HTG Peer Groups Blog
The HTG peer group experience is a unique forum for technology industry resellers who are serious about implementing a model for success in their own businesses through sharing and collaboration of best practices.
A Bit More On Sales
One of the benefits of being part of HTG is the unbelievable resources that exist in our membership. I certainly don't claim to be an expert on every aspect of running an IT company today. There have been plenty of learnings over the years which I try and share continually, but when it comes to expertise - there are some folks in almost every area that are way ahead of me.
I got an expanded view of sales from one of the guys I respect immensely as a sales expert - Jonathan Warrey who is Regional Sales Director at HTG member Marco and runs a large sales team and drives millions of dollars of business each year. Jonathan is always ready to help out with sales information - many of you were part of his session at our last HTG Summit along with Steve Riat on sales management.
He shared these words in response to my last blog post on sales. Rather than interpret them for you - I am just going to share what he wrote as it nails the whole sales culture far better than I can describe it. He responded to my paragraph that said:
“Once the owner gets his attitude right there is at least a fighting chance to begin doing some of the right things that will lead to sales success. It is not just hiring a sales person. That will not do it. You don't have to look far to see the past performance of most VAR's littered with sales people they hired and fired because they didn't meet expectations. That is the place to start - realistic expectations. Since you have no clue what to expect - you obviously should not be setting them. Find someone who has a clue to help you create a sales plan and methodology so the sales person has some hope of success. Most VAR's hire and set them up to fail - no support - no direction - no tools - no nothing - just a wish of good luck and a threat that "I'll be watching the KPI's". Here is a news flash. Most sales people can't spell KPI and could care less. They have only one that matters - that is the number of dollars in their paycheck.”
Here comes Jonathan's brilliance - read it and ponder it carefully:
"The one difference I see in your last statement and what we experience at Marco is that there is something that transcends the pursuit of a paycheck. And that’s the pursuit of sales achievement and sales excellence. I truly believe that creating and fostering an environment of sales achievement is even more important that creating an environment that celebrates a sales rep earning a lot of money. Then when you wrap it around client satisfaction and retention results to show how our best reps also have happy customers, it becomes really powerful. Yes, those reps earn the most money as well, but it’s the pursuit of sales excellence that drives them the most. We continue to change what has the most sales impact within our company. You’ve probably seen that managed services has become a bigger deal within our company. In fact, our reps don’t get 15% of their paycheck (through a commission hold back) if they don’t achieve their managed services annual revenue goal. The pay is a big deal, but the fact that they would miss the sales incentive trip if they don’t hit their managed services target is a bigger deal to most of our reps."
Did you catch that? Not only do we need to build a sales organization - we need to build a sales culture that applauds achievement and excellence. That is the foundation of a really great sales organization. When you have a sales team that is focused on excelling, serving their clients and retaining them - you have a winning combination. The Marco folks have proven that over the years as the largest member in HTG several times over. They understand that the culture of their organization is critical to building long term success. Having had the priviledge of spending time in their office - they do things right all day every day. Have you built a sales culture that drives excellence and achievement? The rest takes care of itself if we get that culture part right!
PS - if you try and get hold of Jonathan this week - he is off to sunny Mexico with his bride and 30 other Marco couples to enjoy the sales team incentive trip. While it’s not as encompassing as a whole company retreat, it builds incredible camaraderie amongst the troops. It can be done my friends. I won't say it is easy - but it is possible!
Arlin Sorensen serves as the CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups. When he is not traveling to speak and consult, Arlin is home on his farm in Iowa with his wife Nancy. He is a proud “Pop” to four precocious grandchildren who serve as daily reminders of why he is intentionally living to leave a strong legacy of faith and integrity. He loves making a difference in the lives and companies of small to mid-market business owners. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @asorensen