Beyond Numbers: The Leadership Behind Effective Quota Management

Beyond Numbers: The Leadership Behind Effective Quota Management

In B2B sales, mastering the art of quota setting and management is a critical factor driving sales teams’ success across various industries. Whether you’re navigating the complexities of software sales, the intricacies of service offerings, or the demands of manufacturing and distribution, the ability to set realistic yet challenging quotas can significantly impact your team’s performance and, ultimately, your company’s bottom line. This article delves into the essential aspects of quota management, offering valuable insights for salespeople, sales managers aiming to enhance their management capabilities, and CEOs of small companies who find themselves at the helm of sales or managing a team of sales professionals.

At the heart of effective sales management lies the strategic planning process, ideally kicking off well before the new fiscal year begins. Best practices in sales management suggest that CEOs should aim to deliver sales plans and quotas for the coming year by December 1st. This timeline allows sales teams ample opportunity to digest the new targets, make necessary preparations, and hit the ground running as the new year commences. Establishing clear expectations early on fosters a sense of direction and motivation among sales representatives, setting the stage for a productive and goal-oriented year ahead.

However, the task of quota setting extends beyond merely assigning numbers. It requires a deep understanding of your company’s strategic goals, market potential, and the individual capabilities of your sales team. For larger organizations, the luxury of averaging performance across a team can help mitigate the impact of underperformers, while in smaller teams, the challenge intensifies as each member’s contribution weighs heavily on achieving collective goals. Regardless of team size, the key is to strive for a balance that pushes your team to reach new heights without veering into unrealistic expectations.

Quota management also entails navigating the intricacies of assigning quotas that align with company objectives and market realities. Sales leaders must analyze available markets within their representatives’ territories, considering factors such as established customer relationships, potential for new account acquisition, and overall market demand. This analytical approach allows for quotas that are grounded in data and tailored to each sales territory’s unique dynamics.

Moreover, the discussion around quota management underscores the importance of fostering a sales culture that prioritizes relationship building within smaller teams focusing on named accounts and in larger settings where strategic goals dictate sales targets. The emphasis on relationships highlights the notion that successful sales strategies are built on a foundation of trust, understanding, and genuine connections with clients.

Quota setting and management emerge as pivotal elements in the broader sales strategy, demanding careful consideration, strategic planning, and an acute awareness of both internal capabilities and external market conditions. By adopting a methodical approach to quota management, sales leaders can empower their teams to achieve and surpass their targets, driving growth and success in an ever-evolving business environment.

Immediate Action Item 1: Conduct a Comprehensive Sales Team Assessment

Before setting quotas for the upcoming fiscal year, it’s imperative for sales leaders, including CEOs, sales managers, and other decision-makers, to thoroughly assess their sales team’s past performance, capabilities, and areas of improvement. This action item involves gathering data on individual sales representatives’ performance, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and identifying any gaps in skills or resources that could impact their ability to meet proposed quotas.

Steps to Implement:

  • Compile Performance Data: Collect and analyze sales performance data from the past year, focusing on metrics such as achieved versus set quotas, the average size of deals closed, the length of the sales cycle, and customer retention rates.
  • Evaluate Team Capabilities: Assess the skills and expertise of your sales team and determine if any skill gaps need to be addressed through training or hiring.
  • Set Preliminary Performance Benchmarks: Based on your assessment, set realistic performance benchmarks that consider both the achievements of top performers and the potential of those who are struggling.

This exercise not only aids in setting more accurate and attainable quotas but also provides insights into necessary training or resource allocation that could enhance the team’s overall performance.

Immediate Action Item 2: Align Quota Setting with Strategic Business Goals and Market Analysis

In tandem with assessing your sales team’s capabilities, aligning your quota-setting process with your company’s strategic business goals and a thorough market analysis is crucial. This ensures that the quotas reflect not just the capabilities of your sales team but also the realities of the market and your business’s aspirations.

Steps to Implement:

  • Conduct Market Analysis: Analyze the market dynamics specific to your industry, including potential for growth, competition, and emerging opportunities. This analysis should also consider the territories assigned to each sales rep, focusing on factors like existing customer relationships and the potential for new account acquisitions.
  • Review Strategic Business Goals: Revisit your company’s strategic objectives for the upcoming year. Quotas should not only be about meeting sales targets but also about contributing to the company’s broader goals, whether expanding into new markets, launching new products, or increasing market share.
  • Integrate Market Insights with Business Goals: Use the insights from your market analysis and the understanding of your strategic goals to set challenging yet achievable quotas tailored to the unique dynamics of each sales territory and aligned with where the company aims to grow.

