Sales activity is crucial for internationalization: three strategies for Romanian entrepreneurs

Sales activity is a company’s growth engine that wants to expand through internationalization. In 2024, a year of economic uncertainty, C-level managers, business development directors, and entrepreneurs are more concerned with finding new solutions to increase the number of customers. I suggest looking at sales activity in three directions of interest for any manager or founder: motivating the sales department, identifying new sales methods (social selling), and determining a company’s marketability. All these elements are helpful for companies from the Magurele Science Park community interested in growth, exports, and internationalization.

Sales team motivation

It is not easy for an entrepreneur to create a different framework for each individual manager. However, when you have a team, it is necessary to build a general framework.

How do you do that? You could divide the team into departments.

Let’s imagine you have a sales department where the team is motivated in a particular way. Those working in logistics need something else. Those in production are motivated by other factors, and so on. “Typically, salespeople are driven to make more money from what they sell. They need to self-evaluate their performance and calculate their bonus based on it, and even better, to have a neutral, automatic evaluation system like a scoreboard,” according to Ovidiu Toader, entrepreneur coach, in his book “Money and Freedom”. He advises us not to offer a percentage commission on sales.

We better set value bonuses to be compared to salary, not what was sold. At the same time, bonuses should be of two types: individual and team performance bonus. It is very important that bonuses, even if they are offered “for the holidays”, are also related to performance. In this way, the performance of sales people is rewarded, evaluated in relation to the results obtained: increasing sales, optimizing a process, meeting a clear objective in the business.

The principle is simple: “whatever you measure grows”, therefore it is good to measure only what we want to grow.

Social Selling – a new way to make sales

Social Selling mainly involves building direct and ongoing relationships with potential leads through the use of social media and digital platforms. Unlike classic selling methods, Social Selling prioritizes building rapport with your prospects over delivering generic sales messages.

The traditional sales approach, with “cold calling” calls or unsolicited emails, have already lost their effectiveness. According to studies by the LinkedIn platform, 90% of decision makers say they will no longer buy services or products sold through these methods. Therefore, Social Selling is starting to become an important activity of a B2B sales process, with 75% of buyers and 84% of C-level executives using social media to make professional purchasing decisions. Social Selling is like a digital barista in the sales world. It’s not about aggressively pushing products. It’s about mixing connections, like a barista does with coffee and milk, and offering solutions that resonate with your audience.

The Social Selling Index (SSI) is a pretty useful tool that includes a number of metrics that can help you identify areas where you’re doing a good job selling on social platforms and areas where you can improve. Specifically, SSI measures performance on a 0-100 scale of four important pillars: creating a professional brand, identifying the right people, engaging with unique insights, and building strong relationships. According to LinkedIn, if your SSI indicator increases, the same rate can be seen in monthly sales. Either way, it’s important to approach SSI as a way to measure your progress in using social platforms like LinkedIn. In other words, it is important not to compare yourself to others, but to relate your current level to last month’s SSI figures, for example.

The link between sales and exit from the company

Are you in a B2B business model? What percentage of your company’s total sales are generated directly by you as the founder? Are you in a B2C business model? How easy is it to replace yourself in the marketing/promotion role?

When you’re the only one doing sales in your company, your chances of selling your company decrease, according to Exit by Choice. When you’re the only one doing/managing your company’s marketing campaigns/efforts, your chances of selling your company decrease. The more a company is dependent on the founder, the less scalable it is and, subsequently, less marketable, Iulian Rizea, Partner Exit by Choice, told me in a workshop.

The scalability and marketability of a company are like two traveling companions who travel a good part of that road together.

Just as you work to prepare a service offer for a client, just as you work to prepare a job offer for a colleague, you also need to prepare the company for a potential buyer or investor.

Your company is your product/service. And any transaction is a double hire., Through the due diligence done by the buyer, he hires you, and in turn you need to do a reverse due diligence to hire the buyer/investor.

Too often founders prepare their company for sale by being too busy with sales. This way they gain sales but lose the chance to build market value. I remain in the Founder’s Trap by focusing solely on sales and invariably putting out operational and delivery fires to deliver on sales promises. Let’s call this type of entrepreneur a motor entrepreneur. An entrepreneur who rather works in business.

To prepare and build a company to become scalable and salable you have to manage a transition from an engine entrepreneur to a builder entrepreneur. An entrepreneur who prefers to work in business.

Because he is so involved in selling and delivering a founder needs to be assisted in this transition to make it happen.

#internationalization #sales #strategies #eencanhelp

Claudiu Vrînceanu – EEN advisor

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