Each year at budget time, most B2B companies face a similar challenge. How do we increase our revenue from the prior year? For many, the simple answer is hiring more salespeople. After all, if our average salesperson makes $100,000 and they are selling $1,000,000 worth of business, you can easily increase your sales by hiring 2 or 3 more salespeople. The bottom line expense would be $200-$300k for salaries, but the increase in sales would be $1,800,000-$1,900,000. Of course, you also need to factor in your management span and the possibility of needing additional sales managers to account for the increased size of your sales team. Also factor in sales training and other overhead that a growing sales team needs to be effective.
On paper, increasing the size of your sales team each year is a great strategy for increasing sales on an annual basis. However, at some point, it gets very expensive to carry the overhead and expense of a well-paid sales team, and at some point there will be diminishing returns as most markets are only so big.
Doing More With What You Have
If you have already expanded your sales team and are starting to see diminishing returns on your newest hires but you still need to increase revenue from year to year, where do you turn next? The answer: turn inwards and focus on doing more with what you have. Also known as increasing productivity.
For many B2B companies that already hire the best and provide the best training to their sales teams, getting more productivity out of an existing sales team can be a challenge. After all, if you hired quality salespeople and put them through a sound onboarding and training regiment, they should already be highly productive salespeople. While this might be true, think about a Navy Seal or any special forces division within the Armed Forces. Each man or woman that gets into the program comes from an elite group already. They are then given the best and hardest training by the best military instructors on the planet. That’s where your sales team is after you hire the best and train the best. They are well situated to be an elite team and be able to compete with any other sales team in your marketplace. But what’s missing?
Tools and Technology
What’s missing after the selection process and the training is making sure that your sales team has the best tools and technology to do their jobs. Imagine the Navy Seals fighting modern battles with technology from 50 years ago. While they wouldn’t stand a chance against modern weaponry, this is true for your sales team as well. Without modern sales enablement tools, a best in class CRM, and marketing automation tools, your sales team doesn’t stand a chance when competing against salespeople from other companies that are equipped properly. As a sales manager or sales leader, just as a Navy Sales Commander, you have to send your team into the battlefield with the best tools and technologies or you can expect subpar results.
For a sales team that lacks modern sales technology, getting up to speed and implementing new tools and technology can increase productivity for every salesperson and move you closer to meeting next year’s revenue targets but with your existing team. In addition, the sales manager won’t have a larger headcount to manage, and after a while, you can even look to decreasing the size of your team as your productivity increases. The better equipped your team is, the more agile and productive your team can be which makes the bottom line look even better than just focusing on top line revenue growth.
Want to learn more about how to make your sales team more productive, watch our on-demand webinar, "8 Ways to Increase Your Sales Team's Productivity."