By closely aligning quota setting with a deep understanding of your sales team’s capabilities, market conditions, and strategic business objectives, you create a roadmap for success that is both ambitious and grounded in reality. This approach not only sets your team up for achieving their targets but also ensures that their efforts directly contribute to the company’s overall growth and success.

These immediate actions, rooted in thorough analysis and strategic alignment, provide a solid foundation for setting realistic, motivating quotas that propel sales teams toward achieving exceptional results, thereby enhancing the company’s revenue generation capability and securing its competitive edge in the marketplace.

Crafting Your Path to Success: Strategic Sales Planning for Small Businesses

Crafting Your Path to Success: Strategic Sales Planning for Small Businesses

The foundation of success in B2B sales lies in the ability to close deals and the strategic planning and objective setting that precedes any sales activity. This article offers a roadmap for salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies keen on refining their sales strategies and bolstering their management capabilities.

Connecting your sales objectives with your company’s long-term goals is central to developing an effective sales strategy. Sales leaders should cast a vision for where they want their company to be in five years and reverse-engineering the steps necessary to get there. This approach transcends the conventional wisdom of aiming for a marginal improvement over last year’s performance. Instead, it challenges sales teams to envision a trajectory that aligns with the company’s broader objectives, ensuring that each year’s goals are not mere increments but significant strides toward long-term success.

The critical takeaway here is the importance of setting objectives that are ambitious yet grounded in the realities of your business landscape. Leadership should balance aspirational goals and achievable targets, ensuring that the sales team is motivated but not overwhelmed by the challenges ahead. This process involves a deep dive into your company’s performance, understanding the stable segments of your business, identifying areas ripe for growth, and recognizing potential challenges that may impede progress.

This strategic planning adds complexity for small businesses and startups, where the distinction between sales leadership and the sales force can sometimes blur. Sales objectives must be crafted not only to drive growth but also to ensure sustainability. This involves careful consideration of your sales team’s capacity, the operational support necessary to sustain growth, and the potential financial implications of aggressive sales targets.

Moreover, the process of setting sales objectives is not a solitary endeavor but a collaborative exercise that benefits from diverse perspectives. Whether you’re a seasoned sales leader or a CEO navigating the sales landscape for the first time, exchanging ideas and experiences can illuminate pathways to success that may not be immediately apparent. It’s a dialogue that stretches beyond the confines of your organization, tapping into a broader community of sales professionals who share the common goal of driving their companies forward.

The journey towards setting and achieving meaningful sales objectives is both an art and a science. It requires a clear vision, a deep understanding of your business, and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. By adopting a strategic approach to sales planning, you position your company not just to meet its sales targets but to exceed them, ensuring a trajectory of growth and success that is both ambitious and attainable.

Immediate action items that you can do today to improve your business

To transform these insights offered into actionable steps, here are three immediate action items that readers can undertake today to start realigning their sales strategies for enhanced growth and success:

1. Conduct a Vision-Setting Exercise

Start by dedicating time for a vision-setting exercise with your key sales leaders and stakeholders. The goal is to outline where you envision the company in the next five years. This should not be a cursory glance at the future but a detailed session where you map out the long-term goals of your company and how the sales team can contribute significantly to achieving these objectives. Consider the broader impact of your sales goals on the company’s trajectory. After this session, distill the insights into a concise vision statement that aligns with your company’s long-term objectives.

  • Actionable Advice: Schedule a half-day workshop dedicated to this vision-setting exercise within the next week. Prepare by gathering data on your company’s past performance, current market trends, and any forecasts that can inform your discussion.

2. Evaluate Your Current Sales Strategy

Critically examine your current sales strategy. This involves analyzing your sales performance, understanding your business’s stable and high-growth segments, and identifying any potential roadblocks hindering progress toward your newly set objectives. It’s an opportunity to reassess and adjust your approach based on a realistic appraisal of what has been working and what hasn’t.

  • Actionable Advice: Create a checklist for evaluation that covers key areas of your sales strategy. This should include sales processes, team capabilities, market positioning, and aligning sales targets with your overall business goals. Begin this evaluation immediately, aiming to have preliminary findings within two weeks.

