March 2, 2014 at 6:45 AM
You missed the number. You presented your solution at a recent board meeting. Now the board is asking: “Are the goals of your transformation plan attainable?”
In a previous post, I recommended you conduct a Sales Productivity Benchmark (SPB). This is a comprehensive environmental scan of your entire sales force. When completed, an SPB provides the roadmap to correct course and make your number. Now, you and the board are ready for the next step: the Feasibility Guide.
The Feasibility Guide helps calculate the impact of your proposed solutions. It has three main objectives:
- Provide a starting point for discussion. This is not a business case, but rather a simplistic compass. It quickly quantifies your ideas. From here, your management team should build detailed business cases.
- Prioritize the possible solutions. The degree of difficulty and expected return of value will vary by solution. Dig into the math to determine which will deliver the biggest bang.
- Save time. You can spend several weeks building a comprehensive business case. You will get a precise answer. But you don’t have time. You need something quick. Something directionally correct. The Feasibility Guide will get you on the right track.
February 19, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Recently a client asked me: “How do we know which partners/ distributors to invest in?” The question was a result of declining sales, and the need to refocus selling efforts. Indirect sales and dealers is a bit of a different game. Keen oversight and analysis is necessary to keep both parties fresh and productive. It soon became clear that my client needed an objective way to review their partnerships. Too often there’s a tendency to view the partnerships in light of past sales. While this provides value, this weight shouldn’t be as great as other key indicators.
February 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM
You missed the number. Now you have to address this issue at an upcoming board meeting. The board wants to know how you will solve the problem. How will you communicate to the board and shareholders that you have an answer? How do you plan to transform your sales force and correct course?
January 28, 2014 at 7:00 AM
You lose a top performing rep and quickly go into a mental tailspin. You think about the ramifications and logical course of action. Questions surface such as:
January 17, 2014 at 7:00 AM
As the CEO, you have a company growth objective. It could be customers, margin, or top line revenue. Whatever the reason, the objective is real. This year, you’ll likely answer to a board or major equity investor about it. Your job security is on the line. Your plan must be aligned with their expectations.
According the “Year-End CEO Report” conducted by Challenger, Grey & Christmas, CEO turnover rose in 2013. There were “1,246 CEO changes in 2013, 2.6 percent more than the 1,214 departures announced through all of 2012.” Dig into those departure numbers and I bet many were due to growth issues.
Ask Yourself Two Questions
January 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM
You’ve relied on the same tried tired and true hiring practices for sales reps over the last couple of years. And what has it gotten you? The same recycled reps that come with Rolodex in hand. They guarantee new business is just a call away. When evaluating potential candidates, you’ve probably asked, “How do I know if they’re legit?” If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. This is a common dilemma for many CEOs and hiring managers.
Rolodex vs. Social Network
December 29, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Interviewing for the VP of Sales requires a lot of preparation. Many candidates spend hours honing interview responses. However, surprisingly few candidates spend enough time developing questions they should ask. This a big mistake. Sometimes the VP of Sales position is a great new opportunity. Other times, it is a role destined for failure. To understand whether the job is suitable, candidates must ask the right questions.
December 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Everywhere you turn, there is more competition. The competition is clamoring for your customers and your piece of the market. In addition, customers have tight budgets and business purchasers scrutinize expenditures like never before; winning over new customers and upselling old ones has become more challenging. Differences in how you engage your customers have become a critical skill to master. You need to understand how are you different compared to your competitors?
December 9, 2013 at 7:00 AM
A critical issue you face as CEO is how to increase sales productivity. As you head into 2014, you have identified or hired your key sales players. This team is going to help you make the number. You know your tenured reps can get the job done. The unknown factor is the crop of new sales reps. Two-thirds of organizations say ramp takes 15 to 18 months at the very least. This means the new hires will not make an impact until in year 1. Now you have a big issue on your hands. You are going to miss your number.
November 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM
As CEO, you feel like you have seen this movie before. Sales gets off to a fast start at the beginning of the year. Come Q4, that lead has evaporated and now sales is threatening to miss the number. They struggle to close deals. Excuses come from every direction. Your sales leaders will frantically try every trick in the book. The victims here are your potential customers who have to deal with a barrage of sales tactics. These efforts are not sustainable. There are better ways to avoid the pain of missing the number. Best in Class sales organizations use a different approach.