Make Your Salespeople Hunters – The very first turnaround that I did, I was the President/CEO of a computer distributor that sold hardware, software, and service. There were 17 salespeople and a sales manager when I joined the company. The #1 person on the sales staff was responsible for generating 55% of the company’s sales. The other 16 salespeople did 45% of the sales. I planned to make the balance of the sales staff more productive. That would increase the cash flow and profitability of the business. The company was very close to closing its doors and filing for bankruptcy protection.
I reviewed the current month’s sales journal, and the average customer order was under $10,000. To get this company profitable again, I needed all the salespeople to be productive. I set a goal to increase the average size of the customer purchases. I assigned each salesperson ten target companies to call on to become HUNTERS.
Make Your Salespeople Hunters and your customer service people farmers.
From the Philadelphia Business Journal, I found a list of the top 200 companies in the Philadelphia area. I reviewed the list and eliminated the businesses that were already on our current customer list.
There was a whiteboard in the sales conference room. I wrote on the top of the board 1 to 17 and on the left side 1 to 10. Then, I assigned ten target companies to each of the 17 salespeople and listed them on the board.
I then created a new sales commission program. Each rep was responsible for maintaining their current list of customers. The salespeople also must make appointments to visit each of their ten targeted companies. The incentive plan paid the salesperson a $500 bonus for the first $5,000 gross profit purchase from any targeted company. The commission increased to $2,500 if the first order had $25,000 gross profit. We monitored the sales staff on a weekly basis to make them accountable to call on the target companies.
Make Your Salespeople Hunters as well as every employee in the company.
The bonus payments were extra and did not affect their regular monthly commission check. The bonuses are new customer bonuses. They were paid in cash with $100 bills at the Friday sales meeting in front of the sales team. I believe rewarding the staff in front of the group; it is very motivating for those not receiving the bonus payments. Incentive plans for new customer sales work well to generate new customers.
Make Your Salespeople Hunters.
At the first sales meeting and every one after, each salesperson reports their successes to the sales group. At the first meeting, some salespeople were embarrassed when they explained due to no progress with their targeted list. That did not happen after the first meeting because it was crystal clear that this company was a turnaround. They either followed my directions or find a new job.
The results of this turnaround – the company went from $50 million and a loss of $2 million from the prior year to $130 million in sales and a profit of $4 million in nine months. We sold the company after nine months. If that deal did not happen, the company was on a run rate to do $175 million a projected profit of $10 million.
Make Your Salespeople Hunters – Send the salespeople to where you want them to go and incent them to be successful.
My name is Robert Curry, and I am an Author, CEO Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Turnaround Specialist. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with more than 70 companies taking their businesses from Loses to Profits.
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I have recently published two books about turnarounds: “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround” and “The Turnaround.” Both books are true stories about turnarounds of real companies that I have turned around during my career. In both books, I have shared all my Profit Improvement Recommendations (“PIR’s”). PIR’s helped to grow sales, reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and most importantly, strengthen the management teams.
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