3. Foster a Culture of Collaboration and Continuous Learning

The sales objectives should be a collaborative effort involving input from across your organization. Foster a culture where sales teams feel empowered to share insights and feedback. Encourage your team to continuously learn and adapt, recognizing that the sales landscape is ever-changing. Building this culture of collaboration and flexibility will ensure that your sales strategy remains dynamic and responsive to your business’s and the market’s needs.

  • Actionable Advice: Organize a monthly sales meeting to share insights, challenges, and learning experiences from within and outside your team. This should be a platform for open dialogue, encouraging innovation and adaptability in your sales strategies. Start planning the first of these meetings today, setting a date within the next month.

By implementing these immediate action items, sales leaders and business owners can begin the process of refining their sales strategies to be more aligned with their long-term business objectives. These steps are designed not only to catalyze strategic thinking and planning but also to ensure that the execution of these plans is practical, collaborative, and continuously evolving in response to both internal and external business dynamics.

Strategizing Success: A Small Business Guide to Sales Mastery

Strategizing Success: A Small Business Guide to Sales Mastery

Understanding the intricacies of sales plans, processes, and methodologies is beneficial and crucial for sustained growth and success in B2B sales. This deep dive offers invaluable insights for salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies looking to refine their sales strategies and enhance management capabilities.

A sales plan is more than just setting targets; it’s about crafting a roadmap to market success, focusing on who you’re engaging with and the value you bring to the table. It’s about plotting a course that not only aims for success but also navigates potential failures. For small business owners and sales leaders, reevaluating your sales plan and methodologies isn’t just about affirming what’s working; it’s a critical look at how to adapt and thrive in a competitive landscape.

Small companies, in particular, face the unique challenge of scaling their sales efforts nationally or even internationally. In reality, capturing a significant market share in a billion-dollar industry requires more than just having a “good” sales organization. It demands a strategic, well-oiled machine capable of outpacing competitors and captivating a larger audience. This is where the true value of assessing your sales strategy comes into play. By benchmarking against industry leaders and innovators, companies can identify gaps in their approach and areas ripe for improvement.

Transitioning from a solopreneur or founder-led sales approach to a more structured sales organization is a pivotal step for many small businesses. This transition isn’t just about delegation; it’s about envisioning your company’s future and laying down the groundwork to achieve that vision. Whether the goal is to sell the company or to step back from day-to-day sales activities, planning and infrastructure are key.

Moreover, the value a company brings to its customers is paramount. This value perception drives sales and, ultimately, the company’s success. Sales teams need to continuously evolve, ensuring that they are not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations. Therefore, assessing a sales strategy becomes an ongoing process and is integral to maintaining and enhancing this value.

The discussions around sales strategy assessment, transitioning to sales management, and the importance of continuously delivering value underscore a fundamental truth in sales: success is a journey, not a destination. Companies that regularly assess their sales strategy remain open to learning and adapting, and focus on delivering unmatched value are the ones that thrive in the ever-competitive marketplace.

For salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs alike, the takeaway is clear: your sales strategy’s assessment and continuous improvement are not optional; they are essential to staying relevant, competitive, and successful in today’s business landscape.

Immediate actions that the reader can pursue today

Here are three immediate action items that readers can undertake today to refine their sales strategies, enhance management capabilities, and ensure the sustained growth and success of their B2B sales efforts:

1. Conduct a Sales Plan Audit

Action Steps:
  • Evaluate Current Sales Plan: Look closely at your current sales plan. Assess its alignment with your company’s strategic goals, market positioning, and the value proposition you offer to your clients. Identify areas where your plan excels and where it falls short.
  • Benchmark Against Industry Leaders: Compare your sales strategies, processes, and outcomes with those of industry leaders and innovators. This comparison will help you spot gaps and opportunities for improvement.
  • Develop Improvement Plan: Create a detailed plan to address the identified gaps based on your audit findings. This plan should include specific actions, timelines, and responsible parties to ensure implementation.

2. Transition Towards Structured Sales Management

Action Steps:
  • Define Your Sales Infrastructure: Outline the structure of your desired sales organization. This includes roles and responsibilities, sales processes, and support systems required for efficient operation.
  • Plan for Scale: Consider what tools, technologies, and training your sales team will need to scale up their efforts, both nationally and internationally. This could include CRM software, sales training programs, and scalable sales processes.
  • Implement Gradually: Start the transition by implementing changes in phases. Monitor the impact of these changes on sales performance and team morale. Adjust your approach based on feedback and results to ensure a smooth transition.

