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.
Learn more about AGI’s findings.