To thrive in a recession, the sales force at iCore Networks focuses on cold calling
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
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.
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
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.
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman
APRIL JOYNER is a reporter for Inc. magazine. She regularly covers sales and marketing topics and writes on start-ups for Inc.â€™s Elevator Pitch column. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @aprjoy