SALES must H.A.V.E. an approach to Sales

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Cross-industry sales experience of 21 years, covering a spectrum of sales domains like –Demand generation/ Channel Sales/ Key Account Management / Sales planning /Sales Strategy & Sales team management in B2B and B2C segment, has made apparent some fundamental sales insights. The most critical insight being “keeping sales simple”. If a Sales Leader can find answers to the HAVE aspects (below), success can be granted and the approach to sales can be created in the organization.

For a Sales Leader – knowing the sales style is a way to say who you are ! Without having to say much……

 1. Hiring & Onboarding: –

The productivity of any sales team depends on the people in the team. The mantra is to Hire Right and swiftly onboard a sales resource.

Hiring: – Sales leaders should look at people:

  • Basis sales-related expertise, skills and behaviours and not necessarily the same industry/experience. This helps the sales team to get a different perspective and out of box thinking. This is especially true in the dynamic sales environment.
  • Are Aligned with company values and culture.
  • That bring in diverse perspectives. This would aid healthy competition and peer pressure to perform better.
  • That have demonstrable sales behaviours, persistence, influencing, customer orientation, commercial acumen, resilience.

On-Boarding: – Design a robust On-boarding process for new hires, the objective is to get a resource produced in the shortest possible time without compromising the process. It is important to design the onboarding keeping in mind the company/brand values and culture.

 2. Attrition cost – should be a sales manager’s key KPI:-

Cost of attrition should be accounted for in value terms by each Sales Manager. Like the sales managers are accountable for receivables and revenue, they are equally responsible the cost attrition. This is a cost which is often ignored, from cost point of view it’s not the Salary alone but the below cost parameters should also be calculated and added: -for any new hire to become productive needs minimum time of 6 – 9 months.

  1. Cost of onboarding
  2. Cost of time which HR / L&D / Sales leaders spend while hiring
  3. First 3 months of Salary cost of the new hire.
  4. Cost of future business – As sales people tend to take business relationships along with them.
  5. Business opportunity loss due to non- availability of resource.

The Sales leader must be made accountable for the above cost – This will ensure that the Values and Culture of the organization are being driven and the sales leader will spend time on people development. The onus of the success and failure of the sales team is then dependent on the sales leader. Remember the cost of Acquiring a new client is always 5 times more than retaining the existing client. It’s important to move from a transactional approach to a relationship value approach in sales.

3. Variable Vs. Fixed Debate: –

Most Sales leaders have a dilemma on Fixed Vs variable component. The argument being that a higher fixed component may lead to lower motivation for the salesperson to achieve stretch targets. The counter to is lies in working on the Potential to increase the target approach rather than percentage growth over last year nos. Its important to build a culture and clear alignment with the sales resources to focus on the potential, that can be tapped and link that to the variable component. This followed by enabling the salesperson adequately to tap the potential, can be a multiplier. Let the Salesperson decide how much his ambition is and how much take home he wants. There should be kicker on Variable component for all if the team achieves the variable- this will fuel collaboration and team work as well. People will play for self and for the team as well.  Few critical things which need to be kept in mind are as under: –

  1. Clear understanding of the potential and targets
  2. Clearly explain and enable the sales resource on “how” approach
  3. Variable needs to be quarterly disbursed and on time just like salary credit.
  4. Crisp and simple calculations of variable
  5. Track and regular MIS on Variable which can be achieved
  6. Set benchmarks and celebrate the high performers. – To reinforce its possible.
  7. Reinforce – variable is part of salary.
  8. Team kicker

4. Energy

Sales is directly proportional to the energy in the team. Lot of Sales leaders speak about Hard work / Smart work but would be well served to add a very important aspect of – ENJOY Work.

If as a sales leader you can build excitement and positive energy in the team- it results in every sales resource looking forward to coming to work. The concept of an Energy meter is critical more so in the current Physical environment. The question is how to Mobilize everyone’s energy to win. Energy is more infectious than the latest coronavirus. Its important for the sales leader to always have the PULSE of the team more so when the resource is working remotely. The concept of Commitment Gap is important – this means that there is a difference between the actual performance level achieved and the performance level they would be able to achieve if they did their best. It’s a proven fact that team energy is directly proportional to achievement hence it is critical for sales leaders to address the energy deficit before it starts to hit the sales figures.


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