Sunday, April 30, 2006

Growing a Business

I have been working in the "internet media" business, for seven years.

Recently, (last 6 months) - I have been lucky enough to work with a group of clients, who are looking to GROW rapidly, and "scale" their organizations.

The one constant theme I hear regularly, across all the companies I come in contact with is:

"We need to hire good salespeople, do you know any?"

My response is, "tell me a bit about the people that you have...what are the commonalities of your BEST salesperson? What are the common traits of someone not working out?"

Typically, I get many responses, and they vary GREATLY.

Here is one that rips at me: (and I've heard it more than once)

"We have not had a good, productive, salesperson in years, inside this organization.."

Or, "We hire, but our turnover rate in sales is extremely high, we have a lucrative commission plan, but our hires just are not working out..."



This leads me to the point of this topic.

Since the beginning of business, employees complain about the, "lack of training." (no matter the group inside a company)

A small company, or a start up group, just cannot incur the cost to hire a good, effective sales trainer, to help build a sales model.

But, many companies have AVERAGE SALES PEOPLE. Average producers, who generally do not "hit or exceed" their goals, but just are, "plain vanilla."

Sometimes these people make good, Sales Managers.

My best Sales Managers, (in the past) have been less than stellar producing, salespeople -- but have been, VERY EFFECTIVE MANAGERS.
They are typically, balanced, and less emotional. Care about the company -- and most of all, create balance for those around them.

But, in a start up -- or small business -- what should be done with the, "average producer" -- who is NOT management material.

Remember, this employee is below goal, but, THE COMPANY HAS SPENT VALUABLE TIME with this person, they probably, have a understanding of the business -- and most importantly, they just are just NOT a good fit, for what a company might view as a "successful sales producer."


I cannot tell you, how many companies recently have told me that, it is EXTREMELY difficult, to not only hire -- but, enable their sales hires to be, PRODUCERS.

The internet is growing at close to 40% a year.

If the company has a good business model, it is incumbent, FROM THE EARLIEST STAGES TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS A SALES TRAINER/STRATEGIST ON STAFF.

The "sales trainer/strategist" can fill many roles - but should be judged on the success of new hires. Success of activity, learning, and implementing the goals of the organization. They can be responsible for PROSPECTING, and "sharing key data" with the leaders of the company.

They do NOT replace a sales manager...but, allow the SALES manager to really focus on "growing the business" -- the Sales Trainer is focused on MAKING THE SALES PERSON A PRODUCER, within 90 days.

7 new companies (that I've been involved with) over the past 6 months, have had challenges of making their salespeople, successful, and a winning part of the growth.

"Sales trainers/strategist", leverage the talent of a employee who is NOT a great salesperson....but, helps the company by using, KEY KNOWLEDGE to make new hires, better, quicker.

Sales Trainer/Strategist, makes the best use of limited resources in a company. They do this by keeping talent, and aligning them with their potential strenghts -- yet judging them on the success of their role.

Hiring is one thing -- creating a greater probablity that the new hire will be a producer, and a winner for the company is quite another.

And, as MUCH attention should be paid to this (training) -- as the hiring process itself.

Sadly, for many companies it is not.


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