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Why More Salespeople Doesn’t Guarantee More Sales Blog Feature

May 22nd, 2014 min read

Why_More_Salespeople_Doesnt_Guarantee_More_SalesThis post originally appeared on the Force Management Blog. To read more content like this, visit the blog here.

In an effort to quickly grow his or her company’s bottom line, a sales executive often makes the mistake of asking that more salespeople be added to the sales force.

The reasoning is completely sensible. Add more salespeople, get more sales.

The problem with this approach, however, is that more salespeople won’t necessarily drive more revenue.

Why Hiring More Salespeople May Do More Harm Than Good

Expanding the sales force is a strategy that should be implemented in order to create long-term growth, not as a quick fix to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, a new hire very rarely produces profit straight out of the gate.

Base pay and benefits aside, the cost of onboarding any new hire, let alone several new hires, requires a substantial investment of company resources just to get the right person on the team. Not to mention the effort to train them, and the ramp-up time before they can successfully start selling on their own. In any hiring scenario, there is risk.

There’s always the possibility that the new salesperson won’t end up being the right fit for your organization. Often, it’s not until after the investment in training that a mismatch becomes clear.

Before you try to justify a round of new hires, sharpen your vision. What are the business goals for this quarter or for the year? Determine the end-game and then work backward. 

Remember, expanding the sales force is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix. Consider a realistic estimated date when you could expect to see increased profit as a result of new hires. This date may be much farther down the road than you and the rest of your senior leadership may expect. In fact, you may drive revenue more efficiently by shifting your focus to one of these key areas.

1.  Enable your team to spend more time selling

According to research at SiriusDecisions, each sales rep and manager spend at least 2.5 hours per week managing the forecast. Multiply that by the number of people within your sales organization and that’s valuable time not spent selling. Putting a rhythm behind territory and account planning, as well as forecasting, frees up your salespeople to do what you need them to: sell.

2. Drive higher-level sales conversations

 It’s all too common for salespeople to get caught in conversational limbo while the “gatekeepers” of a prospective company relay messages to and from the actual decision maker. This form of selling is inefficient, and cripples your average deal size. 

Selling higher in an organization means your salespeople need to speak about your solution (its value and differentiation) in a way that solves C-Level business challenges. A framework that gives your sales teams the necessary tools to have higher-level business conversations is a critical step to improving margins and increasing your average deal size. 

3. Work Smarter

Force Management's Brian Walsh always tells his Command of the Message® students, “I’d rather have one meeting with a great outcome, than ten meetings that don’t go anywhere.” To achieve those great outcomes, you need a sales team that works smarter. Give them the tools they need to consistently: 

1. Move opportunities through a buyer-powered sales process

2. Drive qualified pipeline and actively forecast opportunities

3. Manage opportunities efficiently with a repeatable messaging platform focused on customer value drivers.

Throwing more people at a problem in your sales organization isn’t always the right way to generate more revenue. Don't fall victim to that often-made sales mistake. Make sure you are evaluating all areas of sales effectiveness before deciding whether hiring more salespeople is the right path for your company to take.

Rachel Clapp Miller is the Assistant Marketing Director at Force Management. Force Management specializes in sales transformations that help B2B sales organizations increase revenue, improve sales margins and gain market share. Follow them on Twitter: @ForceMGMT and on LinkedIn.

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