Case Study #1

Situation:
Large bag manufacturing and distribution company was concerned about the quality of the existing sales team and the ability to hire better quality sales people. One division needed to hire several new sales people for geographical coverage for their product lines.

Issue:
The VP of Sales and the Director of National Accounts had looked at the cost of a mistake in hiring sales people and concluded that their cost was approximately One Million Dollars per sales person mistake. This number was a combination of direct expenses – salary, training, company car, computer and benefits – plus the indirect costs of lost sales opportunities and contractual opportunities, lost of customer satisfaction and goodwill, poor customer or prospect relationships, etc. Thus, the need for a new system that would insure successful hiring practices.

Process:
After reviewing our credentials, we provided a risk reversal situation whereby we would assess 6-8 current sales people and then from the results of the assessment – tell them who were the top performers in this group and who were not and why. After the assessments, I met with the management team and showed them who were the top performers and who were not  and hit the target on all seven people. Thus credibility and reliability were insured.

We started by benchmarking the entire sales team and sales managers to determine the traits and characteristics of each person and the developmental needs for each person on the team. This information would be used in several areas – first in understanding the traits necessary for success in this particular company and marketplace. Second, it provided information for targeted sales team development or coaching (plus which of the sales managers could coach their team). And, finally, it gave information necessary to improve overall communication and motivation within the sales group.

A template was established for the different sales positions throughout the company to assist the sales managers in their selection process. Particularly important was the role to be filled regarding territory development, maintaining existing market and account shares, or technical support selling.

Results:
After six months, the company had filled their sales team gaps and had implemented some targeted development efforts. Also, some low performers had been identified and were placed into coaching and counseling processes (and a couple were dehired so more qualified sales people could be put into place.).

After a year, sales growth had accelerated and retention of high performers was a clear focus for improved customer relations. This division became a leader in growth and profits due in part to an improved alignment of people to sales positions leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness of the sales team and ultimately to increased growth in both sales and profitability