I'm listening intently at this GrowCo. session to Tom Searcy, founder of Hunt Big Sales, and co-author of RFPs Suck. I was excited about this one because I too feel the same about RFPs! He's talking about 5 Sales Myths of Fast Growth Businesses.
1. Hiring. Most CEOs feel that they do all the big deals in their business. Is that true for you? According to Tom, it's never going to change so get over it. You are, and should always be, your best salesperson. He went on to say that we should really avoid hiring the ultimate blue chip sales representative thinking they'll take that over from you. The big name reps are unpredictable and prima donnas.
Janine's take on the advice: I've hired the blue chip salesperson and got burned by this one, so I totally agree. And I agree that any CEO should be a great salesperson, but I do believe that there are great salespeople that can represent any business, and in many ways they may even know the operations of a "deal" better than you.
2. Activity. Do you wish your sales reps would just sell harder? Do you want them to send more e-mail, make more calls, get more active? He pointed out how foolish we are if we bought CRM tools or spreadsheets thinking if you "track" activity more, people will be more active. But according to Tom, it doesn't mean it will come.
Janine's take: I do think that tracking sales makes all reps more accountable to their numbers, and tools are a great way to do that. But I do think that relying simply on tools and not invigorating your reps won't work in the long run.
3. Logo Hunting. Tom goes on to pick some fun at big logo hunters. Many salespeople think that if they land one large account the rest will follow. According to Tom, it won't be worth it. You might find that your sweet spot is the mid market and the deals are easier deals to do.
Janine's take: We've chased some big logos in our time, and some have worked out very well and others, not so well. I do think that when you close with a large customer, you will get the attention of other large customers, but that shouldn't be the end all be all of your sales strategy. Sometimes a healthy mix is just what you need.
4. M&A. If you're thinking you'll grow through acquisition, it can take your focus away from the core of the business.
Janine's take: In the early years of VerticalResponse, we looked at growth through acquisition and it really did distract me from the day-to-day business at a time when the business really needed me. But I do think that it can be core to your business if it opens up a new revenue stream or gives you a product you need for your suite.
5. Ramping Up. One of the best pieces of advice I heard from Tom: if you've got a great salesperson, take them out to a big fat steak dinner. Tell them what a great job they're doing. But if you have just average salespeople that are still "ramping up" months later, they won't get better with all of the tracking you do and all of the money you pay.
Janine's take: I agree with Tom on this premise with one important caveat: you need to make sure you have a proper training program dedicated to getting these people up to speed on your company, your market and your product.
Have you had any experiences with Tom's myths? Share them!