International Sales Management

Want to boost sales across your entire international sales organization? Then make sure everyone speaks the same commercial language…

Many sales organizations do not internalize a common commercial language and find it hard to implement strategies, improve sales efficiency, and take their results to the next level. Having worked with several international companies for many years, we’ve identified three proven steps all managers should follow to overcome this challenge.

Formulate Tomorrow’s Sales Excellence

Your geographical markets are most likely ruled by individual sales kings and queens who practice their own unique approach to selling and managing clients.

To get the leverage you need to scale up, you need to formulate tomorrow’s excellence by devising a shared approach and behavior. Rather than returning to the same tired skills development programs, think big and consider include how you want your teams to manage sales channels and segments.

Define the new behaviors in terms of mutually developed winning standards that detail critical behavior for both salespeople and local managers. This will likely include the tools and methodology you expect your people to use so all your markets share the same language and approach to selling. This is no small task, and you’ll need both patience and resources. You need to offer local support and follow-ups, and you need to do that rigorously and repeatedly, tracking compliance and progression and repeating expectations.

Center Local Sales Managers

Your local sales managers are the keys to success. Clearly, top sales leadership have to spearhead the changes and exemplify the behavior they want to see, but your local managers are the ones who’ll be dealing with the frustrations of slow movers; they’ll be coaching sellers and supporting competency improvements every day.

Aligning business and behavioral objectives from the top down is key to establishing a common commercial language. Therefore, you need to develop clear management standards that tell all managers which meetings to have, when, with whom, and about what. This will make life easier, especially for new managers.

Adapt Training, Implementation, and Change Management to Local Needs

Finally, beware of language barriers that may turn your sales communications into gibberish. When you experience resistance or your local managers and teams do not understand your plans and initiatives, it may very well boil down to a communication issue.

To overcome this, offer training, support, and coaching in local languages when necessary. Use simple but intelligent and adaptive learning systems to offer personalized, high-impact training. And appoint local sales champions who speak English as liaisons between you and your international branches. Initiate fun activities, like sales competitions, that can be completed in local languages but evaluated evenly across teams.

By implementing these three steps, your international sales teams will be speaking the same commercial language, putting them on the fast track to helping more customers and enabling you to drive true improvements of scale.

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