Manage your sales strategy like an investment portfolio
According to Alexander Group’s Sales Pulse Survey, sales executives are being challenged to grow the top line by 6% in 2011 without increasing their investment in sales resources. They will need to get more yield from their current levels of investment. Like any other investment, if sales executives need to produce more yield, they know they will need to manage their portfolio differently. Recent comments at a Chief Sales Executive Summit offer insight into how several top sales executives are approaching this challenge:
Trade out under-performing resources. Replace low end (bottom 10% to 20%) with “fewer more highly paid sellers.” Find replacements with greater business acumen and deeper industry insight. Though fewer in number, their skills enable far greater productivity per seller.
Invest in new processes, targeted tools and training. Find “best in class” processes among top sellers which can be standardized via training, tools and coaching. Use this to export best practices (and associated results) to the middle 60% of the sales organization.
Invest in communications and training for first line managers. Everyone knows these people are the key to getting more yield from sellers. Without active, robust support from line sales managers, NOTHING CHANGES. Small investments here can lead to big improvement.
Gutsy moves to weed out under-performers, upgrade selling talent, invest in new processes and training for line managers are what these executives are counting on to deliver the numbers in 2011.
Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.
Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.