The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


What do they do when…

I am assisting one of my clients recruit and on-board an Inside Sales Rep.  As an engineer by background my client has expressed disappointment on how difficult it has been to find a Sales Rep capable of meeting his expectations.

He has been following the usual path; looking for someone with prior experience; assuming that experience will readily transfer to his company; find a “hunter” he can plug-in; should be a snap.  After enough trial and error, he called.

Always preferring to start at the beginning, we chatted about the oversight of his previous reps; the structure of their daily routine; their on-boarding; etc.  We agreed – no specific processes were in place.  Just expectations – get someone to set a bunch of appointments – inexpensively.

My client agreed to join me at the beginning to start his search and on-boarding of his next new sales rep.  He created a written job description for bi-directional candidate screening; a compensation plan both affordable as well as offering incentive income for over-performers; and an initial 13-week, ramp-up plan.  (Actually, he simply borrowed a copy of my 13-week plan.)

While putting his program in place he was surprised at the amount of effort, detail and documentation I advocate.  Although it appealed to his engineering background, he didn’t expect such necessities for sales; leading to my reaction on his reaction:

What do most sales people do when they don’t know what to do? 

Unknown Sage

Confessing he hadn’t given it much thought, we went on to discuss that selling is a skilled process requiring clarity of expectations, structured methodology, and continuous coaching.  Further, in the technology industry, sales is a team sport not an individual endeavor:

Kevin Joyce, a sales and marketing leader in the technology industry, shared the following on effective collaboration. “When there is not a crisp definition of what people should do, they will gravitate to what they want to do. As a metaphor, I refer to this as ‘swarm ball.’ If you ever have any children that play soccer under the age of 10, you know what I am talking about. The entire organization basically swarms around the ball and the ball is whatever the issue is at that moment.”

As my client prepared to welcome his next new recruit, I cited advice from another Subject Matter Expert, Townsend Wardlaw, on what his next new sales rep’s first day, first impression should be:

That wasn’t how my client did it in the past.

We have continued our preparation to on-board his next new sales rep.  We’ve included weekly training and practice sessions.  When my client expressed surprise at the amount of commitment I emphasized for continuous training – even for an “experienced” sales rep, I offered:

Think training is hard? Try losing. 

Davee Jones

As his engineering tendencies came to the forefront, there was more than a bit of worry about adding up all of the time he and his team would be devoting to the new sales rep.  “Was this really going to be affordable?” he wondered.  This brought to mind the thought process of the Founder of my company:

“Someone once asked me if it’s worth $100 million to win the America’s Cup,” Ellison says in the recent documentary The Wind Gods. “It’s certainly not worth $100 million to lose the America’s Cup.”

What’s your company’s approach?  Do you rely on your structured processes for sales performance?  Or do you seek that mythical character known to some as a “hunter”?


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