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Many hiring authorities think hiring the right person is the key to success. And, while it is certainly the most important, it is not the only key factor. After making the right hire, be sure to give your new employee the tools to get the job done. Some companies don’t think about this critical role of sales support. Instead, they assume top salespeople will simply get the sales, no matter what.

I had an interview the other day with a young salesman who was looking to leave his current employer. He hadn’t been there very long, so I was very skeptical about his reasons for wanting to make a change so soon. He explained that he doubted he could be successful at his company since there was no “infrastructure” to guarantee his success. “What do you mean by infrastructure?” I asked. He went on to explain that he had:

  • No database of leads or prospects;
  • Very little training by his manager and no regularly scheduled sales meetings;
  • A very mediocre company website, which did not proactively sell their product or capture leads; and
  • No marketing support for sales materials, presentations or complex proposals.

In other words, he didn’t have the tools to get the job done, even though his annual quota started from “day one.” He had been successful in his past two jobs and didn’t want to fail, but all of the signs indicated that failing was a real possibility.

Tools to get the job done

Companies wouldn’t hire an accountant and give him an abacus; they wouldn’t hire an engineer and give him a slide-rule, so why would you hire a salesperson and give her a desk and a phone and expect the job to get done?

Every job in the organization requires the right tools to get it done. For sales, here are the bare essentials:

  • Lead Generation: Good salespeople will always be prospecting for leads but you need to provide leads as well. There should be a formally established lead generation program.
  • Marketing Support: Salespeople need promotional material, professional presentations and support for complex proposals at the end of the sales cycle. Marketing and sales should work hand-in-hand on these efforts.
  • Effective Website: Your website must be a sales tool, in addition to whatever else you need to communicate. Make sure your products are described effectively and that you can capture leads from the site.
  • Ongoing Training: I have written about this many times before. There is NOTHING, simply nothing, more effective in growing the sales of your company than a sales force that is professionally trained and constantly monitored for performance.

Remember, it’s a “two step” process – hiring the right salesperson is just the first step towards meeting your sales goals. Giving salespeople the tools they need to get the job done is the critical second step towards guaranteeing their success, and in turn, yours!

Philip Kemper is Founder/President of Kemper Associates, a 36-year-old Chicago-based national executive search firm, specializing in Permanent and Contract staffing for Trade Shows and Exhibits, Staging and Equipment Rental, Business Meetings and Events Production, Video, Training and Incentives and more. His more complete bio is on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/philip-kemper/2/795/308/ . You may view Kemper Associates’ website at: www.Kemperassociates.net, and contact Phil with questions or comments, and employment needs at: Kemperassoc@hotmail.com, or his private phone line: (312) 944-6551. 

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