3. Enhance Customer Value Perception

Action Steps:
  • Understand Your Customers: Conduct market research to deepen your understanding of your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. Use this information to refine your value proposition.
  • Innovate Continuously: Encourage your team to regularly brainstorm and implement new ways to deliver and communicate value to your customers. This could involve product improvements, new service offerings, or enhanced customer service strategies.
  • Measure and Adjust: Implement mechanisms to measure how customers perceive your value. Use customer feedback, surveys, and sales data to continuously adjust your strategies for improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Implementing these action items requires a methodical and disciplined approach, but the payoff can be significant. By auditing your sales plan, transitioning towards a more structured sales management system, and enhancing the perception of the value you offer to customers, you can position your company for greater success in the competitive B2B marketplace. Remember, the goal is to meet customer expectations and exceed them consistently, thereby ensuring your company’s growth and long-term success.

March 2024 Newsletter

March 2024 Newsletter

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Special Episode: CEO Workshop – Avoiding B2B Sales Mistakes That Are Limiting Revenue Growth – Episode 57

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Special Episode: CEO Workshop – Avoiding B2B Sales Mistakes That Are Limiting Revenue Growth – Episode 57

Welcome to a special episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, hosted by seasoned sales professionals Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey. Today’s episode is a goldmine for small business owners, consultants, and sales teams looking to scale and outperform their competition. 

This is the audio version of a CEO Workshop recorded on LinkedIn on October 19. You can watch the entire webinar (along with the slides) by going to 

Sean O’Shaughnessy and Kevin Lawson have decided to release these workshops as podcast episodes. The topic of this episode is Avoiding B2B Sales Mistakes that Limit Growth.

Kevin explains the importance of avoiding mistakes and continuously refining sales strategies and skills. He also discusses businesses’ challenges, such as rising costs and limited resources. Inflation, the Consumer Price Index, and labor costs impact business owners. Kevin advises businesses to adjust their prices accordingly to maintain margins. He emphasizes the need for strategic and tactical management to overcome market factors that affect business outcomes. The goal is to increase the value of the business for future saleability.

Kevin also discusses the importance of being strategic and tactical in business. He emphasizes the need to be organized, focused, and create relevant content. Salespeople should also think like marketers to attract customers.

Kevin then discusses responding to RFPs (Request for Proposals) and suggests that businesses should decide whether or not to respond based on their industry and goals. He highlights the low success rate of RFPs and encourages evaluating if it’s worth investing time in them.

The next topic is Sales Playbooks, which are comprehensive documents that help train sales teams by outlining best practices and providing guidance on client communication. Kevin explains the benefits of having a Sales Playbook but acknowledges that many businesses may not have one or have had lackluster results with them. Finally, Kevin suggests documenting a typical sales process as a foundational step toward creating an effective Sales Playbook.

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Understanding the Nature of Sales Benchmarks

Let’s start by grounding ourselves in the foundational premise: Sales benchmarks are not merely numerical goals but the defining coordinates of success. If you will, consider them as your organization’s North Star, guiding your sales team through the complexities of quotas, customer relationships, and revenue targets. Benchmarks transcend the limitations of raw numbers and extend into the realm of qualitative assessment—whether it’s the ability to understand customer needs or to align solutions accordingly.

To further clarify, think of benchmarks as akin to a financial portfolio’s balance of risk and return. They offer a comprehensive view of performance, much like a diversified portfolio that offers an integrated financial health assessment. Each component—be it customer retention rates, average deal sizes, or response times—contributes to this multifaceted view. Benchmarks thereby act as a composite score that tells you where you are, where you should be, and, most importantly, how to get there.

The Nuances of Crafting Benchmarks: It’s About Alignment

Creating effective benchmarks requires alignment with broader organizational goals, current market realities, and the sales team’s inherent capabilities. Striking this balance is akin to setting the interest rate in an economy. Set it too high, and you risk stalling growth; set it too low and invite complacency.

Thus, the process of setting benchmarks demands an understanding of averages and outliers. If a high percentage of your sales team consistently meets the benchmarks, they may not be challenging enough. Conversely, if only a small fraction achieves them, it could demoralize the rest and raise questions about the benchmarks’ attainability. The idea is to challenge your team just enough to stretch their capabilities while ensuring the goals are rooted in reality.

Diagnosing and Addressing Underperformance: A Structured Approach

The objective of performance benchmarks isn’t to point fingers at underperformers but to provide a structured mechanism for evaluation and growth. Having established benchmarks, the onus shifts from mere identification to a deep-rooted understanding of ‘why’ the underperformance occurred.

Is it a lack of training? Is it a mismatch between talents and tasks? Or perhaps it’s a more systemic issue related to product-market fit? Each diagnosis demands its unique course of action, requiring leaders to blend empathy with decisiveness. As you identify these pain points, you’re not merely putting a spotlight on them; you’re transforming them into actionable insights. Provide the necessary tools, training, or environmental changes, and monitor the impact on performance against the set benchmarks. In this way, underperformance becomes not a point of failure but an opportunity for both personal and organizational growth.

Benchmarks: Your Compass in the World of Sales

To CEOs, Sales Managers, and leaders in the trenches, understand that performance benchmarks are not just numbers on a performance review sheet but the milestones on your roadmap to success. They offer a dynamic, multi-dimensional gauge by which to measure, evaluate, and, most crucially, enhance performance.

Just as a ship’s captain would be rudderless without a compass, your sales team would navigate in the dark without well-defined benchmarks. These are not mere numbers but signposts in your journey toward sales excellence. They offer a vision of what could be and a measurement of what is. Establishing and adhering to these benchmarks provides direction, clarity, and a lens through which to transform challenges into growth opportunities.

September Newsletter

September Newsletter

August Newsletter

August Newsletter

I hope you enjoy my August Newsletter

I hope you enjoy my August Newsletter

Published: Tue, 08/15/23


Sean O’Shaughnessey
CEO and President
New Sales Expert LLC
[email protected]
513.348.8700

6561 Bluegrass Way
Mason OH 45040
US


Unsubscribe | Change Subscriber Options

The McDonald’s Lesson: Why a Diverse Sales Team Matters for Small Businesses

The McDonald’s Lesson: Why a Diverse Sales Team Matters for Small Businesses

In the annals of American business history, few stories are as captivating as the rise of McDonald’s, immortalized in the 2016 biographical drama film “The Founder.” The story of Ray Kroc, a struggling milkshake machine salesman who transformed a local drive-in into a global fast-food empire, is a classic tale of ambition, innovation, and, controversially, ruthless business acumen.

However, behind the gripping narrative lies a valuable lesson for small businesses today. The McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, were entrepreneurs who envisioned a revolutionary fast-food system. Their only significant flaw? They relied heavily on a single salesperson – Ray Kroc – to sell their franchise concept. This dependency proved to be their Achilles’ heel and resulted in them losing control over their brand.

The McDonald brothers had an excellent product and a promising business model. But the near-total reliance on Kroc as their sole franchise salesperson left them vulnerable. When Kroc’s ambition overstepped the boundaries they were comfortable with, they had no alternative but to endure the adverse outcomes, including the eventual loss of their company.

Small businesses must take this lesson to heart in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. A diverse sales team is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here’s why:

Control the Message: The Power of Diversity Over Singularity

In the evolving business landscape, the brand message is one of the most pivotal components for success. It is the heartbeat of your organization, resonating with the values, goals, and ethos your company embodies. Yet, when this message is funneled through a singular voice, it often becomes vulnerable to unintentional distortions and personal biases. Imagine an intricate musical piece being played only on one instrument – while it may still carry the tune, it misses the richness and depth that a full orchestra brings.

With a sole salesperson at the helm, there’s a heightened risk of this narrative skew. Their personal experiences, perspectives, or unique communication styles can inadvertently overshadow or drift from the brand’s foundational message. This is not to question the competence or intentions of the salesperson but to understand human nature. We all carry our filters and interpret things based on our lenses. In contrast, a diverse sales team acts as a safeguard. When guided by a unified strategy, multiple voices can reinforce the brand’s core message, iron out anomalies, and present a more rounded, authentic narrative to potential clients.

Moreover, by diversifying the conveyors of your brand message, you’re preserving its integrity and broadening its reach. Different salespeople can resonate differently with a varied clientele, ensuring your brand message is consistent and universally relatable. It’s about striking a balance between consistency and versatility, and in the intricate dance of sales, this balance can make all the difference.

Reduced Dependency: Spreading the Net Wide for Steady Growth

The tale of the McDonald brothers provides a cautionary narrative about the perils of leaning heavily on a singular entity for business advancement. While it seems convenient and efficient in the short term to place the onus of sales on one high-performing individual, this structure is fraught with risks. Over-reliance on a single salesperson can be likened to building a house on a singular pillar – while it might hold for a while, a single crack can bring the entire edifice crashing down.

