IT Staffing Sales Effectiveness
Sales best practices for improving sales win rates, shortening the sales cycle and increasing overall quota attainment. Sales strategies to make revenue growth repeatable, and scalable
In corporate America it's standard operating procedure to promote the top sales performer into management despite the fact that it's common knowledge that many of those top performers struggle with leading and managing a sales team. What might not be common knowledge is why so many top performers struggle with the transition into management. If you're a top performer actively interviewing for a sales management role or have already received a promotion, you should understand the most difficult aspects of the transition into management and leading a sales team. To give you a dose of sales management reality, I’ve outlined the most six most common reasons why new sales managers fail.
Today’s sales leader is expected to be part sales superstar who still closes deals and models the desired sales behaviors, part trainer, part CRM/ATS expert, part “chief problem solver,” and responsible for a plethora of other responsibilities including territory management, compensation and commission plans, performance management, recruitment and selection, customer segmentation, sales strategy, sales forecasting and opportunity management to name a few. Given such a multitude of responsibilities, the sales leader’s most pressing challenge is knowing which tasks and activities to focus on that will deliver the greatest return. The million-dollar question is, how do sales leaders know which tasks and activities those are? The answer lies in their sales cadence.
Learn our proven 7 step methodology for turning cold calls into hot leads.
I've been blessed with the opportunity of working with hundreds of sales and recruiting teams from IT staffing companies across the country. One of the most common questions I get is "Dan, how does our sales team stack up against the competition?" As you can imagine, there are many ways in which I can answer this question and even more ways in which to compare and contrast one sales team to another. So a few years ago I started answering this question with the following question, "how accurate was your most recent sales forecast?" I usually get a deer in the headlights kind of response.
Every IT staffing sales organization has a sales culture. Great ones are hard to come by because they take a long time to develop and tremendous effort to sustain. Sales teams can have a lousy sales culture but still have a great year and hit or even exceed their sales quota. Consistently meeting and exceeding sales quota (24 months without missing your sales quota) however requires a healthy sales culture. Sales teams don't consistently meet sales quota without having a strong sales culture. At the same time, your sales culture can prevent sales quota attainment from happening.
Most people don't like to be on the proverbial hot seat. Professional coaches, (NFL, NBA, MLB) politicians, CEO's, individual contributors. Why would you, right? Sales leaders however, especially top performing sales leaders thrive on it. That is what the job is. Every month or every quarter they're basically trying out to make their own team. Sales leaders live under a microscope of constant scrutiny. So how do they do it? Better yet, how do top performing sales leaders perform and consistently deliver their number in this pressure-cooker work environment?
The time lapse between your new hire's start date and the date in which they track to meet or exceed quota represents your opportunity cost to on-board a new hire (sales rep or recruiter). A shorter ramp up time means reduced risk in (missed) opportunity cost. With the cost of a failed new hire ramp up at 6 times the base salary (Topgrading for Sales), it is imperative that your new hires ramp up to productivity as quickly as possible.
One of the common scenarios that I see when working with IT staffing firms is when the CEO or business owner asks the sales leader to significantly increase top and/or bottom line revenue growth by asking the sales leader to add headcount. But is this always the best sales strategy? Is this the only strategy to sales revenue growth? Here are six considerations for determining if adding headcount is the best path to revenue growth.
As a business owner or sales and recruiter leader, the first hurdle you must overcome with your new hire on-boarding and training program is to capture and keep your learners attention. If you bore them, you will lose them. According to Xerox, 87% of sales training is forgotten after just one month of the training.
According to a study conducted by Sales Benchmark Index, "A” players generate 5x more revenue than “B” players and 10 times more than “C” players. Why is this important? As I reference in my eBook, The Top 4 Mistakes Limiting Revenue Growth for IT Staffing Firms, relying exclusively on your superstars to carry the team is not a sustainable business model. When 80% of your revenue comes from only 20% of your sales reps you know you have a BIG problem. Tolerating poor performance including bad hiring decisions, long new hire ramp up cycles and high employee turnover leads to missed sales quotas and increased expenses, not to mention the loss of a job for the sales leader!
Having now written several hundred blogs on everything from sales prospecting, sales leadership, employee training and how to close deals, I decided to aggregate some of the more interesting and surprising sales statistics I've churned up over the years. I share them with you in hopes they may inspire you to improve the way in which you sell. The topics include cold calling, sales process, sales training, sales methodology and much more. Enjoy!