This site was born out of frustration.
Like most salespeople, over the years I’ve been frustrated with different aspects of every organization I’ve been associated with. Whether as an employee, independent contractor or consultant, it seems that invariably I find multiple, critical aspects of the sales process either ignored or poorly handled by the companies I work with.
Some of these shortcomings are common at almost every organization. Things like inconsistent or non-existent follow-up and lack of communication between the sales, marketing, production and customer service departments seem to be the order of the day no matter where you go.
Other factors are present in some companies while absent in others. And it often seems that sales organizations that are really strong at certain aspects, like qualified lead flow, completely fall down on the job in other areas, like maintaining a consistent comp plan. Not that those two specific elements bear any relationship to each other. It’s just that strength in one important area of the sales process seems to ensure weakness in another.
I have been involved with sales teams in over 20 different industries, from mortgage lending to home improvement, graphic design and multimedia production to newsletter subscription sales, radio advertising to live event promotion, structured settlement financing to web site development for funeral homes, investment opportunities to lotions, potions, powders and pills – and everything in-between.
I have done inside sales, outside sales, telephone sales, virtual sales, multi-level marketing, over-the-counter sales and in-home sales. I’ve sold to consumers, homeowners, small business owners, medical professionals, venture capitalists and corporate executives. I’ve done thousands of sales presentations in venues from kitchen tables to board room conference tables. You name it, I’ve pitched it.
Hell, I’ve even written a book about sales.
But, have I ever been overwhelmingly impressed by every aspect of any company I’ve been associated with? No.
In recent years I have become increasingly vocal about my disillusionment. All I’m trying to do is make a living, not make trouble for the companies I work with. But their inability to get out of their own way – and mine – is costing me time and money. Worse yet, it’s costing them time and money! But they either refuse to see it, don’t believe what I’m telling them or think my ideas would be too difficult or expensive to implement. Whatever the case, they’re not listening.
Recently a thought occurred to me: What would happen if a company analyzed their entire sales process from beginning-to-end, figured out everything they needed to provide their sales team in order to support their success – and then gave it to them? What would be the result?
The World’s Greatest Sales Team
It sounds like a fairly tale I know, but what the hell? A guy can dream can’t he?
You see, the site you are currently visiting isn’t real. It’s merely a dream. A place where I am Imagining A Firm That Gives It’s Salespeople Every Opportunity To Succeed.
Please, don’t pinch me. I don’t want to wake up.
In addition to dreaming, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about all the different companies, industries, target markets, product offerings, sales venues, comp plans, sales training, collateral material – you name it – that I’ve come into contact with over the past 25+ years. I’ve conjured up every bit of it in my mind. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The result is the list below; 15 elements I believe should be present in order to maximize the opportunity for any sales team to succeed. Tens of thousands of sales teams across the country are achieving varying levels of success without the benefit of every one. Imagine the production of the first one that gets all 15 ducks lined up in a row.
I will be posting articles, audios and videos on each of these topics to this site over time. I encourage you to register with the site (click the “Sign Me Up!” button in the right-hand column) so you will receive each of these postings by email as they go up. If you’re sufficiently tech savvy, you can also subscribe to the RSS feed.
However you access these thoughts, please feel free to post your take (click the “Comment” button at the bottom of each article) on my opinions.
ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL SALES TEAM
Separate Marketing Function Including:
Lead Generation System
Video / Slideshow
Testimonials and Case Studies
Market Research and Company Stats
Lead Distribution System
Clear Picture of Sales Cycle:
The Shorter and Sweeter the Better
All The Necessary Steps Laid Out In Order
How Long Until The Rep Sees A Check?
Systematic Recruiting Process:
Advertising Your Opportunity
Vetting The Initial Responses / Creating Your Short List
Identifying Your Final Four
Making Your Final Selection
Administering An Initial Test of Salesmanship
Workable Compensation Plan:
Clear, Simple, Achievable, Uncapped and UNCHANGING
Bonuses and Contests
Ability to Achieve Early Wins:
Proof That Your Systems Works
Contact Management / Customer Relationship Management System:
Easy To Learn and Use
Rookie Ramp-Up Training
Ongoing Veteran Training
Role Playing and Hot Seating
Give Us Proof That People Are Out There Making It Happen
Web-Accessible (if possible)
Every Team Member is Listed
Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Year-to-Date Production
Total Sales, Pipeline Size, Closing Percentage
Everyone Knows What Everyone Else is Doing
Who Are All The Players and What Are Their Roles?
Who Reports to Whom?
Contact Information Directory
Focus on Repeat and Referral Business:
Why Ignore 2/3 of Your Potential Revenue?
A System for Reengaging Orphan Customers:
You Know They’re Good Prospects
You Have A Lot of Purchase Information on Them
Digitize and Make Web-Accessible Wherever Possible
Make It Easy to Close A Deal!
Alignment with Production Department:
I’m not suggesting that any firm spend thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours to implement these elements. Most of them are simple and inexpensive. Many are free. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t use them!
All 15 of these Theses are doable, affordable, reasonable and logically unavoidable. Don’t just sit there – get to work!
If all of this sounds like a great idea but you have no idea when you’d find the time to implement it, give me a call.
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