While anyone can win once in awhile, consistent sales growth does not happen by accident. It does not happen by luck. It does not happen because you have the biggest payroll. It happens because the right players are in the right positions, following the right playbook and led by the right management team.
If consistent growth is not taking place in your organization, it might be time to make some changes in how your sales department is structured. Specifically, it might be time to specialize.
Does any of the following sound familiar?
- Sales productivity is low and employee turnover is high.
- Life is a series of never-ending fire drills. Your sales team lives in the important/ urgent quadrant and ignores the front end of the pipeline.
- The head of sales is constantly on the road travelling, working with the enterprise reps to close deals, leaving the business development team without a definitive plan, oversight or guidance.
- Worse yet, you don’t have a business development team. Your enterprise reps are responsible for building their own pipeline and business development activities get pushed aside in favor of more enjoyable activities like meeting with prospects. Your sales revenue ebbs and flows month to month, making it tough to make accurate forecasts.
All of the above are symptoms of a sales management team that is stretched too far. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack.” In today’s competitive environment, who can afford to have an overburdened leader slowing the whole pack
To move faster, lighten the load
We’ve talked before about how breaking down the sales role into three distinct functions (business development/ opportunity management/ account management) will lead to faster sales growth and greater sustainability. What we haven’t spent too much time on is why a divide and conquer strategy also works for sales management. When it comes to why, the short answer is “focus.” Because when it comes right down to it, focus ultimately leads to speed. When it comes to how, we’ve found that to gain that singular focus, business development teams should be lead by business development managers and enterprise sales teams by enterprise sales managers.
Think like the owner of an NFL team
Not convinced? To put it in terms we can all understand, the best coaches always specialize. Think football. Defensive coordinators lead defense. Offensive coordinators lead offense. Then there are those that lead special teams. In fact, some NFL teams have up to 25 different coaches. Why? When you play at a high level, details can be the difference between winning and losing. The divide and conquer strategy gives the individual leaders more time to focus on details that matter in their area of expertise and keep their team moving with pace and purpose.
The game of selling is not all that different. The best managers also specialize, and for much the same reason – the strategy, tactics and execution needed to succeed differ depending on which end of the pipeline is being worked. The more you can specialize on the specific skill sets needed to perfect the “game,” the faster you can move and the better the end result. It takes teamwork to move the ball downfield
It is important to note that segmenting business development and enterprise leadership roles does not mean that the two should never interact. In fact, for any hope of success, it is critical that they do. Back to the sports analogy, if you look at the sales pipeline as the length of a football field, the two must ultimately work together to move the ball from the line of scrimmage into the opponent’s end zone. The business development specialists will ideally pick up the ball deep in their own territory. They’ll work the cold leads to uncover opportunity and build brand awareness, then move the ball downfield, building assets and developing relationships. Midfield, they’ll share the ball handling with the opportunity management specialists (enterprise reps) as they continue to penetrate the account. When the right time comes, some forty yards or so from the goal line, they’ll hand off the ball altogether and let the closers bring it in for a touchdown.
Buy vs Build
While business leaders often think they are saving money by consolidating leadership positions, stretching resources too thin is never a good idea. Not having the proper leadership in place produces more inefficiency which in turn costs the organization more due to the resulting lack of training, focus, accountability – all of which lends itself to employee churn and increased training costs.
If your organization does not have the personnel in place to build out business development into its own full-fledged department, the next question becomes whether or not you build internally or outsource to an expert. Ultimately, the choice boils down to how long you want to take to get things up and running, whether or not you have the infrastructure in place to scale and whether or not you can find a partner you can trust to help you grow your business.
Truth is, there are instances where it makes sense to build from within. For many, however, hiring a virtual sales organization like NuGrowth to manage and execute business development is the more attractive alternative. For one thing, it is extremely cost effective. For roughly the cost of a VP of sales, you can get the focused new business development rep, specialized sales management and systems – all housed within a well- honed organization. For another, it is faster. It’s also, inevitably more focused.
As one client told us, “To hit the right outbound volume, it has to be your mission. It has to be your focus. You can’t do it part time. By sourcing it out (to NuGrowth) we know there are no distractions.”
If your organization is constantly living in fire drill mode, your pipeline is drying up or your sales aren’t reaching expectations, outsourcing your business development to the team at NuGrowth might be your Solution.
If you are interested in working with a partner you can trust to grow business, please give us a call at 800-966-3051.