It’s a mistake to assume (as some do) that our method is only appropriate to large business.
I think the reason some assume this is that our method inevitably involves the employment of sales support personnel.
The easy (but unhelpful) answer to this concern is to point out that if you can’t afford to have a salesperson fully utilised (by building a sales support function) then it’s questionable whether you can afford that salesperson in the first place!
The good news is that our approach *is* applicable to small business.
The reason why is simple. Our method precedes from a recognition of finite sales capacity (salespeople’s time).
Traditional approaches (implicitly) assume infinite capacity (which is a sure recipe for rapid failure in small business!).
When advising small businesses, I typically recommend the following:
- In the first instance, nominate the Managing Director as the salesperson
- Nominate a minimum weekly capacity for the Managing Director (say, 5 appointment slots a week)
- Spend the money saved by not employing a salesperson to employ a Sales
- Make it clear to the Sales Coordinator that his or her sole responsibility is to ensure that every one of these 5 slots is filled, every week
- DO NOT ALLOCATE ANY OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE SALES COORDINATOR
- Source sales opportunities from existing client base, from networking and from direct mail campaigns (there should be no problem generating the small number of opportunities required at this point)
- Add the operational personnel required to handle the additional work generated by these 5 appointments per week. DO NOT allow the load on the Managing Director’s time to increase.
- When justifiable, add the Promotional Coordination function When the opportunity buffer is large enough to easily generate 20 appointments a week for a full-time salesperson, employ this salesperson (and not before).
- Have the new salesperson ‘puppy dog’ the Managing Director until he or she has acquired the necessary capability. Use the Managing Director’s numbers (T/ASC) as the benchmark against which to measure the new salesperson.
- Give the Managing Director a day off!
This is exactly the process we used to build our own sales process. We have six full-time employees in our sales process as follows.
- One Salesperson (me)
- One Sales Coordinator
- One Promotional Coordinator
- One Event Coordinator
- Two Business Analysts
- Note the leverage (salesperson : sales team members) 1 : 6.
And we *still* haven’t replaced me as salesperson!