Does the Sales Function have a role in Corporate Innovation?

Business Development

Sales Tec

The key question is does the Sales function and process fit within the Integrated Innovation Framework? Part of the ‘growing pains’ of a business is the recognition that not all sales are good sales. Part of a strategic evaluation of potential sales should be given over to ‘innovation’. The Sales function (and all other customer facing teams) should take into account whether a potential sale is ‘innovative’. But what does this actually mean?

This paper deals with such concepts as; the Consultative selling process, Active Listening, the innovative use of CRM systems, the use and abuse of ‘Mystery Shoppers’, role of Inbound Customer Service, ‘Chatbots’, and the Finance Team as innovators.

For example, there are several ways in which a business can gather useful market insights to assist in the innovation process. Through market segmentation and customer profiling a business can deploy its salespeople and other resources to ensure that each insight is dealt with appropriately and this, in turn, will improve the information the business gains on its customers.

The Integrated Innovation Framework – The model below shows the component parts of an fully integrated Corporate innovation process. The challenge is to link the sales and customer facing functions with this process at every point. For example:

innovation process steps

  • Planning = Innovation Strategy. How does your sales activities link to Corporate Strategy and Innovation?
  • Pipeline = R&D Plan. Where does sales as function and process fit with your pipeline of new ideas?
  • Process = Ideation to Launch. Where does a salesperson go with their next great idea?
  • Platform = Technology. How does your CRM system link to your innovation database?
  • People = Culture. Are all the right people and teams engaged with innovation?
  • Performance = Recognition. Does your recognition process work for or against your innovation process?

Follow the link to see the full document: Does the Sales function have a role in Corporate Innovation?

Simon Derry is Director of Project Leaders International (PLI) Ltd. a professional services company based in Henley on Thames, Oxon, UK.

Richard Claessens is a Director of Sales Tec, a Management Consultancy based in Buckinghamshire, UK, specialising in sales performance improvement, training and development.