Peter Buxton: The Effectiveness of Sales

Peter Buxton, principal at Buxton Independent Consulting, participated in our “Reinventing the Directory Organization” session at “Search Starts Here.” Today, he shares his perspective on the importance of the Yellow Pages sales organization.

The Yellow Pages sector has always been a sales business. The future of the sector is now totally dependent on the effectiveness of the sales organization.  In recent years I have undertaken Sales Audits in four different continents and 12 different countries, assessing the opportunities for efficiency improvements in the sales process.

Before a Yellow Pages company can start to consider the essential transformation process, it is important to understand where the sales force stands today. If a Yellow Pages company has 500 sales people, making five visits per day, there are 2,500 discussions taking place each day with the small business market that we serve.  Making sure that Yellow Pages salesmen are giving the best advice available to local businesses about their advertising options is key to our sector’s continued success.

The Sales Audit process which I conduct also provides publishers with a benchmark analysis comparing the activity rates and productivity levels in many other countries. For example, do you know the average percentage of the day each salesman spends actually talking to customers? Is the customer time for your salesman higher or lower than the industry standard?

Yellow Pages companies should be giving serious consideration to the following factors which impact the re-shaping of the sales process:

  • Are salespeople really “selling on value” today?
  • Are salespeople spending too small a percentage of their time each day actually talking to customers ?
  • Is the commission scheme actually motivating salespeople?
  • Are salespeople really convinced that the sales process needs to be re-shaped?
  • Is the Yellow Pages brand image helping me or hindering me?

For more information and to contact Peter Buxton directly, visit or e-mail

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