Based on recent discussions with managers, 2014 is certainly looking like a tough revenue year for many companies. By far, the number one strategy firms are using to address these challenges is to add originators and work them harder.
Managers can gain much insight from Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler’s Predictable Revenue, a great book that takes a fresh look at sales strategies and what works today. The authors note “that the false assumption in selling is that salespeople will find new business on their own from past Rolodexes or lots of cold calls, with a minimum of help or investment from the company.” They further claim that no sane manager should roll the dice on success by hiring experienced sales professionals, turning them loose on territories and letting them sink or swim. Increased hiring does not necessarily correlate to better sales results.
The authors ask, “Why do managers keep making this same dumb mistake?” They claim that “when under pressure or stress, people tend to retreat to the safe place of what they know rather than taking the risk of trying new things. People tend to do more of what is not working rather than stepping back and trying to figure out a new approach.”
According to Ross and Tyler, a better way to develop a predictable revenue stream is to divide the sales staff into three groups. The first group consists of salespeople who are outbound telephone qualifiers; the second group are inside lead handlers for the web and phone inquiries and the third group are the face-to-face closers.
The outbound group initiates calls. They are professional consultative salespeople who qualify the sales opportunity that will be handled by the face-to-face closer. The outbound sales group focuses on developing new sales opportunities for the business.
The inbound group handles all incoming leads until they are qualified. The leads are then assigned to the closers.
The closers prospect on the top 10 strategic referral sources; they handle current customers and develop new referral partners. These highly valued sales people should be performing high-value activities.
Adding originators and hoping that they will improve revenues is an old strategy that is past its usefulness — it is costly and disrupts the sales organization. It is time for a new sales organization model having the best originators generating loan demand and using the most impactful technology to assist them.