A broad and diversified sales team acts as a buffer against such risks. Each member brings their strengths to the table, ensuring that the entire operation doesn’t come to a standstill if one cog in the machinery malfunctions. Whether it’s due to changing personal interests, unforeseen circumstances, or the natural evolution of a career, key players might exit the stage at some point. In such scenarios, a well-rounded sales team ensures that the business doesn’t just survive but thrives, adjusting and recalibrating with minimal disruptions.

Furthermore, reduced dependency on a single individual promotes collective growth and shared responsibility. It fosters an environment where team members motivate one another, learn from each other’s successes and setbacks, and drive the business forward as a united front. The lesson is clear: while individual brilliance is always welcome, the future of sustainable growth lies in collective strength and diversity.

Expanded Reach: The Power of Diversity in Scaling New Heights

A homogenous approach can stymie growth in a small company with a single salesperson. Imagine walking into a room where everyone thinks the same, has had the same experiences, and shares the same network. While there might be a comforting familiarity, the scope for fresh insights is limited. Enter a diverse sales team, a veritable melting pot of backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews. The breadth of knowledge and understanding they bring to the table allows businesses to see beyond the obvious and tap into uncharted territories.

Each member of a diverse sales team carries a unique professional, personal history, and distinct network. These networks, spanning various sectors, regions, and demographics, are like numerous doors waiting to be opened. A multicultural salesperson might provide insights into the buying behaviors of a particular community, while someone from a different industry background might spot parallels and opportunities overlooked by others. The cumulative effect is a richer, more nuanced understanding of a broad spectrum of potential clients, leading to more inclusive marketing strategies and products that cater to a broader audience.

Embracing such diversity isn’t just about ticking a box; it’s a strategic move. In a world where businesses vie for every inch of customer attention, a diverse sales team can be the very edge that sets a company apart, enabling it to resonate with a broader audience and ensuring that its message isn’t just heard but truly understood and embraced.

Increased Innovation: The Spark of Diverse Minds

Like any other sector, the world of sales thrives on fresh perspectives and new ideas. When sales teams resemble an echo chamber, echoing the same strategies and views, stagnation is inevitable. However, a diverse group of salespeople, each hailing from varied experiences and backgrounds, becomes a cauldron of creativity. Every pitch, every strategy, and every solution they discuss is a culmination of their unique journeys, a blend of traditional wisdom and avant-garde ideas.

Consider a brainstorming session where a salesperson with a background in tech suggests leveraging a new tool. At the same time, another with experience in the arts offers a storytelling approach. Fusing these distinct perspectives can lead to a groundbreaking strategy that neither could have conceived alone. Such diversity acts as the lifeblood of innovation, pushing boundaries and constantly redefining what’s possible. It instigates challenges to the “that’s how we’ve always done it” mindset, compelling teams to iterate, refine, and reinvent.

Moreover, in a landscape where competition is rife, the companies that stand out are unafraid to think differently, to tread unexplored paths. A diverse sales team becomes an organization’s compass in such scenarios, pointing toward opportunities for innovation, ensuring that the business meets its sales targets and pioneers change, and setting benchmarks for others to follow.

The story of the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc dramatized in “The Founder,” offers an invaluable business lesson. While having an innovative product and a robust business model is essential, having a diverse sales team that can control your brand message, reduce dependency, expand your market reach, and fuel innovation is equally crucial.

Small businesses today must avoid the McDonald brothers’ error of over-reliance on a single salesperson. By investing in a diverse and well-rounded sales team, companies can ensure sustainable growth and maintain control over their brand’s destiny.

In the early stages of a business, budgetary constraints can make it challenging to expand an in-house sales team, even when the glaring perils of relying on a lone salesperson become evident. But, in our interconnected age, physical presence and full-time employment are just some of the means to tap into top-tier talent. Outsourcing has emerged as a powerful strategy to bolster a salesforce without unduly straining the finances.

Outsourced salespeople or fractional sales professionals offer a compelling solution. These are seasoned veterans, adept at navigating the intricacies of the sales realm, who can be brought on board for specific campaigns or durations. Their expertise ensures businesses benefit from their wealth of experience without committing to long-term overheads. Similarly, companies specializing in business-development representation can be goldmines for startups and SMEs. They can rapidly amplify a company’s outreach, bringing in leads and opening doors that an individual salesperson might need help to knock on. Leveraging such services, businesses can enjoy the advantages of a diversified team while maintaining a lean operational structure.

