THE SITUATION- Business owners often struggle with building and managing high performing sales teams. In my first meeting with a business owner, he mentioned out of frustration he was very close to firing his entire 4 person sales team and starting over. He didn’t have a sales manager on staff and all personnel reported directly to him. It was clear he didn’t have systems or programs in place to provide visibility and accountability for his sales team’s activity nor did he have the proper incentives to motivate desired behavior. He also did not have a lead generation strategy or program to help consistently “fill the funnel” for the sales team. While it wasn’t his first choice, all he thought he could do was clean the slate and start over, with hopes of finding more productive sales reps.
dlb PLAN- The first step was to make sure I truly understood the situation and root causes. I spent several weeks in close interaction with the sales team to assess the skills and capabilities of each team member, the dynamics of the product offering and marketplace and the effectiveness of the underlying support systems and incentives. This included conducting a formal survey, one-on-one interviews and actual sales calls of my own. I then proposed an overhaul of his sales team which included 1) develop better tools for organizing and tracking prospects and reporting status, 2) train personnel both in the use of the new tools as well as in some fundamental sales skills that were lacking, 3) create more effective incentives designed to encourage meeting activity goals in addition to final results and 4) engage in consistent marketing activities targeting specific vertical markets and spheres of influence in the prospect community, to increase lead flow.
THE RESULTS- There was an immediate and measurable increase in activity, leads and revenue. The energy and enthusiasm within the sales team was so positive that the owner was convinced he needed a full time sales manager. I was retained as a “virtual” sales manager for 3 months to help solidify the changes and prepare the company for adding a full time sales manager. I was then retained to roll out my program to other regional locations.