SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Chris Walter, a Vice President of Strategy who knows how to build a sales force. Today’s topic is dedicated to the topic of attracting and retaining top sales talent. Chris and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Access the latest Workbook to review the People phase starting on page 367 of the Sales Strategy section. 

Chris Walter is the Vice President of Strategy of Strategic Enterprise Services at MarketSource, a sales outsourcing firm serving both retail and commercial channels. Chris will demonstrate how to attract and retain A-Players who generate 5x more revenue than B-Players and 10x more than C-Players. 

Why this topic? Relying on the heroic efforts of a few eventually catches up with you. When 20% of the sales team produces 80% of the revenue, something is wrong. The labor expense associated with the sales team incurred by the company has to be justified, or a head count reduction is warranted. Tolerating under-performers, hiring mistakes, and very long new hire productivity cycles all lead to missed revenue targets — and job loss for the head of sales. 

Chris is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic coming from a business services firm that provides outsourced sales services. Not only is Chris a peer sales leader with a sales force of his own, but his “Product” is providing feet on the street for other companies. 

Listen as Chris demonstrates how to attract and retain A-Players who generate 5x more revenue than B-Players and 10x more than C-Players. Chris describes the level of talent required, and whether he requires an exceptional sales talent or great product/industry fit. 

In the first segment of the show, Chris describes the investments he making in sales talent to make the number.  Selecting the right talent to start with is where it all begins, and Chris shares his expertise in the evaluation criteria you should use when selecting sales talent. 

Chris describes the changing routes to market in the second segment, and the corresponding changes in sales talent required. The importance of digital marketing is shared in this quote: 

The impact of digital on the overall route to market is important. I've seen stats as high as 60-70% of the buyer's journey now is conducted digitally, so it's really important that companies adapt to that change, begin to work in both demand generation and prospecting through these digital channels, and it's important for the sellers to understand they need to prospect differently, leveraging social, being engaged in social conversations, and then really understanding the buyers are coming to them in a different mindset than they might have been 10 years ago as an example, so they really need to play more of a consultative role, more of a challenger type role because of where the buyers are at the point in time they're hitting the salesperson.

The time it takes to get a new sales rep to full productivity (100% quota) is discussed. Chris explains: 

Depending upon the mission, but we typically look for three to six months on average to get somebody productive, ramped up and productive. It'll be shorter if we're doing transactional sales engagements.  One or two call closes scenarios, obviously need to be a lot faster. If we're doing long sales cycles, complex selling, it's going to be longer, but that's the target that we shoot for on average across our various types of sales programs.

In the final segment of the program, Chris discusses how the onboarding process.  He goes deep into how to find the right blend between situational application of the knowledge and classroom study. 

Direct download: AP1727-Chris_Walter-18691.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:42pm EST