Small market team – big market results

Michael Lewis’ non-fiction best seller, Moneyball, chronicles how Oakland Athletics’ GM, Billy Beane and Assistant GM Peter Brand used a scientific method of player analysis called sabermetrics to take a small market team with a bleak out- look all the way to the ALCS, setting an American League 20 game win-streak record in the process.

Tossing aside the traditional, more subjective, means of assessing players in favor of using more objective evidence and statistics measuring in-game activity, they identified undervalued players and acquired the assets needed to compete on the same level as the big spenders – demonstrating that in major league baseball a big spend isn’t necessary to win, using the right system and putting the right players in the right places, is. Ditto for sales.

Better Systems – bigger market footprint

To affordably increase their market footprint with growth driven by sales force, not market force, sales managers and business owners looking to ratchet up their sales need to break away from traditional mindsets. The thinking that one can simply hire a rep or two with a good personality, a few good contacts and a decent resume and expect them to start producing just won’t cut it. Even if they hit a few home runs right out of the gate, without specialization, solid territory management and an ongoing system measuring “in-game” activity, chances are that success is not sustainable.

Stay Calibrated

An objective system of review and measurement that looks at all key indicators within a sales cycle on a regular basis is especially important to ensure the sustainability of a winning sales record. Reason being, if the only thing looked at repeatedly is whether or not quota is being met, a whole host of other problems could be brewing and one would never know. Consider the rep who is hitting quota, but completely ignoring the front end of the pipeline – things may look good on paper in the short run, but sooner or later they’ll come to a screeching halt. With the right systems in place, problems can be identified and corrections made before it is too late.

Stay Specialized

Not only that, it is exceedingly rare for a lone sales rep to effectively play the entire infield alone – tackling business development, excelling at enterprise sales and effectively servicing and growing existing accounts. When the goal is consistent growth through new account acquisition and expansion within existing accounts, these functions should ideally be split among a team of specialists.

Lay the Foundation

Before getting too deep into systems or roles, however, it is important to pause for a minute to talk about laying the foundation. Without a solid infrastructure of people, tools and established processes as a backbone of support, the end result will be like that of a house without a foundation. Sooner or later it will start to crumble. Therefore, the first area of focus needs to be getting the sales infrastructure in place to support the systems.

The following chart highlights the elements necessary to build an infrastructure that will serve as a foundation for sustainable business growth.

Narrow the focus

Once the infrastructure is in place, the next thing to concentrate on is specialization. As indicated above, a growth company – particularly one with a recurring revenue product or service – should have three separate areas of proficiency within their sales department: hunters, closers and farmers.

Hunters (a.k.a. New Business Development Specialists)

Broad territory management: uncovering opportunities, acting as brand steward, building assets and developing relationships.

Closers (a.k.a. Opportunity Management Specialists)

Specialize in Pipeline Management: Turning warm leads into closed sales.

Farmers (a.k.a. Account Management Specialists)

Nurturing and growing the customer base: working established business relationships, generating referrals and identifying opportunities and branching out horizontally within current accounts.

Why specialize?

Three words: Consistency, Velocity and Revenue. To go back to the Moneyball analogy, in baseball different players have different skillsets. The manager’s job is to piece those skillsets together in such a way to produce more runs and win more games. While this seems obvious in America’s favorite pastime, it’s not always as apparent as it should be when it comes to building a sales team. Organizations that do specialize, however, are able to hire more accurately, capitalize on the strengths of their “players” and streamline their processes to produce faster, more consistent revenue growth.

Partner Effectively

If your organization could benefit from a business development team acting as an extension of your company – one that uncovers opportunities, acts as a brand steward for your organization, builds assets and develops relationships – NuGrowth is 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.