Very few companies have a sales organization that consistently produces profitable growth. Owners often blame the shortcomings on high-maintenance sales people who grow lazy and demand more. Sales people are inclined to blame it on owners who don’t support a sales-driven culture that produces what the sales person promises.
Those companies that do create extraordinary sales success have a number of things in common. The following will describe a long-term client that has profitably grown from $4M to $20M in just 10 years and has done so by consciously following these critical guidelines.
Are sales people as respected as any other co-worker? Too often they are ridiculed or demeaned for those very characteristics that create effective sales professionals. Does the CSR understand and appreciate how important her appointment setting skills are at preparing the customer for a professional sales call. Do the installers see themselves as responsible for fulfilling what the sales person has promised and what the homeowner expects from their investment? Most importantly, does management including the owner publicly praise everyone for the vital part they play in the entire sales process?
Pick your favorite team in any sport and consider how they create success. They have managers, they create a plan, they choose the best players, they train them, they practice constantly, everything is measured, they are individually coached for improved performance. After all of this, when they produce results they make a lot of money, and if they don’t produce results they are replaced. Skip any of these important steps and the entire team’s results are negatively impacted. Sales organizations need leadership and management that is accountable to continuous performance and improvement.
Many owners seemingly ignore the root cause of complaints from installers who claim to receive inadequate information from sales people. Owners shrug off their responsibility with this common issue by paying sales people after all job costing is done and reducing sales commissions when there are labor or material cost overruns. Another method is to chargeback any cost overruns directly to the sales person’s commission. How can this be motivating for a sales person? The solution that I’ve facilitated numerous times is to get managers, installers and sales people in a room for as long as it takes to create the documents the installers need and approve for the sales people to complete. Once that is done it is the sales person’s responsibility to accurately and completely provide all of the required information. Failure to do so is now a management issue and the consequence will discourage the sales person from continuing to provide inadequate information. Problem solved.
A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Every co-worker has an important responsibility and most are connected in some way with the sales process. When an individual is poorly trained or incapable of doing their job, it’s management’s responsibility to get them prepared to perform or replacement them. But when an individual chooses to cut corners that must be dealt with immediately.
Performance Based Compensation
Salaried sales people don’t produce the same results they would if on full commission. Some owners want to pay a partial salary so they can “control” what the sales person does, such as requiring him to be in the office to answer phones, order materials or stage jobs. Why would you take a resource that can create revenue and have him doing administrative work? On the other hand, if a prospective sales person wants a salary, that is information enough, in my view, that he is not the sort of person who will create opportunities and follow through until he is successful.
Want to put these principles to work in your business? Contact me using the form below… I’ll be happy to help.