5
Mar

Plan on Six Months Before New Sales People Produce Meaningful Revenue

ISVs should plan on at least six months preparation time before new sales people start producing. Better not to hire new sales people than to bring them in under an unreasonable expectation of how quickly they will start selling.

New sales people must be trained before they start working with prospects and customers. A good sales training program includes:

  • a technical introduction to products and services
  • all of the information required to write sales
  • a review of the sales plan, territory or industry assignments
  • a review of the business plan
  • a review of any restrictions on selling to prospects working for regulated organizations in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors, along with proper etiquette guidelines

Tests should be included in the training program to make sure important points have been correctly understood. Any sales people failing tests should be kept in training until they pass. Sales people are often the only representatives of your business prospects meet. They need to communicate your message and accurately represent your company. If you aren’t sure they are 100% ready for the job, don’t put them in front of prospects.

Assigning new sales people to existing territories is a good way to pay for the training time. You already have a stream of revenue coming in from existing customers. New sales people with the right skills and experience can be safely trusted to manage accounts. An account manager spends a lot of time exercising customer service skills. Usually these skills are the same across an industry.

If account managers are expected to provide technical support to customers, then it makes sense not to place new sales people in these roles until they demonstrate correct understanding of technical procedures specific to your products.

Start ups and early stage ISVs have a tougher time finding a way to pay for new sales people. Usually these businesses do not have established territories requiring account managers.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

16
Mar

Establishing Sales Quotas can be an Effective Motivational Tool for Sales Staff

CEOs at innovative tech businesses usually think about implementing a quota system as a method of building revenue. We think that the real value captured by implementing a sales quota system, regardless of whether or not revenue targets are ultimately attained, or not, is staff motivation to meet or exceed targeted quotas.

We have considerable experience working with a type of sales person who maintains a high sense of urgency. Our typical sales person operates in a highly stressful environment. True, compensation targets are ambitious and rewarding, but day to day operation requires a personality comfortable with making solid commitments, exercising patience and dedication, and, finally, competing for prizes. Our type of sales person responds well to sales quotas. After all, a quota is no more than a target. Highly competitive individuals can even enjoy the work required to attain targets, not to mention the related payout and financial reward.

But for businesses looking to accelerate revenue, to take a major step forward from one level of activity to a new and much higher level of activity, establishing quotas cannot be the sole method of attaining objectives. Rather, a sales quota program works well alongside complementary marketing programs that do the job of successfully positioning the business brand within striking distance of market perception and, through that congruence, contribute a lot of value to the effort to move up on the revenue scale.

To reiterate: the marketing job, as we see it, is to align the intended business brand with the actual market perception of the brand. The closer the alignment between what a business promotes and what a survey of a correct market segment indicates is being perceived, the quicker the path to revenue growth. In fact, many of the related methods become that much more plausible as a direct result of overcoming any market gap. If market perception of a business brand is far removed from an intended message, then steps need to be taken–via any available means–to narrow the gap. Sales will certainly benefit from this type of healthy brand marketing.

Nevertheless, sales quotas generally stimulate the creation of regular, persistent sales activity on the part of sales personnel, which is certainly beneficial to tech businesses targeting enterprise business markets.

Along with implementing sales quotas, a tech innovator should have a CRM system in place that includes a method of ranking lead quality as well as a set of milestones that correspond to a “typical” timeline for the lead development and sales cycles. With lead quality and timing in place, management will have the information required to predict near term revenue and plot the business course of the near term.

We have considerable experience in these areas. We welcome opportunities to discuss requirements with innovative businesses with technology products for enterprise business markets. Please call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com to further a discussion.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved