Tag Archive for: Fractional VP Sales

The Benefits of an Outsourced Sales Manager

Ever wondered how hiring a Fractional Sales Manager could help your business and whether it’s worth it? This article is designed to help make your decision easier by exploring the factors you need to consider when hiring a Fractional Sales Manager.

What is Outsourced Sales Management?

As you probably know, sales management is the process of leading, directing, and controlling an organization’s sales force. The main objectives of sales management are to achieve your desired sales outcomes and, ultimately, to meet your organizational goals.

This includes developing sales plans, setting quotas, managing customer relationships, monitoring performance, and providing motivation and training for your sales reps. Depending on the size of your business, the task of recruiting, hiring, and evaluating salespeople may also rest with your sales managers.

Outsourced sales management, then, is when you outsource the responsibilities of a sales manager to an outside firm or individual. This can have several advantages for your business.

What are the Benefits of Outsourced Sales Management?

There are many pros of outsourcing your sales management, including access to specialized knowledge and expertise, improved efficiency, and cost savings. Let’s look at some benefits in more detail.

  1. Increased Sales: When you outsource your sales management, you are essentially hiring experts to help boost your sales. These experts have the know-how and experience necessary to help close more deals and increase your revenue.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Outsourcing your sales management can be very cost-effective, especially if you choose a reputable and experienced company or consultant. You will likely see a return on your investment (ROI) relatively quickly.
  3. Flexibility: Outsourcing gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed, without having to worry about managing a team of employees. This can be extremely helpful during busy times or periods of growth.
  4. Free Up Your Time: One of the biggest pros of outsourcing your sales management is that it frees up your time so that you can focus on other strategic aspects of your business. When you outsource, you no longer need to worry about day-to-day sales tasks or managing a team of salespeople.

When is the Right Time to Outsource Your Sales Management Needs?

There are several things to consider when deciding whether to outsource your sales management needs. The single most important factor is the size and complexity of your sales operation. If you have a large and sophisticated sales operation, it may save you time in the long run to outsource your sales management tasks so that you can focus on other aspects of your business that only you can do.

I’ve talked before about how to assess your sales strategy and execution, and when it makes sense to hire a Fractional VP of Sales. When the organization and its sales team is small and the sales process is not complex, it may make more sense to hire a Fractional Sales Manager.

You may also find that you don’t have the internal resources or expertise to effectively manage your sales operation – especially if you’re growing faster than you can handle. In this case, outsourcing may be the best option.

Another important factor to consider is the cost of outsourcing versus the cost of maintaining an internal sales management team. In some cases, outsourcing can be more cost-effective. Of course, this will vary depending on the specific services you require and the provider you choose.

Finally, you should consider the level of service and support you need from a sales management team. If you require a high level of service and support, it may be more effective to outsource your sales management needs rather than trying to manage everything internally.

How to Find a Good Fractional Sales Manager

Before you hand the sales reins over to a Fractional Sales Manager, you want to be sure you’ve found one who is up to the task. Here are a few key tips:

  1. Do your research. It’s important to understand the different types of outsourcing options available and what they entail. This will help you narrow down your search and find the right fit for your business.
  2. Consider your needs. What type of sales assistance do you require? How much experience does your ideal candidate have with that? What skills should they possess? Answering these questions will help you create a job description and identify the best candidates.
  3. Check references. Once you’ve compiled a list of potential candidates, be sure to check their references. This will give you insights into their previous work experiences and performance levels.
  4. Interview multiple candidates. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to start interviewing candidates. This is where you’ll get a better sense of who they are and whether they’ll fit within your company culture.
  5. Make an informed decision. After careful consideration, it’s time to hire the right Fractional Sales Manager and enjoy the perks.

Conclusion

It’s clear that there are some great advantages to outsourcing your sales manager. Just keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so you should weigh the pros and cons carefully in the context of your specific business goals. If you need help thinking through whether a Fractional Sales Manager could help you, please contact me to discuss this further.

 

How to Test for Integrity When Hiring Sales Reps

Integrity matters in any business endeavour. But it’s especially important in sales. When it comes to the trust factor, no job role involves a higher degree of trust than sales. In my role as a Fractional VP of Sales, a mistake that I see business owners make during the hiring process is presuming sales candidate integrity instead of rigorously testing for it.

Why Should You Test Sales Candidates for Integrity?

Sales is a highly independent job role, especially in small businesses, which don’t typically have the enforcement mechanisms that large companies do to ensure all processes are being followed to the letter.

As a business owner or manager, you may only see your salespeople for a couple of hours per week – or even less, given today’s remote working options. Often, you’re taking everything your salespeople say as complete and accurate.

If you hire a salesperson who is prone to misrepresenting themselves, their sales productivity will be lower than their peers and they are likely to create a significant amount of pain and heartache for all other people they touch within the organization. So, how can you prevent this from happening?

How to Weed Out Sales Candidates With Questionable Integrity During the Hiring Process

Most business owners screen for personality traits like competitiveness and the ability to take initiative when hiring because these are known to be correlated with sales success. In the way you do this to hire sales overachievers, you should test for integrity during the hiring process. Here’s how.

Use Behavioural Interviewing Techniques for Sales Candidates

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Behavioural interviewing is an interview technique based on this premise that is designed to help the interviewer understand how a candidate might perform in the job based on past performance.

For example, instead of asking, “Tell me how you would [insert the skill or task you’re looking for here]” a behavioural interview question would ask, “Tell me about a time in your past that you [insert the skill or task you’re looking for here]”. Instead of “how would you beat your sales quota”, ask “Tell me about a time in a past job when you beat your sales quota. How did you go about doing that?”.

Using this approach regarding integrity, you should ask the sales candidate questions about how they handled situations in which they had to make decisions using integrity. Some questions to include:

  • Tell me about a time when you observed some sort of injustice happen to a fellow employee that no one else knew about. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you found it necessary to slightly bend or stretch the truth when talking to a customer in order to help with a sale. (for example, stretching the truth may look like a salesperson telling a potential buyer that clients experience great results in 3 to 6 months when in reality clients don’t typically see results for at least 6 months)
  • Tell me about a situation in which you had to choose between making the right decision and making an easy decision.

Be sure to sprinkle these questions related to integrity throughout the interview (ie. Don’t ask them back-to-back!) to get a more accurate view of the candidate across all the questions related to this theme.

Implement and Interpret Behavioural Interviews Properly

It’s great if you’ve decided to use behavioural interview questions, but you want to ensure you’re doing it correctly so that they yield useful information. There are three main things to keep in mind when asking behavioural interview questions:

  • Don’t lead the candidate in any way.

It’s all too easy to let on what the ‘right’ answer is if you’re not careful. Candidates may quickly understand what an interviewer wants to hear if the question is not presented neutrally.

  • Once you’ve asked the question, stop talking and actively listen to what they tell you.

Active listening includes making eye contact, letting the person know you hear them, and asking follow-up questions at the appropriate times to elicit more relevant information.

  • Take their response at face value and then reassess that answer after the interview.

A lot is going on during an interview since you are interpreting body language and tone along with what the candidate is saying. Reassessing their responses after the interview can help you identify things such as the use of evasive language. A candidate may give their true answer first and then backpedal to try and minimize it, or they may gloss things over their initial response and give a more accurate answer in the second half.

Have a Sales Candidate Do Multiple Interviews With Different People Within the Business

It’s important to have a multi-interview process to ensure that the sales candidate is interacting with several different people within the company. By having the candidate speak to multiple people, you’ll gain more insight into whether they’re the right fit for your team. Of course, you need your team to have their radar up for integrity and be clear on the techniques discussed above.

Before getting too far along the hiring process, you should also do a social media check to actively look for any signs of a disconnect between how the candidate portrays themselves in interviews and their day-to-day life.

How to Assess the Integrity of a Sales Rep You’ve Already Hired

We’ve seen how to test for integrity during the hiring process, but what if you have concerns about the integrity of someone you already have on staff? Many things can raise a red flag, but some of the most common issues I’ve seen with questionable sales reps are:

  • Promising sales results that don’t materialize
  • Stating actions and activities as completed (when they’re not) or not completed (when they are)
  • Saying different and conflicting things to management vs. other staff
  • More obvious things like inaccurate expense reports etc.

Every business owner or manager has had experience with one of these people. If the dots don’t seem to be connecting, take the time to dig into the details. It’s tedious work, but it has to be done to avoid any further damage to your productivity or team morale.

This means going through reports to make sure numbers add up or to check whether the person in question is misrepresenting information. If you do find discrepancies, meet with the salesperson with an open mind instead of jumping to conclusions. Be candid and ask them to help you understand what you’ve found. Of course, if it turns out they are cutting corners, then you need to decide what to do (but that’s a whole other topic)!

