By Daniel Hunter

In a recent survey of 80 global senior leaders across industries, 96% reported that they were not satisfied with the performance of their sales effort.

During the recession, companies have relied on ruthless cost cutting and low interest rates to survive through periods of slow growth. In times like these, a decline in sales activity can be fatal and could result in the company being forced into administration.

Experts at Overstone Associates believe that mass corporate restructuring and general downsizing combined with smarter procurement and a more sophisticated buying process has meant that traditional selling processes are no longer effective. The company has witnessed this particularly within sales teams where the selling process is in the hands of industry professionals such as lawyers, private bankers, creatives, engineers, or art experts.

According to Managing Director of Overstone Associates, Harco van den Oever, a senior international business leader who previously worked at Christie’s International, the reason behind this is that many of those individuals don’t take enough responsibility for sales activity.

"They see themselves as ‘experts’, ‘professionals’ who know their industry but are not really accountable for driving revenue for the business," he said.

"Chief executives and Directors therefore need to tackle the issue of driving growth across the organisation and increasing revenues in extremely turbulent economic conditions. The message they need to reinforce is that sales is the responsibility of everyone in the business, not just the sales teams. Yet there are many challenges with implementing such a culture, especially among this kind of industry professional who does not regard themselves as a sales person."

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