As a new sales manager it’s easy to get caught up in a million different initiatives and lose track of what is really important: your team. After all, without a team you won’t hit your numbers. So, here are a few things to think about before your team completely writes you off as their new manager:
Assess The Sales Process
Nothing is more frustrating and crippling to your sales reps productivity then an inefficient sales process. Lack of process leads to reps storing account and contact information in Google Docs rather than putting that precious information into Salesforce. When it comes time to make tweaks to your marketing initiatives and defining your ICP, you will end up with a lot of missing data you believed you had been tracking all along. Continue reading
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Although an extremely important concept in sales, how to calculate sales ramp up time is often unknown by sales leadership. Learning how to calculate your sales ramp up time allows you to make more informed hiring and forecasting decisions.
At its most basic, sales ramp up refers to the the time it takes a salesperson from when they are first hired to when they are fully productive. Although a simple concept, there is currently no industry standard and companies calculate ramp up in many different ways. Continue reading
I was recently involved in a sales call at Ideal Candidate with a company run by a couple of old friends of mine. While I was comfortable asking their help to setup the initial call, I am not the kind of person to abuse that relationship to push a sale – I’d much rather their company see the value proposition in our product.
Unfortunately on the sales call I probably talked too much – I am after all, a technologist.
I am hugely enthusiastic about our technology and our science. But that doesn’t explain the actual value our our product.
I’ve been thinking about this since the call. Continue reading
No one needs to remind you that your company’s future heavily depends on the success of your sales team. But are you reminding yourself of this critical question: Am I hiring enough salespeople?
Let’s look at the numbers to see how big your sales team needs to be for your company to out-sell and out-grow your competitors.
How big should your sales team be?
InsightSquared’s blog recently featured the numbers on HubSpot’s headcount back in 2009. At 100 employees, 36% of HubSpot’s employees were in sales.
Today, HubSpot has over 1,200 employees with an even bigger percentage of them in sales: around 39%. Continue reading
There’s a growing emphasis on customer focus these days. Approximately 30% of Fortune 500 companies use a customer-centric organizational structure (i.e., business units organized around specific customer segments) rather than a product-centric one. But is there a danger in being too customer-centric?
A recent Harvard Business Review article by Professor Lee and colleagues details the surprising costs of being a customer-centric company.
The benefits of being customer-centric
Lee and colleagues’ research on 137 Fortune 500 firms finds that customer-centricity results in:
greater knowledge of customer groups (e.g., uncover unmet needs)
higher customer satisfaction
The costs of being customer-centric
This research also found that customer-centricity results in:
increased organizational barriers to sharing and communicating
higher complexity-related costs and losses of economies of scale
higher marketing and coordinating (i.e., managing interdependent activities across internal units, suppliers, and customers) costs
Is being customer-centric profitable? Continue reading
We’ve all heard the Gallup stat: 68.5% of employees are not engaged at work. That sounds bad. But is it? Does being engaged at work actually matter when it comes to performance?
A new study by Yale University’s Khwaja and Yang found that employee engagement does in fact make a difference when it comes to sales.
What engagement is
Employee engagement is considered a catch-all term that refers to an employee’s passion for and commitment to the job. In general, there are three main factors to engagement:
Dedication: feeling enthusiastic and pride towards your work
Vigor: feeling invested in your work and persisting during challenges
Absorption: being engrossed in your work
Levels of engagement differ between employees (i.e., how engaged they feel at their jobs in general) as well as day-to-day within an employee. Continue reading
A recent Harvard Business Review article by Professor Kumar and colleagues makes a bold claim: A sales rep’s past performance doesn’t predict his or her future profitability.
What they argue that you should be using instead to assess the profitability of your sales team is salesperson future value.
Salesperson future value (SFV)
Professor Kumar and colleagues define salesperson future value (SFV) as the net value of future revenue from a salesperson’s customers (i.e., the customer lifetime value (CLV) of the rep’s existing and prospective customers) after accounting for the costs of developing, motivating, and retaining the salesperson.
By examining seven years of data on approximately 500 salespeople and their customers in a Fortune 500 B2B software, hardware, and services firm, these researchers found that they were able to accurately predict SFV within a three-year horizon, as it becomes too difficult to predict customer behaviour beyond that point. Continue reading
The Harvard Business Review recently published a great article featuring research on the sales compensation that best motivates salespeople. I know how busy you are so I wrote this handy summary for you instead.
The best part? Designing a sales comp plan that maximizes your revenue doesn’t have to be complicated.
Caps on commissions. Research suggests capping commission, a standard feature of sales comp plans, decreases high performers’ motivation and effort. You’re basically telling your sales team: you’re making us too much money, you can stop now.
Racheting quotas. There’s a lot of disagreement about whether you should increase a sales rep’s annual quota if they exceeded it in the previous year, but doing so can upset high performers who may view this as unfair. Continue reading
Even in this era of inbound leads and social selling, the reports of cold calling’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The truth is that for the vast majority of companies, outbound prospecting is still a crucial part of their growth and revenue generation.
Luckily, The Bridge Group and the QuotaFactory have looked at the numbers on the state of outbound prospecting in their latest Outbound Index report.
Outbound prospecting KPIs
41 SDRs (sales development reps) from B2B technology companies were surveyed about their prospecting activities in the second quarter of 2014. This included more than 14,000 prospect conversations and over $51M in new pipeline generated, with the average deal size ranging from $80,000-150,000. Continue reading
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One of my favourite products doesn’t do customer support very well. It takes days to get a response, and it’s typically not a good one. The contact section of their websitehas a phone number to call for sales, but a form to fill out for support. What does that say to me? That they care more about new business than existing customers. I believe if the customer support – now commonly referred to as customer success – team was managed by the sales leaders this wouldn’t be the case. Continue reading