How to get a good sales person if it is not possible to hire one?

In my previous post we saw that it is better not trying the impossible and hoping to find the one and only solution of all our sales problems: the ultimate Senior Sales Person.

Finding an UNEMPLOYED GOOD SALES?! Isn’t it an anomaly anyway?! If he is good he is not unemployed, is he?

So instead of chasing ghosts what I believe we need to do as a first step is to understand what is the current situation of our sales. (again I am only talking about IT Consulting organizations)

We do not want to make the most common mistake thinking that the most advertised medicine is the best for our illness, right?

So instead of spending a lot of money on HR selection of ‘the Sales Guy who comes and just sells’ or buying ‘the ultimate CRM software which sells in itself’ let’s start with the ‘diagnosis’:

So what is the problem with Your sales?

– If You are the owner of a business usually You can afford to brief the situation like: ‘Our sales is zero’

– If You are a managing director You would probably sophisticate the conclusion by giving: ‘Our sales is not effective’

– If You are a Sales Director You probably feel ‘My sales department cannot get the proper budget to be able to perform better’

– If You are a Sales Rep You can tell ‘I cannot get the proper help and tools to perform’

Though all statements above can be true at the same time none of them are a ‘diagnosis’. None of them describes the real problem of the sales in Your organisation. It is just like with the human body the reason we can describe any problem to a doctor is because we know how our body works when everything is alright. But many companies cannot describe the problem of their sales because to do that they should know how a sales should function when it is functioning well. And only few companies have a written (!) Sales Methodology in place to be able to compare what is in it and what is actually happening… So what anybody can tell: there is a problem as we cannot sell or cannot sell at a good price or to the right customers… but all these statements are just symptoms of a problem not the problem itself. Because to describe an organizational sales problem we should know what would be the normal process of sales within our organization. (even the history of our company cannot help us to find the ‘business as usual’ state of our sales because sales processes (sales monitoring points specially) should be independent of historical ups&downs of our sales results)

So the right question You probably want to ask:

– Is it possible to get to know what to do? (to get a ‘diagnosis’?) Even if we do not have a written sales methodology?

– Good news is: Yes, it is possible to define the sales problem at most of the IT Consulting companies

– Bad news: it is going to be unbelievable (1) and going to hurt (2) (Well not the diagnosis but the treatment.)

  1. It is going to be unbelievable
    because everybody likes to believe in solutions that are most advertised. Let me give You a list of things that WILL NOT HELP Your sales in themselves. They are all elements of a good sales methodology but without a precise ‘diagnosis’ these medicines could do more harm than cure:

    1. Hiring a Senior Sales Person
    2. Hiring more sales representatives
    3. Buying a sales training
    4. Giving more commission to our sales
    5. Giving less commission to our sales
    6. Buying a CRM
    7. Changing our CRM
    8. More advertisement
    9. More online advertisement
    10. More partnership
    11. More sales events
    12. more money spent…
    13. much more money spent… 🙂
    14. “…anything goes…”
  2. It is going to hurt

    because to solve a certain sales problem, usually we need to define new sales processes and new monitoring processes, need to build a Sales Methodology or update an old one and these all mean more tasks, more todos and there is only the senior management who could do this. So the pain is theirs (shall I say Yours? 🙂 When I said painful treatment I didn’t mean more work. Work or more work is not a problem for a real manager and definitely not a pain. Pain is the re-prioritization of tasks in favour of sales processes. But if You’ve got a real need this sacrifice is a must. (It is also true that business development consultants could help in the process and can do some of the job, but because this is what I do every day I want to be honest it is a lot of work for You as well)

And now finally I can finish the topic of my previous post, and answer the question in the title of this one: How to get a good sales person if it is not possible to hire one?

  1. To understand what is wrong with Your sales You need to have a strong Sales Methodology (in written form).
  2. Once You have a Sales Methodology, You can hire a Senior Sales Assistant.

    Not more than that, not somebody who sells Your service (=takes care of the whole sales process), but somebody who can follow the written work-flow of Your Sales Methodology and take You to the meeting room where Your next customer’s decision maker is sitting and waiting for You to convince him to buy. (actually waiting for You to sell them Your service)

  3. And after having the Senior Sales Assistant if You still want somebody to take care of the whole sales process, You should make him/her to behave as a real decision maker from Your side. (this is not acting (s)he should be a real decision maker) So You need to train her/him to become a kind of partner of Your company. That is the only way to develop somebody who would be ‘big’ enough to negotiate about mission critical IT consulting services with the decision makers of Your future customers. That is the only way for You to stay away from the customer: if You develop somebody who convincingly looks as big as You are.
    Someone told me that in a healthy IT Consulting firm the managing partner looks like a developer and the sales director looks like the boss…
    I can tell You that today it is not the look anymore. If You want a successful sales director he should be one of the big-ones from Your side and it is not enough to print word on his/her business cards like ‘VP of sales’ or ‘CSO’.

– So how to get a good sales person?

– Developing one with the help of so many little things but mainly with a Sales Methodology…

… next time I am going to take You to the universe of Sales Methodologies…