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SALES

A Sales Force Built Around Cold Calling

To thrive in a recession, the sales force at iCore Networks focuses on cold calling

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The Hiring Process

1. An executive recruiter prescreens candidates to find reps with a few years' experience outside the telecom industry.

2. A first interview with sales manager Anthony Chapa. Only 10 percent of candidates advance beyond this stage.

3. Next, a candidate spends a full day with a rep door-to-door cold-calling. "We've had people leave halfway through, because the pace was too much for them," Chapa says.

4. An interview with Michael Bertamini, VP of sales

5. An interview with founder and CEO Stephen Canton

Compensation

Base salary + commission

Average first-year income: $92,000

Average second-year income: $121,000

Average third-year income: $150,000

The Sales Philosophy

"Without a brand name and without market share, the only way to close deals is through activity -- that means feet on the street and knocking on doors." -- Stephen Canton, iCore's founder and CEO

The Employee Handbook

1. Be willing to be coached and managed. Don't be set in your ways.

2. Be on time for the 8 a.m. meeting, and return in the afternoon to plan for the following day.

3. Be interested in a career track. The plan is to expand geographically, with account executives becoming managers and opening up new territories, starting with Philadelphia.

When Calling On Customers

1. On a scheduled introductory call, the goal is to discern whether iCore's system would be useful for a prospective customer.

2. After that appointment, cold-call every other tenant in the same building or office park.

3. If you get no further than the outer office, make sure you size up the age of the phone on the receptionist's desk.

The Expectations

Quotas are set by the number of "seats" the reps sell, which corresponds to the number of individual phones using the system.

Companywide quota: 8,000 seats a year

Experienced rep's quota: 1,500 seats a year

New hire's quota: 75 seats per month

The Results

Total revenue, 2008: $17,025,510

Revenue per salesperson: $1,418,793

Revenue versus quota, 2008: +25 percent

Revenue growth, 2007—08: +45 percent


The Typical Workday

7:30 a.m. One or two new reps meet with their manager for individual coaching. "We use this time to help a rep who is poor in a particular area, like learning how to talk about the technology or how to set a realistic forecast," Bertamini says.

8 a.m. Reps gather to discuss successes and failures from the day before and to role-play how to overcome objections.

9 a.m. An hour of intense telemarketing (20 to 25 calls per rep) to cultivate companies that reps can call on later that day.

10 a.m. '†’ 4 p.m. Reps head into the field for cold-calling.

4:30 p.m. '†’ 6 p.m. Reps return to the office to enter the information they've gathered into iCore's contacts database and Salesforce.com CRM software and to research the prospects and places they intend to visit the following day.

IMAGE: Illustration by Miles Donovan
Last updated: Sep 1, 2009




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