Building the right sales organisation is key to your company’s success. However, not all models are right for all companies. Regardless of the model, there are fundamental elements that must be included.

Here are some of the examples of challenges and options companies face.

Finding talent. We constantly hear about a war for talent and the talent shortage. Where do you find good sales people who will fit into your company culture? Have you considered your own backyard?

A woman I know was recently made redundant by her staffing firm employer. She had succeeded in multiple roles over nearly 12 years with the firm, but she hadn’t done sales. The company’s owner gave her an excellent reference, stating she was exceptional and achieved great things in everything she was asked to do.

Based on that glowing reference and its belief in its training, guidance and coaching, another company believed she would be a success and a perfect fit for a sales role. This person quickly achieved great success within this new company and was ahead of her annual goals with six months to go. Asked by a former colleague why she didn’t become a recruitment consultant for them, she responded, “You never asked”!

So before lamenting that you can’t find the right person for a role, try taking a look around your own company. You might be surprised.

Communication model. One can often find working adults sitting in the same room — at the same table — conversing via text or other app. Indeed, many of the younger millennials and Generation Z appear to struggle holding a verbal conversation with people in general, preferring contact via text or some form of social media.

It begs the question: Will the sales team of the future hold no face-to-face meetings or phone calls, purely using text-based technology? Or will the team that gets the mixture between the new and old-school techniques get it right? Will face-to-face meetings eventually disappear entirely? Time will tell, but using a mix appears to be working now.

One’s region plays a role in this as well. In the UK and most of Europe, for example, it is reasonably cost-effective for face-to-face meetings to take place. However, business travel can be quite a different story in the US, as my colleagues can attest. Whereas in Europe, one can meet with several clients in different cities within the same day, it can take a whole day just to get from one side of the US to the other to meet with one client. That alone can be exhausting. Add in the financial cost, along with the burden it puts on the family, using online meeting platforms such as Skype can be quite appealing. While face-to-face meetings works best within any sales process, its prevalence seems poised to change.

Tech tools. Some staffing firms are using AI and robotics to perform the more mundane tasks within the sales and administrative process, such as reorganising data and delivering an online solution for activity and tracking, reports and performance management in real time. These tools can also aid the applicant tracking process by answering initial candidate questions, providing guidance and updates on progress, to providing the candidate feedback when the position is filled.

Using technology to perform such tasks frees up time for sales teams to become more consultative and provide a higher level of touch. This proves to be well-received by clients, who want staffing firms to be able to ascertain exactly what they need and, more important, can deliver upon the service promised. The most valuable sales professionals are those who can see the whole process through and build on those relationships, and using technology in ways to free up their time to devote to this level of service is a no-brainer. Whether their teams are working from the office, home, or a mix of both, they are building a strategy around more flexible working. This will reduce overheads from an office floor space requirement and provide a better working environment that enhances their team’s work life balance, with higher productivity, whilst saving costs in the process.

I will be discussing these topics and more at Executive Forum Europe. I look forward to seeing you there.