January 25th, 2010
If you think you did great in January, or that there’s no more work to do, ask yourself: “What else could I have done? Why didn’t I exceed my sales? Did I have enough top talent in place?” While short-term success is critical and must be your focus, a larger lesson needs to be considered.
In coaching our clients, we’re more interested in looking at September’s sales goals than January’s. If your revenue curve for 2010 ramps up during the second half of the year, then you must actively recruit and hire now to ensure you have the necessary salespeople in place to achieve your objectives. Many sales leaders get caught in the trap of having to achieve increased levels of sales dollars with either not enough salespeople on the team or with increased expectations for the existing sales team’s productivity levels (which might be below-par to begin with).
Sales management training will tell you to plan on unexpected sales force attrition. If, as a sales leader, you have set sales standards for your sales team, there may be “planned” reductions by way of you letting go of underperforming sales representatives. If it takes you 90 days to recruit a top performer and 90 to 120 days for those individuals to contribute at acceptable or quota levels, your organization could be short of overall quota attainment, putting the sales leader behind on a year-to-date basis.
Specifically, if you begin recruiting in February, using the hypothetical timeline above means an April hire and July/August sales production (consider summer month seasonality). Of course, this all assumes that you hire a top performer, that you train them properly, and that they become successful.
Though recruiting is 20 percent of the job focus for sales managers, it should be a consistent focus. Why? The top performers may not be looking when you believe you have opportunities open. Consider actively promoting your organization every 60 days using a variety of media.
For more guidance on this, consider joining other sales leaders at our one-and-a-half-day training workshop. Listen, learn and actively participate in our Sales Leadership Summit, which takes place Feb. 16 and 17 at Charlotte, N.C. Get all the details here.
Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group Ltd., “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory and platform services have illuminated, motivated and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead! Acumen Management provides keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 3f4qb8v9ge