success and one specific challenge from their category. By having this open discussion, the entire team will learn things which will help them in the field. Also, this will provide a platform for additional brainstorming which will help performance across the board.

Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.

He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.

He can be reached at or (703) 597-1033.


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