With Fractional Vice President’s of Sales, such as Sean O’Shaughnessey of New Sales Expert, it is possible to manage a diverse group of sellers that are not direct company employees. While a less experienced sales manager or the company owner may balk at this type of challenge, it perfectly aligns with Sean’s skills and expertise. Don’t let the lack of sales management expertise prevent the expansion of your company’s sales dreams.

The modern sales landscape offers various flexible solutions for companies eager to grow beyond a singular sales voice. Whether through fractional sales leadership, fractional sales roles, outsourced professionals, and dedicated BDR firms, businesses can craft a multi-dimensional sales strategy that combines the nimbleness of a small team with the expansive reach of a more significant force.

Crafting Tomorrow’s Sales Strategy with Lessons from the Past

The McDonald’s narrative, as described in the movie, “The Founder,” is a poignant reminder of the intricate dynamics between innovation, ambition, and brand representation. While the ambition to grow is innate in every business, the path to achieving this growth can significantly shape its future. As we stand on the precipice of a rapidly changing global market, with opportunities and challenges alike, businesses must pivot towards a more inclusive and diversified sales strategy. Embracing diversity, harnessing the power of collective networks, and leveraging innovative outsourcing solutions are not mere options—they’re necessities. Small businesses, in particular, have an exciting chance to rewrite their sales script, infusing it with the vigor of varied voices and expertise. The journey from a local idea to a global empire is fraught with decisions; ensuring that these decisions are made through a diverse prism can be the defining factor between mere survival and unparalleled success. Let the lessons from the past illuminate the road ahead, reminding us that in diversity lies immense strength and phenomenal potential.

The Kaivac Impact: Harnessing Faith, Innovation, and Sales Excellence in the Cleaning Industry

The Kaivac Impact: Harnessing Faith, Innovation, and Sales Excellence in the Cleaning Industry

Bob Robinson, Jr., and his mechanical-engineer father, Bob Robinson, Sr., came up with the idea for a product the world truly needed 25 years ago: a “no-touch” restroom cleaning machine. Their company, Kaivac, is a Hamilton, OH-based manufacturer of cleaning machines. Hamilton is a suburb of Cincinnati, OH.

Bob Robinson, Jr.

“We were on our hands and knees, crawling around the bathroom,” recalls Bob, Jr. “It was disgusting. We said, ‘There’s got to be a better way.'” 

Through hard work and dedication, the Robinsons created the KaiVac to help solve that initial problem in public restrooms. Over the years, they grew the idea to create dedicated machines to clean kitchen floors, hallway floors, and grocery displays. Beyond its bathroom cleaning technology, it has expanded into floor cleaning and spill response machines and has 18 patents with 16 pending.

Along with growing their manufacturing capabilities, they also grew their sales capabilities. They adopted a hybrid strategy of selling through distribution and selling directly to key customers. Their direct team, under the leadership of Bob Robinson, Jr., who had taken on the role of VP of Sales, closed many enviable customers with massive deals, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target.

They realized that they needed to step up their sales professionalism after having a down year during COVID after having a record-breaking year the year before. They wanted to grow to $75 million in annual revenue within three years and a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of $1 billion in annual revenue within 20 years. 

Bob Jr. says Kaivac is just getting started. “At 20 to 25 years in business, you’re at an inflection point where you’ve got resources, tenure, and history and have been through ‘adolescence,'” he says. “Now is the chance to build a professionalized organization.”

They contacted New Sales Expert LLC as the nation was coming out of the global pandemic, but before all the supply chain problems had paused. New Sales Expert LLC is a fractional vice president of sales consultancy. Sean O’Shaughnessey, the CEO of New Sales Expert, is aligned with SalesXceleration and has 38 years of experience in sales and sales management.

According to Sean, “Kaivac is a joy to work with. They are the shining star of Hamilton, OH, and Butler County. They had so much raw potential when I walked in the door; all I had to do was to focus their energy and enthusiasm on working smarter and just a little harder.”

Building an organization with a heart

Bob Robinson, Sr.

Kaivac had a great culture to build on to make a great sales culture. Before Sean showed up, the company leadership had already developed their One-Page Strategic Plan and their “Why?” statement that reflects the owners’ Christian faith: “To glorify God by using KAIVAC as an instrument for Good.” 

