A client asks, "One of my sales representatives is somewhat technologically savvy. To save money, I made them responsible our website, rather than outsourcing this to a professional. They created the website and manage the content and updates. Though we agreed that they would only spend a certain number of hours working on it, it seems as if they are always tinkering with it and their sales are suffering as a result. I am guilty, as well, of asking them to make changes to it with little advance notice. Am I doing the right thing?"
In an effort to economize, many small business executives give additional job responsibilities to sales representatives. It is rarely a good idea. Here are but a few of the many, many reasons why.
Being a sales representative is a difficult job that takes a tremendous amount of discipline and focus. From time to time even the best salespeople look for an excuse not to meet with prospects or pick up the phone. By putting them in charge of the website, you are actually providing a safe haven from the hard work and accompanying rejection that is part of the sales process.
Really good sales representatives are money motivated and typically resist getting too involved in activities that waste their time and take them away from their main objective – closing sales. Is this sales representative money motivated? If they are not, or if the compensation plan doesn't motivate them properly, their sales results will be mediocre and they will always welcome a distraction.
Though your salesperson may have created fun homepages for family and friends, they are not a trained professional. Does your company website really have the pulled together look that a dedicated marketer and web designer would provide? Put another way, would you take a web designer and make them a salesperson? Ask a few friends and trusted advisors to tell you what they honestly think of your web page. They may say it looks like it was done by an amateur.
Are you really saving money? If your website is somehow discouraging customers from calling your company, and the salesperson is taking valuable time from their selling day to work on it, how much have you really saved? Could it, in fact, be costing you money?
It's very difficult for any employee to be totally objective about website content. They are emotionally close to the topic and are often reluctant to disagree with ownership about what should and shouldn't be on the website. Not so with a professional. They know what works and what doesn't and aren't afraid to respectfully disagree with some of your ideas.
It is sometimes tempting to let a sales representative who has an interest in another field take over some of those responsibilities. The owner or company president often finds that the sales representative's job responsibilities become more and more murky. Let salespeople sell. It's what they are paid to do and what they should want to do. If not, you may have the wrong person in that position.