Sales Leadership: a lack of resources may limit success


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I have spent the last 3 days/nights in Las Vegas on vacation prior to speaking at a conference this week. During that time I toured few new hotels, saw a show, dined at great restaurants, viewed The Grand Canyon and visited Hoover Dam. If you haven’t been here recently, it’s a great spot to visit and enjoy the area. However, two things hit me: 1) the recession has really affected the area, they are #1 in foreclosures, with supposedly more to come, the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the hotels/casino’s are starting to close! Number 2); Lake Mead which was made by the creation of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s currently holds only has 47% of the required water supply, it is down 163 feet! Hoover Dam not only supplies water to the Southwest, including Phoenix and Los Angeles, it also supplies the electric power. As the water supply dwindles, so will the ability of this man made wonder of the world to generate water and power for the increasing needs of the population.

The lights of Los Vegas still are bright, yet they only receive 3% of the power from the dam, and 90% of its water supply, just 55 minutes from the strip. The water shows at the hotels are impressive, yet everyone knows they are in a 25 year drought. Most of the locals understand their resources are becoming limited, yet they are expecting tomorrow to be a success. I am unsure if they are prepared for the tomorrow or if they have new resources in place? As a sales leader are your resources ready for tomorrow’s success?

The number one reason most sales leaders are fired is their in-ability to achieve sales quota. No surprise, however based upon our 13 years of consulting on business and sales management issues the general reason sales leaders fail is because their resources are not well positioned for tomorrow’s success. What do I mean by this?

Sales management must know their future quota objectives-at least 18 months out. This will first allow sales management to make sure they have the required number of salespeople hired to achieve that desired goal. For example; if you expect each salesperson to achieve $1M of sales and you have a $10M goal the easy answer is to have 10 salespeople. However, we all know that is unrealistic as not every salesperson in every organization will achieve their quota or because of their level of maturity/experience they will need to “ramp to” that level of production. You must also take into consideration, that you will lose X% of your sales team each year. What is your hiring plan for 2012?

Second, the newly hired salesperson (resource) is not adequately prepared to contribute. We find this in almost every new client organization. The new hire on-boarding process is not well designed to quickly raise the productivity and validate the new resource can sell your organization and products/services. Next, we find that “rigors of cadence” are not part of the ongoing development of the sales team. What I mean by that is sales certification and training programs are not rigorous or demanding in performance. We like to see a testing process to validate each salesperson can represent your company on at least a yearly basis designed to improve everyone’s professionalism. Also, we find there is not an on-going cadence or sequence of training programs built on a regular basis, these programs should cover not only sales training skill development, but also sales operations (CRM), industry knowledge, competitive awareness, and product/service expertise. These should planned 90 days in advance or each quarter. Do you have your summer training program prepared?

The other resource most overlooked understands the impact of the marketing funnel on the sales funnel. The question is: how many leads are required to enter the sales funnel each month from marketing and your sales team to ensure you, as the sales leader, always have an adequate level of sales opportunities to exceed your sales objectives. Only by measuring and knowing these numbers and the various ratios of opportunities as they move through the sales funnel will sales management be confident of resource allocation.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ken Thoreson
Acumen Management Group Ltd. "operationalizes" sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout North America.


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