The key to scaling a sales team is having a defined sales process with clear guidelines that dictate behaviour. This way, adding to the head count yields a predictable ROI, and the only barrier to expansion is finding great talent capable of executing the plan. However, this "predictability" is one of the key traits that top salespeople look for in a competitor, because it is easily overcome.
Salespeople are incentivised to hold on to deals with little chance of closing to pad their pipeline for the monthly sales report. Why they do it is clear, however, revenue isn't the only casualty of this behaviour. The real toll of a full, fake pipeline is greater than the individuals' revenue contribution, for the following three reasons:
Six months ago, I self-published my first book and committed to building a network on social media. With no prior experience of LinkedIn or Twitter, I approached the process with the same mindset as networking in person. The following four basic sales principles demonstrate how I formed trusted relationships with key influencers and gathered the fastest growing audience in my industry.
A salesperson recently told me that customers are a "pain in the arse" because they never respond, battle against the sales process, and want to pay as little as possible.
Salespeople, this isn't personal (unless you make it personal with an unprofessional approach). It's just business, and the following examples of nonconformist buying behaviour are opportunities to differentiate yourself.
There have recently been several articles about burnout in the business environment. In support of this issue, I decided to share my own experience of burnout as a salesperson, and how I learnt to recognise the warning signs and take control of the situation. This extract is taken from my book The No.1 Best Seller:
Business is booming, you are travelling to multiple countries a week, hosting deals and pitching relentlessly to maintain momentum, and all free time is spent entertaining clients with rich lunches, boozy dinners and sporting events. SBryanp is far from your mind and you are firing on adrenaline because the commission is stacking. You constantly drink coffee and eat chocolate to maintain energy levels and your beautifully tailored suits begin to feel a little tighter. It doesn’t matter because you are making the most of the current opportunity and nothing will stop you.
Part 2 of this series (5 Crucial Aspects of Successful Sales Compensation Modelling) discussed how sales roles and incentive plans change as companies grow from startup to enterprise organisations. This third and final article describes the practical steps to redesigning the sales compensation plan.
Change for the sake of change is both unnecessary and disruptive. Similarly, moving from one imperfect compensation plan to another equally imperfect plan is a waste of time. Sales leadership should perform an annual review to assess the efficacy of the existing incentive model and whether it remains competitive, aligned with the company strategy, and continues to drive the desired behaviours. If not, it's time to make a change.
The first article in this 3-part series (How to Design a Killer Sales Compensation Plan) introduced the concept of behavioural theory and how it affects sales compensation design. This second article discusses how compensation packages suit different stages of company and product evolution.
The main challenge with designing a sales compensation program is the primary sales role constantly evolves as the company grows and the market matures. The following diagram, courtesy of The Alexander Group, explains the four phases of growth and how this impacts the business.
This article is the first in a 3-part series that discusses various aspects of successful sales compensation design.
Sales leaders tend to have a strong opinion on the value and use of incentives. Their views are based on firsthand experiences and beliefs, and are often unconscious. As a result, their approach to sales compensation design can be biased toward past experiences, dismissing a broad range of options and philosophies available to drive the desired behaviour.
For example, most organisations believe salespeople possess a binary motivation to maximise their earning potential. However, other companies are purpose-driven and reward their sales teams based on group performance. We frequently hear how the millennial is "purpose-driven", but the key to any incentive plan is to define the word "purpose".