Sales Force Optimization: forget the 80/20 rule

 

SALES OPTIMIZATION

By: Rob Comeau, CEO of Business Resource Center, Inc.

SALES FORCE OPTIMIZATION

Ethical numbers speak volumes.  If you are subscribing to the 80/20 philosophy for your sales team, you are hiring the wrong people.

Your salesforce is a pack.  In every pack you have the leaders, the middle and the anchors.  The middle needs to remain in shouting distance of the leaders or they will start to look like underperformers.  The leaders will elevate when they feel the middle is nipping at their heels.  The anchors, cut them loose the second you feel their drag.

An appropriate dynamic of the middle chasing the front and the front pushing away from the middle is the recipe to drive the pack to greater production.  The result of this seesaw activity will produce a greater production value and elevate acceptable standards for future production.

If you agree with the above statements, the question that begs to be asked is how to foster this environment?  Visibility, accountability and reward.   Progress must be quantified and visible on a regular basis to all parties involved.  These professionals must have a level of accountability for production, be good corporate brand ambassadors, possess superior communication, have proven research expertise, align proper margins, conduct appropriate client/prospect vetting and foster interdepartmental cohesiveness.  A reward realized will drive future production, a dangling insurmountable carrot will not.  Sales professionals are paid off increased net profit to the company so incentivize your staff to grow your organization.

The top of the pack, finds a way to win, regardless of the hurdles within their path.  Don’t accept excuses from the middle of the pack.  Identify what the major production hurdles are from the top of the pack to ease the production challenges of the middle.

When interviewing new sales talent, be selective.  When an A+ player is identified, move expeditiously to secure the talent.  Conducting due diligence to verify production, current and former peer ranking, job tenure, reasons for leaving previous jobs, awards and depth of knowledge are just as important as their ability to connect with you in an interview.   Successful sales people have solid job history because they have been successful in their roles and achieved monetary reward.  The only other reason for a sales professional to job hop consistently is picking the wrong companies to work for, however, a consistency in this area illustrates poor decision or evaluation skills which is also cause for concern.

Here are some tips when sourcing new talent. 

THE TOUGH GET

When sourcing talent from a competitor, the toughest professionals to reach are more than likely the people you want to engage.  If a sales professional is employed within your industry and is successful in their role, they are not likely to be testing the waters for a new role.  Taking the time to connect with these people for an opportunity now or in the future will be beneficial to your organization.  Make sure your offering and your package are motivating for future consideration.

VETTING THOROUGHLY

Top sales professionals have references from previous supervisors.  They have the ability to quantify their production and their ranking amongst peers which are verifiable in the reference process.  If they are from your industry, they have the ability to write a POA (plan of action) to illustrate how they will impact your market penetration and the expected timelines associated with their objectives.

INQUISITIVE NATURE

A top sales professional will possess a natural curiosity to life and to business.  This enables them to appropriately understand a client’s need and stimulates them to do the due diligence needed to become subject matter experts on their offering.  They will also have a plethora of questions for your hiring manager about the company, position, offering, etc.  Why would they make a move, if they are currently successful, without knowing all of the variables involved with a transition?

As far as your company is concerned, if your operations are not sound, your sales talent will diminish.  They can only present and sell what your company can deliver.  The ability to illustrate your organization’s solid foundation and offering efficiency will resonate well with a top tier closer.

Your sales people are the legs of your organization.  Work them out and make sure that you don’t end up with a “prison body”.   If you don’t get that reference, Google it and get a laugh.  In this case, it is operationally heavy with a weak go to market strategy/team.

Business Resource Center, Inc. helps organizations with sales force talent acquisition and training.  To learn more about how your organization can increase revenue and net profit sustainably, please contact our representatives at info@biz-rc.com