Role of HR in Adding Value to Sales Effectiveness


Few days back one of my Facebook Fan page member asked me for my help as he was on the verge of taking Sales HR profile and asked my expert advice how best he can contribute to Sales HR Profile.

I would like to share some of the discussion points with you all which i shared with him; HR can add value to sales in many ways:

Understand the Sales Team:

The best way to understand the sales team is going along with them for sales call this will help HR to understand what skill set or competencies are required for the sales resources, field visit helps HR in Talent Acquisition,Training and designing compensation.

The best thing about visiting field with sales guy is that you will come to know what are the commonly used sales term/abbreviations. This can be used as a weapon to connect with Sales team and no doubt you will build a long lasting relationship with sales team.

Understanding the Sales Strategy:

It’s important for HR person to understand the sales strategy of the company and also aware of what products the company is selling and in which territory/geography, the market size, the market maturity and who all are the competitors in each geography will help HR to map resource with sales strategy.

The biggest mistake HR make is not getting into details like which product gives maximum margin, What is the customer spread? Not getting into details like-  is there any special sales strategy used by sales people for a particular account?

Other questions like what is the mechanism available to evaluate the performance of the sales Team, what kind of incentives will result in improved sales etc.

Sales Employee Value Proposition:

Compensation is important to attract retain talent, but sometimes it might not be the case, sales people want to know what the company is doing, how the sales are happening in other territory or category , what is the sales turnover, which competitors are ahead of us, what is new products to be launched etc are common questions asked by any sales guy if you happen to meet them.

It’s the reason why periodically in sales meeting repeatedly flashy power points had been shown with above content at that time it is important for HR to communicate with Sales team regarding career opportunity, benefits, work culture, sales projections etc.

Relationship building with Top Level Senior Sales VP’s

My experience says senior sales executives value HR contribution if they are able to understand their issues and concerns.

HR should attend Sales meetings and if get an opportunity speak in the sales meeting they should speak at least for 10 minutes.

Following activity can help to improve the relationship building and value addition to Sales HR

  • Attending internal training in sales with sales team
  • Conduct interviews with sales team for hiring and provide reasons for rejection or selection with logic and observations.
  • Training Sales Line Managers in Behavioral interviewing Skill Set.
  • Understanding to figure out nature of the various sales roles.
  • Conduct interviews with senior leadership to understand what competencies are required and how best the gaps can be addressed

Learning and Staying Current

Based on the kind of Sales your company is into you need to track the latest happenings in the domain by reading newspaper, subscribing to trade magazines, joining online forums etc.

Focus on 3 Raters

Most of the time Line Managers spend a lot of time in managing their star performers and spending too much time on low performers.

My experience says Line managers need to spend quality time with consistent average Sales Performer and ensure he moved into the next level of Sales.

On an average 70% of the sales team produce close to 40-50% of the revenue any improvement in this segment can improve the revenues significantly.

Gender Diversity

Sales profession is no more male dominated professions many talented women are getting into sales domain identify good women professionals and train them based on particular profiles in sales based on their competency.

Role Profiling

I think biggest contribution what HR can do is do role profiling through scientific tools, based on peoples personality and characteristics sales profile to allocated

Sales People who are dominant in nature are very good for closing the sale, and the best way they can be motivated is through Power/Authority.

Sale People who are good at influencing others will be good at opening a sales call, and the best way they can be motivated is publicly recognizing them.

Sales people who show steadiness in their personality are best suited for the support role in Sales and the best possible way to motivate them is assuring them job security.

Sales people who love to follow all rules, regulations and procedure, are best suited for Specialist profile in sales and chances are best they can be groomed to be sales trainers and they might be good at documentation related to sales.

A proactive approach and bringing in value added programmes for Sales force, and working on innovative mechanism to engage sales staff only add value to sales effectiveness.