Invest in sales – it’s cheaper than developing a new product!
Highlights from the 2011 Chief Sales Executive Forum – Part 3
Read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series
The sales organization can be considered a “short / long-term” investment. There is the up-front cost of bringing on new reps who may take anywhere from 3 to 18 months to fully produce. But compared to the R&D costs associated with bringing a new product to market, this investment can be relatively minor. The trick is to make sure the positive ROI is in the timeline that you set with your executive leadership team.
Here are some tips from sales leaders at our recent Chief Sales Executive Forum for making and delivering on the case for sales investment.
Align with Marketing. If you’re planning a new campaign where the ramp time for the sales organization is long, consider a “carpet-bombing” approach with your Marketing counterpart to keep the pipeline filled with new leads.
Maintain Patience. And Discipline. If your expected ROI is on a 3-year time horizon, keep your executive leadership team focused on the milestones achieved in the business plan, not the short-term dollars coming in. As one sales leader put it, “We include: AND WE MUST HAVE PATIENCE at the end of every presentation as a reminder to the leadership team.”
Measure More than Revenue. Have a clearly defined scorecard for your initiative with key metrics aligned to your business plan. Hiring a lot of new reps? Include on-boarding, time to productivity, training goals, and other non-revenue metrics to emphasize the process, as well as the results.
What other tips do you have for winning the case for sales investment?