Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What's Your Capacity?

A lot of sales managers know they have a problem. Trouble is, very few know what the real problem is. At the end of the day, not knowing is the real problem.

Conventional Wisdom:
Forecast stinks? Hire more reps to pound on more doors.
Reps not hitting their number? Find better (read: more expensive) reps.
Opportunities stuck in the pipeline? Drill into your reps with twice-weekly forecast meetings.

Finding the root cause of poor sales performance requires asking yourself some really tough questions – and no, it does not always mean spending big bucks to add headcount. Often, when a sales organization looks inside, they find that the problem is not capacity…so what sense does adding another high-priced sales resource make? Allow me to explain:

The firm that I work for recently decided to bring on a salesperson to drive incremental revenues by prospecting and carrying opportunities to close. Obvious solution: hire a top-performing sales professional with a services background. Right? Wrong.

A salesperson of that caliber commands a big nut: six-figure base, bonus, commission, benefits, etc. After looking at a number of great candidates, we were forced to look inside at the real problem that we were trying to solve.

Our conclusion was striking. Between our CEO, Sr. Client Partner and me, we were pretty confident that we can take any real opportunity and move it forward to a close…the challenge was simply finding the opportunities.

SO – long story short, instead of finding a guy who was looking for a quarter of a million dollars a year with a sales capacity of a single person, we found a young, smart hotshot who can bang the phones, network with colleagues, find opportunities and flip them to us.

For half the price, we have triple the sales capacity.

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