Every business wants one: the quota-breaking “hunter” who can track down new leads, represent the company well, and make the close (all while bending steel in his bare hands and scaling tall buildings in a single bound!). Yes, the sales superstar! Make no mistake; they are out there. Sales superstars can indeed be found and lured to your organization – for the right price, that is. But what if your company needs a sales superstar, but can’t really afford to hire this key player? Consider these factors and options:
Know your Sales Department staffing budget
Think of it as a salary cap, like in pro football. You’ve only got so much money to spend, and because of that, you’ve got hard choices to make. In some ways, you’re like the Indianapolis Colts when they had to decide whether to keep proven performer Peyton Manning or go with younger/cheaper/unproven Andrew Luck and supporting players. Actually, if you don’t already have a sales superstar on staff, maybe you’re more like the Denver Broncos who had to choose between acquiring a superstar in Peyton or bolstering its team to support a player with potential (Tim Tebow). You get my point. You’ve only got so many dollars to spend. Every decision you make will have to work within that constraint.
Establish your goals
First, determine how much revenue you want. I say want because your present staff is already generating what you have. But if you want to double or triple your sales, you’ll need to change the quantity and/or quality of your sales team.
Do you want a sales team that is more proactive and less reactive? Do you need a frontline sales leader who can more easily access higher levels of decision makers? One who is used to – and comfortable with – calling on larger companies? If so, perhaps you do need a budget-stretching sales superstar. One who is already operating at the level you now desire. However, if one or more of these factors seem less critical, consider supporting your front line sales efforts with behind-the-scenes role players.
Identify roles and tasks
First, look within. Does your current staff have the right mix of skills and talents to ably contribute to a total (and more successful) sales effort? Consider repurposing current role players in your organization to make your front line sales efforts more productive. Can your staff take on inside sales and lead generation? Don’t forget that you can also make use of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Such a tool can keep your sales engine moving forward without overburdening your sales reps or support staff.
Also, consider the role of your organization’s owner, president or CEO. Should he or she be the true sales manager or “closer”?
Hire for the skills needed
Once you’ve established your goals, you can confidently hire for the skills you need. You should do this within the context of your overall sales strategy and tactics. Instead of one Peyton Manning, can you score consistently with an Andrew Luck and two new tight ends, while continuing to benefit from the contributions of veteran role players?
The Bottom Line:
Hiring a sales superstar is tempting. It’s also expensive and risky. If the superstar performs up to your understandably high expectations, great! But you might have to pay even more to keep your superstar from going to greener pastures (or fields of play, as it were). Hiring support resources or reassigning role players to another role, on the other hand, could elevate your entire team to superstar status.
Written by: Mark Thacker
Founder and President