Tag Archives: Inside

How Do You Optimize Your Sales Organization? Seven Points

Situation: A company currently has inside and outside sales teams, and coordinates efforts with SalesForce.com software. Their strategic initiatives are to double inbound leads, create a triage approach to new leads and to lower the cost of sales. How do you optimize your sales organization?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • When outside sales claims that they have limited band width, it is necessary to find how they are spending their time.
    • If they are not spending most of their time developing and closing sales, adjust the system so that they are concentrating their efforts in these two areas.
  • Decide what the sales teams are selling – set up the organization so that it complements the sales goals and objectives. Below are alternatives used by others.
  • One company has evolved “product managers” who are like sales engineers but more experienced. They are highly paid and highly skilled. They are business oriented, with good communication skills, well rounded, and have successfully closed sales.
    • In contrast, the role of this company’s “salespeople” is to follow up. Lower level salespeople are tasked with generating leads for the product managers
  • Another CEO observed that what the company has done up until now all has worked well. The question now is how to mature their system?
    • This company’s solution has been to use outsourced Inside Sales Support (ISS) based abroad to find prospects.
    • ISS personnel are teamed with and managed by the company’s salespeople. Salespeople develop their own system. The ratio is  1/1, but outside personnel are ½ time for each salesperson.
    • This allows the company to reduce services quickly if they become overwhelmed.
  • A third company uses a 3-tier system:
    • Prospect development.
    • Inside sales for lead evaluation.
    • Outside sales – get hot leads from inside sales, develop, close.
  • Consider this alternative: instead of a shotgun approach, target three accounts – Elephants. One company did this with an intense 6-month focus. The President and CEO drive these sales. The result: they have closed one, one is pending, and a third is likely to close.
  • Another CEO observed that the essential issue appears to be an efficiency problem.
    • Too much of the outside sales time adds limited value to marketing or the company.
    • Redirect their efforts to hunting.
    • Once an account is closed, sales is out of the picture. The customer transitions to the customer service organization for additional sales and service.

How Do You Develop a Sales Organization? Four Points

Situation: A small company’s business is increasing and they need to build a sales organization. To date all sales have been conducted by the founder CEO and a single employee salesperson. Should they build inside or outside sales first? Are there trigger points at which one or both should be increased? How do you develop a sales organization?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Right now you have first mover advantage in your market space. You have a unique offering and no existing competition. The immediate objective is to maximize early market share. Borrow if necessary to ramp sales. There is no trigger point.
  • Hire an outside salesperson now. You want an individual who is knowledgeable about your market and who has a large set of contacts. Make at least 50% of this individual’s compensation variable (commissions) to start and escalate the percentage of variable compensation as sales grow. Hire at current market rates.
  • Supplement your existing marketing with an investment in social media marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). Don’t try to do this yourself on the cheap – hire a pro. Invest in Pay-Per-Click to push your visibility.
  • To sell this plan to your existing salesperson and the rest of the team, it’s time for a Come to Jesus talk.
    • Make a strong business case for your program.
    • The trade-off is either invest now to rapidly build sales or become insignificant.
    • Once you’ve made your pitch and received consent, let the plan work before you ask for more.