The truth of the matter is, if you have a job to offer that someone wants, they will be highly motivated to successfully navigate an interview, maybe to the point of telling you what you want to hear. Meanwhile, a hiring manager also wants to screen someone in rather than out because they’re motivated to get the position filled. This is why integrity can sometimes fall by the wayside and should be intentionally assessed.

The tips here are not completely failproof, but actively testing for integrity will help reduce your chances of hiring a dishonest person who is likely to make your business and team suffer. If you’d like to chat further about how to judge the integrity of sales candidates through behavioural interviewing, please get in touch.

 

How to Retain Your Top Sales Performers

As a business owner, retaining your top salespeople is important for consistently hitting your sales targets. After all, recruiting is a costly and time-consuming process, and when you hire someone, you want them to stick around for the long haul to minimize disruptions to productivity.

As a Fractional VP Sales, I’ve seen how common it is for the resumes of salespeople to show a pattern of job jumping. So, how can you ensure that you hold on to your top salespeople? If you’ve ever had salespeople jump ship and found yourself wondering why, or if you simply want to avoid this from happening in the future, keep reading.

How to Find the Right Management Mix to Keep Top Performers

Retaining your top talent needs to be a purposeful exercise, and you shouldn’t manage all people in the same way. If you try to take a one-size-fits-all approach to management, there are going to be people who don’t respond well and often they will speak with their feet by walking out the door. Here are four ways to ensure you’re finding the right balance to keep your top performers motivated.

1.     It All Starts With Your Company Values

To address employee retention, you first need to have a clear understanding of your company’s fundamental values and principles. A strong values-based management foundation is the toolset from which you, as the business owner, and your managers can draw from to help manage your employees.

It’s worth noting that it’s not a matter of completely different management styles for different employees. The magic lies in the nuance of how you apply your company values and principles to manage and lead your people from day to day.

2.     Recognize That Top Performers are Always Different

In any team, you have top performers, middle performers, and some at the bottom of the pack. Whatever makes your top performers different from the rest of your staff is typically what makes them successful in their roles. These differences are precisely the reason you need to take a different management approach with them than with other staff.

Understanding exactly how top performers are different will help managers and other leaders figure out which leadership style or approach to take to keep them motivated, and ultimately, loyal to your business.

3.     Understand What Motivates Your Top Performers

Different people are motivated by different things – that’s as true in business as it is in life. Top performers often value different things than your lowest performers. That’s why if you want to hold on to them, you need to be able to recognize what your top performers are motivated by, and to what degree.

When it comes to sales success, top performers are typically more motivated by money. If you set up a compensation plan that does not richly reward those who are motivated by money, they will go elsewhere to find a plan that does. For people motivated by money, financial incentives like commissions are important.

Another trait typical of top performers is a high degree of initiative. Top performers who value freedom and independence will not respond well to micromanaging. If you try to make them always stick to rules, they are likely to feel restricted and leave.

Similarly, you need to consider whether your top performers are motivated by teamwork before setting team-based sales goals. A top performer who is a team player and feeds off team motivation may prefer this, but someone who is more of a lone wolf motivated by independence won’t want their performance tied to someone else’s. If a top seller who prefers to work alone has their income tied to something they can’t control, they’ll leave.

4.     Inventory the Traits and Characteristics Needed for Success

Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how to manage top performers, there is no blanket solution for retaining talent across industries. As a business owner, a manager, or another leader, it’s necessary to inventory the traits and characteristics needed when it comes to success in sales for your industry, with your products or services, and in your market.

Then, you need to provide those motivators for your top performers to keep them happy so that they can be as successful as they want to be. This may involve doing it in a slightly different way for different salespeople – as mentioned above, the magic is in the nuance of the day-to-day application of your values to how you manage your people.

After reading this, the steps for holding on to your high-achieving staff may seem fairly obvious. Yet, the loss of key talent is something I see business owners struggling with all the time in my role as a Fractional VP Sales. Maintaining a stable, productive team depends on your ability as a leader to identify, understand, and apply different motivators in your management of top performers.

Once you can successfully do so, you’ll not only be able to hit sales targets and reduce staff turnover but also create a more appealing environment for recruiting new hires. I’ve given you a lot of ideas here, and there are a lot of layers to consider. I’d be happy to help you think through how to apply these tips to keep your top performers. Contact me today to start a conversation.