Sales quotas are not the only metrics that need to be met by a successful office technology sales manager. Recruitment quotas must be established to create the pool of candidates a dealership needs to succeed in building a money-making, energized and competitive sales force.
I have interacted with hundreds of sales managers over the last 18 years and have worked with several who have moved from dealership to dealership. The good ones have several things in common and they all care about sales. But what would make good sales managers great?
The job of the sales manager has to include looking forward on a regular basis to how he (or she) can build his team with new talent. Sales reps leave - sometimes not soon enough - but they do leave. If a sales manager only focuses on finding new candidates when a position opens up, he is being reactive instead of proactive. Sales management must look at a monthly recruitment quota that is inspected along with a monthly sales quota for managers.
Several problems occur when a sales manager is reactive and waits for a territory to open up. One problem is that a territory most often opens up because the current rep is not performing, which leaves business on the table for the competition to swoop in on because it has not been worked sufficiently. This usually coincides with negligent CRM reporting, leaving a new rep with bad information and poorly serviced current accounts. This is a tough environment for a sales manager to be choosy in, and leaves the door open to the philosophy of “anybody is better than nobody,” which is prime for quick hiring and attrition.
Another issue resides in sales managers not working on or practicing their interviewing skills on a regular basis. They are well versed on meeting with clients - they do that every week, continuously practicing their selling and presenting skills. They also have regularly scheduled sales meetings with their team members, allowing them to hone those skills once again. But if they do not have regular phone and in-person interviews, and do not regularly hunt for new candidates, those skills become rusty, making an ideal candidate more difficult to find.
Steps to Recruitment
A different approach to sales management could include a structured recruitment quota and an accountability guarantee that the sales manager has the strongest sales team out there. Sales managers should be accountable for weekly recruiting. This can happen through many avenues, including LinkedIn. A sales manager can view his competition's company page on LinkedIn and look at its sales executives, who often identify themselves as account managers in their profiles. Once he finds them, he can communicate with them.
There is a fee-based Google Chrome extension called Lusha that allows you to find a person's email address and phone number while you are viewing his LinkedIn profile. Critics may be asking: “If a sales rep is successful at his current company, then how can you poach him?” Well, people make job changes for many reasons - commission structures may suddenly change so they are not in their favor; accounts they have worked on may have been taken from them and given to major account reps; they do not get along with management; or their territories change, just to name a few.
We ask our prospects to consider us as technology partner candidates. We ask them for meetings to talk about switching to our dealership, even if things are going relatively fine with their current vendor. We make those meetings and, often, we can convince them to make a change. Recruiting is the same. There was a story in the news recently about a professional basketball player with a Nike contract. The player’s Nike shoe actually broke during a game and he sprained his ankle. His team lost the game and he will be out for some time.
It did not look good for Nike. Nike’s contract was up for renewal and, before the shoe blowup, I am sure the player was planning on renewing, and his agent told Adidas and other shoe companies that he had no interest in switching. However, if Adidas had regularly interacted with the player and his agent and communicated that it wanted the player on its team, wearing its brand, when this opportunity came up, Adidas would have been in a position to have the “switch conversation” and convert him to an Adidas contract. Now that would have been good recruiting.
If you use this example and continuously focus on recruiting and executing on a recruitment plan, you will guarantee that your dealership can be first in line to have the “switch conversation” with a successful, experienced sales player. Establishing weekly and monthly quotas will provide the structure and accountability needed for this initiative to stick. Just as we say in sales, “inspect what you accept.” The same holds true for recruiting. Every sales manager should have several experienced sales candidates he is nurturing through phones calls, lunches, dealership tours, emails to the candidates' Gmail accounts and LinkedIn messages. These techniques allow for electronic communication that the candidates' current dealerships will not be aware of.
Each sales manager should be expected to provide, in writing, the names of who they are recruiting and where those relationships stand. See the chart on page 18 for an example to use. Recruiting must also coincide with reviewing your current sales team members and being willing to cut ties with non-performers. I always say “activity for salary and commission for results.” Although attrition is hard, having sales reps not completing their required activities (which we all must agree is the only way they do not succeed), brings down a team's morale and ends up being even more difficult for the manager.
Sales reps who are accomplishing their prospecting, current customer meetings, and administrative and CRM-entry requirements make money - plain and simple. If they do not or will not, they should not be on the team. “You are only as strong as your weakest link” applies to sales teams as well. The sales manager's job is to find, hire, onboard and motivate his sales team members to exceed their quotas every month. Sales quotas guarantee a focus on selling, and recruitment quotas guarantee a focus on cultivating and finding the right sales team members.
Kate Kingston is founder and president of the Kingston Training Group (KTG). With more than 17 years of success in making appointments with decision makers, she is a recognized authority on lead generation, cold calling and new business development. Kingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.kingstontraining.com