Building A World-Class Sales Organization
As you look to build a world-class sales organization, make sure that you are focused on the right things. As sales managers and business leaders, it is not your job to grow sales. It is your job to grow your salespeople in quantity and quality every day. The following five initiatives are the main areas that must be focused on when building a world-class sales organization:
- Finding good people
- Getting them to join your team
- Getting them trained and producing
- Growing them into top producers
- Keeping them
- Finding good people—The process of recruiting good talent to your organization is not one that often happens by chance. Many companies get aggressive about recruiting only when they need to add somebody to their team or when they need to replace somebody who has just left their team. Recruiting is a process, not an event. It must be ongoing and continuous. Can you imagine only going after a new customer when you lose an existing one?
- Getting them to join your team—Now that we have spent countless hours, days, and months hunting our prey, we finally have them where we want them. Once they have agreed to sit down for a formal interview, I have the full expectation that the candidate has prepared and practiced a very thorough and professional presentation for our company regarding its products/services, features, advantages, and benefits. This is only natural when we think about it in our sales process.
- Getting them trained and producing—Now that we have brought new talent onto our team, it is imperative that we have a plan to get them “into the game” as soon as we possibly can. We often hear from sales managers and CEOs that the “ramp-up” time for salespeople can be six months, one year, or even more. The goal of this initiative is to make sure that we get those salespeople ramped up and producing results more quickly.
- Growing them into top producers—It is my belief that training must be ongoing and continuous. As company leaders, we send our salespeople into battle every day where they face constantly changing forces in the marketplace. I tend to use the analogy of sending lumberjacks out into the forest each day to chop down trees. If the axes of our lumberjacks are not constantly sharpened, they eventually will have to work much harder to achieve results. Thus, we get turnover and/or salesperson burnout.
- Keeping them—The Harvard Business School conducted a survey of top-producing sales professionals, which asked them to rank the top five reasons why they stayed in their current positions at their current companies. The top five reasons were:
- Positive work environment
- Opportunity for personal growth