What is the Best Sales Model for Your Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

sales model

This is the 10th article in a January series on the Architecture of the Sales Force.  Here are the others:

Earlier this month, I wrote this article about Sales Methodology and today's article focuses on successful Sales Models.  I previously wrote this article about sales models in 2011.

On its own, the concept of a sales model can be confusing, especially when you mention it in the same breath as sales process and sales methodology.  However, when the word "successful" precedes sales model, it lends more clarity to its purpose.

At Objective Management Group (OMG), we have a model that we share with all of our Certified Partners (the companies that provide our award-winning sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments to you).  It clearly shows them what is required in order to generate $1 million in annual revenue.  They don't work for us, so they aren't required to follow our model, but many do and some demand that each producer in their firm follow our model to the letter. 

So what are the components of an effective model and how can they be applied to your business?

Target - A useful sales model should start with your ideal customer.  Who are they?  Where can they be found?  What are their unique characteristics?  What size are they?  In what vertical can they be found?  Why are they your targets?

Revenue - Next, the model should identify what a typical customer would spend in the course of a year, as well as the product make-up on which they would typically spend it.

Activity - Finally, the model should specify what is required of a salesperson to close one customer.  You can work the math backwards as you fill in the blanks.  Note that this not only could, but likely is, different for each salesperson in your company:

To get 1 closed, a salesperson would have to generate __ proposals or quotes, conduct 
__ demos or presentations, qualify__ opportunities, gain traction with  __ quality opportunities (possible result of the first meeting), schedule a first meeting with __ potential opportunities, have __ short conversations by phone, the result of making __ attempts/requests to connect from calls, walk-ins, introductions, LinkedIn requests, leads, etc.

While the ratios to complete the "to sell one" model may be different for each salesperson, you should attempt to settle on a set of ratios that define your best salespeople.  Rather than thinking how unrealistic those ratios could be for your less effective salespeople, allow it to raise the bar, set new expectations and allow sales management to coach and hold salespeople accountable to that level of performance.

After you have identified the ratios to sell one, they should be multiplied by the number of accounts, deals or sales that each salesperson must achieve this year in order to hit their quotas or expected revenue.  The yearly model might look like this:

7500 Attempts/Requests
1500 Conversations
150 New Scheduled Meetings/Calls
100 Quality Opportunities
75 Qualified Opportunities
68 Demos/Presentations
54 Proposals/Quotes
18 Closed

Quickly, convert those annual numbers to the daily or weekly version - it looks much less overwhelming!  A weekly version would look like this:

   155 Attempts/Requests
   31 Conversations
   3 New Meetings Scheduled
   2 Quality Opportunities
   1.5 Qualified Opportunities
   1.35 Demos/Presentations
   1 Proposal/Quote
   0.35 Closed

You may be wondering how this is any different from the days of making 40 cold calls/day. This is completely different.  Those days were about the number of dials and connects and that's all they were about.  And everybody was asked to so the same dialing.   The reality today is that this model might not require any cold calls to generate those 31 Conversations each week.  6 conversations per day could be achieved in a number of ways without having to make cold calls.  On the other hand, a new salesperson in a new territory might have to make cold calls in order to quickly make progress.  The most important thing to understand is that this is a complete model and not just an appointment scheduling model!

Also remember that this will be your model for success.  When your sales managers have the discipline to hold their salespeople accountable to consistently execute your model, while using your sales methodology to follow the sales process, you will overachieve your corporate revenue goals without exception as long as you have considered any changes in your assumptions.

A successful 2014 starts with the right model, a well-chosen sales methodology and a customized, optimized sales process.  You can't expect your sales force to succeed while they continue to sell by the seat of their pants and you can't choose only one or two of the three components presented here.  You need all three in much the same way that a baseball pitcher must have good velocity (model), good secondary pitches (methodology), and good command (process).  He can have two out of the three and it still won't be enough for him to reach the major leagues.

If you enjoyed this series of articles, I am leading a panel of experts in a complimentary webinar on February 5 at 11 AM Eastern called Leading the Ideal Sales Force.  Register.

I am leading a webinar introducing OMG's Candidate Analyzer, an awesome web tool available to users of OMG's Sales & Sales Management Candidate Assessments.  I'll be showing everyone how to access the tool and how to use it.  February 26, 11 AM Eastern.  Register.

I will be speaking at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 10.  Register.

I will be speaking at the EcSell Sales Summit in Charlotte on April 15.  Register.

Image credit: johnkwan / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales model, sales methodology, Sales Force

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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