Ten Slides in Ten Minutes:
Sales – Back to Basics
[Capturing the Hearts and Minds of Prospects & Clients]
Bill Graham APM.APMP
Definition of a Salesperson
• The Salesperson is the heart of the sales organisation and is the person responsible
for selling the organisation’s offerings, while being remunerated with a basic salary
and commission payments
• The basic being the income for the person to live on, while undertaking basic
organisation duties and the commission as a result of revenue/profit sold (i.e.
• A Senior Salesperson is someone who has at least 10 years sales experience and
can support his/her successes with evidence. In other words, it’s a person who is
mature in sales with a successful sales track record.
Common sense is what it takes to create and manage a successful sales team.
The unfortunate truth is that successful sales teams are not that common...
Best Practice Sales Structure - Sales Organisations
• A good Sales Manager / Sales Director leaves nothing to chance and always starts
with a ‘clean sheet’ at every salesforce organisation consideration. This allows the
person to always be in a situation of developing the sales structures - ensuring
relevancy and migrating towards a best situation scenario. It is a time consuming
exercise but necessary to eliminate the unnecessary churn within most sales
• A problem may occur in having current specific skills to ensure correct decisions are
made in this regard. Thus, it may be a requirement to utilise the services of a thirdparty firm that specialises in assisting companies in the sales and marketing of their
offerings. Services ranging from sales/territory alignment, incentive compensation
plans, recruitment, training etc... could be offered
• In larger organisations an Account Manager (or the like) will be responsible for the
growth and retention in the very large accounts (sometimes referred to as key,
nominated or strategic accounts).
Best Practice Sales Structure – Sales Support
• The sales team must be supported by units focused on Bid Management, Bid
Centre functionality, Sales Operations and Solution Architects. Without these
people the actual process of winning deals becomes a hit-and-miss exercise with
reducing return on investment (ROI) of the sales expenses over time
• …and the marketing unit must be fully interlocked with the sales unit at all levels to
ensure correct focus and efforts. Strategic market development is also an
imperative… not an option.
Best Practice Sales Structure – Ethics
• All employees are ambassadors of the organisation to which they belong and this
must be reflected in all interactions that they have with third party entities. These
third party entities may be clients, customers, organisations, professional bodies,
vendors, partners etc.
• The following is a typical code of ethics:
Be honest and trustworthy
Respect your client and colleagues
Contribute to the well being of the organisation
Respect the rights and privacy of clients and colleagues
Acquire and maintain professional competence
Honour contracts, agreements and assigned responsibilities
Acknowledge contributions from all.
Best Practice Sales Structure – The Sales Plan
• The fact of the matter is that a sales plan is a living document and must be visited
regularly. In fact the salient points should be included in the monthly business
review pack and the achievement against the targets highlighted. If this is not the
case then the organisation is actually ‘flying blind’
• So, what should a sales plan consist of? Simply, the answers to the following
What is going to be our major focus going forward?
What must change to ensure a successful journey forward?
What steps must be implemented to achieve our goals?
What territories and targets are going to be allocated to each salesperson?
o ...and the easiest way to ensure that a Sales plan fails, is to overcomplicate it.
Sales Compensation Plan - Design Principles
The most critical aspect to crafting a compensation plan (a living document) is the
correct definition of the design principles. These must embrace the strategic vision of
the organisation and should support at least the following:
• Remuneration: Compensation based on a fixed element (basic) and a variable
• Strategic focus: Drive the required salesforce behaviour
• Simple in approach: Easy to understand, interpret and implement
• Maximise growth potential: Accommodate cross-selling and up-selling
• Adapt to changing marketplace: Flexible and easy to modify (with acceptance
• Affordable: Protect organisation’s cash flow. Commission payable when
payment in bank.
Sales Tracking System
A sales tracking system (sometimes referred to as an Opportunity Management
System) could be as simple as consolidated Excel Spreadsheets
Sales leadership can focus their effort on assisting the salesforce in closing deals
timeously (and hopefully will be supporting the organisation’s strategic business
aspirations). The information also has a number of other valuable uses e.g.:
Identify which salesperson needs additional support
Reflect what product/services are selling better
Indicate what products/services are not selling and need to be ‘pulled’ from the catalogue
Identify where there is potential for replication into a new territory or client environment
Raise early warnings of under-achievements (salesperson, department, region or company)
Show the actual time from sales cycle initiation to closure (e.g. major outsourcing deals
could take many years)
Indicate the investment required for each opportunity (resourcing, proof of concept, pilot
Show which salesperson needs additional/specific training
Central repository for ‘handovers’ should a salesperson leave
Emphasise any sales gaps across the organisation
• Why are sales steps necessary? To enable a formal analysis, as to the progress of an
opportunity, the reason for the activity/inactivity and the salesperson/business unit
involved in the opportunity
• With this information, a view can then be created of potential inhibitors throughout
the sales cycle and interventions initiated to ensure that the same problem does not
re-materialise. This could be ensured with additional training, better collateral, focus
on relevant offerings, relationships etc.
• Without reasonable granularity of sales step it is impossible to ascertain any useful
information for the continuous improvement cycle
• Thus, consider the active opportunities. This is where the actual ‘make or break’
decisions are made during the client interactions – with, typically, many of the
organisation’s business units. Each pertinent step must be identified to ensure the
relevant analysis may be achieved
• And, a simple fact of life is that, a four sales step cycle is insufficient…
Annual Sales Conference
• The formal company-wide sales conference usually takes place on an annual basis and
typically occurs as close to the start of the financial year as possible.
• What the event should be:
Informative, Interactive and Fun
Not for partners or spouses
Attended by sales-related personnel only (except for special guests / speakers)
Away from the office environment (1 or 2 nights sleep-over)
Review of the company’s results
Review of the previous financial year’s activities – positive and negative
Presentation of awards
Introduction of the Sales Plan & the sales compensation plan
Strategies / Plans of how the sales plan [targets] can be achieved
Networking amongst sales resources (new, regional etc.)
External speakers (marketplace research, motivational etc.).