Tips for Entrepreneurs – 4 Articles

On this spring day in Colorado, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the snow came back.  Instead of working in the yard, I decided to work through a long reading list previously saved on Safari.  I had saved several articles on start-ups and the lifestyle of entrepreneurs.  They are …

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6 Questions To Ask a Candidate In An Initial Sales Interview

Building a great sales organization is the first challenge a sales leader will face.  The sales leader must define the attributes and abilities of a successful sales employee relative to their organization. The sales leader must evaluate who on the existing team has the necessary abilities, who is able to learn the necessary abilities, and who will bring the necessary abilities into the sales organization.  Deal Efficiency (see previous blogs on this site) can only be achieved through building, a team of focused, efficient, and productive sales people.

Every great sales leader uses a hiring process to build their team.  Generally, this process will contain several steps – an initial screening, in-person interviews, extension of job offers, and on-boarding.  There are many wonderful books detailing great hiring methodologies.  The reality is no one hiring method is the perfect process for making what are very difficult personnel decisions.  A suggestion is to read several and adapt a hiring methodology right for your organization. This is an integrated approach that will mesh well with the existing corporate culture, including the needs of sales leadership.  Read Hire With Your Head by Lou Adler for examples of excellent hiring methods.

Listed below are sample questions for the initial interviewing phase .  The initial screening phase should accomplish several goals:

  • Efficiently narrow a large resume pool of candidates to a practical pool of in-peson interview candidates.
  • Effectively utilize the time of the hiring manager.  Conduct the first interviews via telephone – no more than 20 minutes.
  • Effectively utilize the time of the prospective candidate.  Quality organizations respect the time of the candidate as well.  If the candidate is obviously not a fit for employment, remove them from the process in respect of their time.
  • Create a diverse pool of candidates that can effectively be scheduled for in-person interviews.
  • Establish a clear understanding of the interview process, date of expected hiring decisions, and interviewing expectations for both the candidate and the organization.

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Churning the Bottom 20% of your Sales Organization Annually – Good Idea or Bad?

Over the past few weeks an article or two has appeared in LinkedIn, and other sources, espousing the benefits of churning (terminating) an arbitrary percentage of the sales organization annually. Usually these percentages range from 10 to 25%. And usually these articles don’t mention any type of churn in other non-revenue producing divisions of the company. Churning the sales organization in this environment is rarely a good idea. Here’s why:

Deal Efficiency is crucial to high performance sales organizations

Sales organizations must deliver prospects and customers that match organization production capabilities, legal requirements, and generate an appropriate level of innovation. In an efficient selling organization sales people cannot deliver deals outside production capabilities and corporate legal requirements. Likewise, production must have an acceptable level of flexibility to support  competitive marketing with changing customer requirements. If a corporate culture exists with performance standards for the revenue team and not similar standards for other divisions a caustic revenue generation culture will emerge.

Click for moreChurning the Bottom 20% of your Sales Organization Annually – Good Idea or Bad?

Don’t Force the Income Statement into a Balance Sheet.

Ultimately, successful start-ups and turnarounds are able to connect vision (strategy) to efficient day-to-day execution (tactics).  How these startups connect vision to execution is defined by leadership, teams, and good old-fashioned hard work.  The start-up and turnaround environment is exciting, stressful, and almost always characterized by constrained resources. A common …

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Deal Efficiency – Maximum Profit & Margin for Each Dollar/Unit Sold

  For companies to remain competitive in the market of today,  sales and marketing organizations must efficiently utilize all available corporate resources.  The graphic above illustrates the sales performance philosophy of Moriah Ventures, LLC.  Moriah Ventures provides sales consulting strategies designed to garner maximum profit and margins for each dollar/unit …

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The Sales Funnel is Dead

The Sales Pyramid – An Effective Alternative to the Traditional Sales Funnel

The traditional sales funnel is old stale thinking  promoting bad habits in the complex world of business to business selling.  The customer pyramid is the antidote to these bad habits.

1-15-14 Customer Pryamid COPY.001

The Customer Pyramid – A better metaphor for suspect development

The customer pyramid  implies  suspects can only reach the ultimate goal of                                    becoming a revenue generating customer, via executable strategies and tactics.  Strategy and  tactics administered by sales professionals.  The strategic and tactical efforts of sales professionals are the forces which pull suspects up to the top of the pyramid.

Traditional Sales Funnel

In the traditional sales funnel, metaphorically,  customers are the few business at the bottom of the funnel.   The imagery of the sales funnel is these few customers support a vast universe of suspects and prospects.  Furthermore, the funnel suggests  a constant  stream of prospects flow, like water, through the funnel by the effects of the powerful force of gravity.  The implication being revenue generating customers are created by outside forces, metaphorically gravity, alone.

Alternatively, the imagery of the sales pyramid represents strategy and tactics as the force ultimately pulling suspects through the revenue cycle into satisfied customers.  Outside, uncontrolled forces working alone cannot pull customers to the top of the pyramid.

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Establishing Culture on the Revenue Team

Establishing culture in the sales organization is crucial to creating efficient high performing sales teams.  The sales leader must define what is important, create a common language, establish expectations, and set values that are understood.  Obviously, there are many strategies and techniques to establish culture. An inexpensive example of establishing culture …

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