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Limited Resources = Limited Success

LAS VEGAS, NEV. -- I have spent the last three days and nights in Las Vegas on vacation prior to speaking at a conference later this week. During this time, I toured a few new hotels, saw a show, dined at great restaurants, viewed the Grand Canyon and visited Hoover Dam. If you haven't been here recently, it's a great spot to visit. However, two things hit me:

  1. The recession has really affected the area. It's No. 1 in foreclosures, with supposedly more to come; it has the highest unemployment rate in the nation; and some of the hotels and casinos are starting to close!

  2. Lake Mead, which was made by the creation of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, currently only has 47 percent of the required water supply; it is down 163 feet! Hoover Dam not only supplies water to large Southwest cities, including Phoenix and Los Angeles, it also supplies the electric power. As the water supply dwindles, so will the ability of this manmade wonder to generate water and power for the increasing needs of the population.

The lights of Las Vegas still are bright, yet they only receive 3 percent of their power from the dam (which is just 55 minutes from the strip) and 90 percent of its water supply. The water shows at the hotels are impressive, yet everyone knows they are in a 25-year drought.

Most of the locals understand their resources are becoming limited, yet they are expecting tomorrow to be a success. I am unsure if this could be the case unless they have new resources in place. As a sales leader, are your resources ready for tomorrow's success?

The biggest reason most sales leaders are fired is their inability to achieve sales quota. No surprise. However, based upon our 13 years of consulting on business and sales management issues, the more general reason sales leaders fail is because their resources are not well positioned for tomorrow's success.

What do I mean by this? Sales management must know their future quota objectives at least 18 months out. This will allow sales management to make sure they have the required number of salespeople to achieve that goal. For example, if you expect each salesperson to achieve $1 million of sales and you have a $10 million goal, the obvious answer is to have 10 salespeople. However, we all know that is unrealistic as not every salesperson in every organization will achieve their quota or -- because of their level of maturity and experience -- they will need to "ramp" to that level of production. You must also take into consideration that you will lose X percent of your sales team each year. So what is your hiring plan for 2012?

Second, the newly hired salesperson (resource) is not adequately prepared to contribute. We find this in almost every new client organization. The new hire on-boarding process is not well designed to quickly raise productivity and ensure the new resource can sell your organization's and products and services.

Next, we find that "rigors of cadence" are not part of the ongoing development of the sales team. What I mean by that is sales certification and training programs are not rigorous or demanding in performance. We like to see a testing process to validate each salesperson can represent your company on at least a yearly basis designed to improve everyone's professionalism. Also, we find there is not an ongoing cadence or sequence of training programs built on a regular basis. These programs should cover not only sales training and skill development, but also sales operations (CRM), industry knowledge, competitive awareness and product/service expertise. These should be planned 90 days in advance or each quarter. Do you have your summer training program prepared?

The other resource most overlooked is understanding the impact of the marketing funnel on the sales funnel. The question is: How many leads are required to enter the sales funnel each month from marketing and your sales team to ensure you, as the sales leader, always have an adequate level of sales opportunities to exceed your sales objectives? Only by measuring and knowing these numbers and the various ratios of opportunities as they move through the sales funnel will sales management be confident of resource allocation. If you would like a worksheet on this issue, send me an e-mail: [email protected]

These are just a few of the resources you as the sales leader must consider; review my past blogs to find topics on time management, sales meeting agendas, personal development and more. If you are interested in learning more on hiring and on-boarding salespeople, you might enjoy reading our new book Hiring High Performance Sales Teams. Summer is a great time to consider your resource development program; how will you personally improve your own resource?

Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 06, 2011


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