How Soon Should You Make Changes to Your Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

The First 90 DaysThis month's newsletter from IDC's Sales Advisory Group lists 5 things which a new Sales VP should do.  Some of them are good, but others not so much.  Among their points were some that have nothing to do with being new, plus one with which I am in complete disagreement.  Consider 4 of their 5 bullet points below:

  1. They said: Tap into your organization's resources to get up the learning curve, fast.
    I say: You should tap into your resources whether you are new or not!  There is more to learn than your own business.  You should be learning about your competition, your customers, new verticals into which you can sell, and your team's capabilities.
  2. They said: Upgrade your sales operations team ASAP and lean on them to develop and drive the strategic agenda to improve sales productivity and effectiveness.  
    I say: If you don't have a large company, then you don't have a sales operations team.  You must go outside for that help.  But wherever you turn, you should follow this point whether you are new or not.  Sales operations includes systems and processes and most companies aren't even aware of the systems and processes which they should have, never mind the companies whose systems and processes are completely ineffective and don't support the sales force.
  3. They said: Leverage your strategy, operations and finance teams to quantify and assess your sales investment levels, resource allocations and future areas for investment to drive productivity improvements.
    I say: Once again, if you aren't in a large company, these teams don't exist and you must go outside for this help, but you don't have to be new to do this.
  4. They said: Assess your team and rapidly make changes.
    I say: You should absolutely assess your team, new or not.  But here is where I strongly disagree with IDC's suggestion.  If you are new, you should not change anything during the first 90 days.  The fastest way to alienate your entire team is to make changes too quickly.  In the first 90 days, you must build relationships, gain their trust, establish your credibility, lower their resistance and work on your strategy and sales plan.  Then, with the intelligence and action items, which come as a result of  the sales force evaluation, you can begin making the recommended changes based on science and data, not knee-jerk reactions or worse, historical numbers from spreadsheets and reports.  The goal is to determine who should be part of the sales force going forward, not who has performed in the past.  Watch this video about why you should evaluate your sales team.
Why You Should Evaluate Your Sales Force

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales management, sales competency, assessment, IDC, new sales manager, new sales vp, Sales Advisory Group

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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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