In addition to the “Why?” statement, they had drafted an acronym called FIGS that conveys the “heart” of the company. FIGS—which appears on signs that hang on the factory floor and in break rooms—stands for 

  • F: “First shall be last, last shall be first.”
  • I: Integrity—as in “The truth shall set you free.”
  • G: Golden Rule—meaning “treat others how you want to be treated.”
  • S: Servant’s Heart, as in “We are in a race to help people.”

The company uses the first three letters of its name–KAI–to inspire the team’s thinking and actions. These letters stand for inspiring phrases such as: “Keep At It,” “Keep Always Improving,” “Keep Attempting the Impossible,” and “(creates) Kick-Ass Inventions.” 

Prioritizing net income and growth

Sean’s first change was to make a compensation plan that motivated the sales team to sell bigger deals and to sell them quickly. Kaivac implemented a 50/50 plan in concert with defined territories to keep the Key Account salespeople focused on the goal of more significant and profitable orders.

After the motivation component was in place, it was time to help the team learn how to sell big deals more repeatedly. The big deals of the past had been challenging to work on and, while very profitable, had been disruptive to close. Sean encouraged the company to read John McMahon’s book, “The Qualified Sales Leader,” and with that tome as inspiration, quickly deployed MEDDPICCC to help them qualify deals. 

MEDDPICCC by itself is not enough. The company had already licensed Salesforce, one of the highest-rated CRMs on the market, but Sean put MEDDPICCC into the various stages of the sales process to ensure that the salespeople knew all the required information about a big deal. Sean also created dashboards within Salesforce to track deal progress at the management level. The company implemented Sales Plans for Key Accounts and the Power Matrix to document the most influential people in the customer’s decision-making process.

The very first big deals that the company found after Sean started to help them also benefited from the Decision Timeline. The Decision Timeline is a tool to allow the sales team to walk through the entire decision-making process of the customer to understand all of the steps required to make a significant investment decision. It allowed frank and honest conversations to take place with the prospect as the team worked to close the largest deal in the company’s history to date.

Time to run on their own

Mike Perazzo, Allen Randolph, Bob Robinson, Jr., and Nick Wehby after passing their Certified Sales Leader exams.

As with most of the assignments with New Sales Expert, LLC, the goal is to allow the company to run independently. Bob Robinson Jr. was the company’s VP of Sales. Still, he needed to shed those responsibilities to help run the entire company. To finish the transition, Bob and three of his leaders took SalesXceleration‘s Certified Sales Leadership course delivered by Sean O’Shaughnessey. 

The Certified Sales Leader (CSL) designation is the country’s most comprehensive sales leadership certification program offered. CSL leadership training and certification will prepare you with the analytical, tactical, and strategic sales management skills needed to drive revenue growth now…and into the future. CSL training expands the skill set of a Sales Manager by providing coaching, techniques, and tools to lead a successful sales team. 

All four Kaivac leaders passed the CSL test. One of them, Mike Perazzo, was tagged to take over as Executive Vice President of Sales. According to Mike, “Sean is a master coach for helping shape sales process and methodology. Following his methods will help grow sales faster, transactionally, and strategically. Often a couple of pieces of the puzzle are missing, and Sean helps quickly identify them.

You have everything to gain by having Sean look at your current approach. He is a change agent and disruptive to the status quo. Pushing the pace and flow of deals is his sweet spot. I am a better sales leader because of my time with him.”

Bob Robinson, Sr., and Jr. with their sales team celebrating a recent patent award

Sean O’Shaughnessey of New Sales Expert, LLC states, “Kaivac is a wonderful company. They have created a line of machines that gives pride to the workers in one of the toughest jobs in America – keeping things clean. They are focused on the success of their customers and their employees. They had all of the raw skills within their sales team to be a great sales organization; they only needed me to focus them on activities and techniques that allowed them to close bigger deals faster and at a higher profit level.”

“If anyone works in a clean building with clean restrooms and hard surface floors, they are either cleaning it with Kaivac technology or paying too much for that cleanliness,” Sean explains.

Revenue and profitability have grown since Sean helped Kaivac develop a higher level of sales professionalism. Recent results have shown a dramatic increase in revenue and profitability. The sales and revenue growth have allowed the entire family of Kaivac to prosper. The Robinsons have always considered their employees an extension of their family. The company’s prosperity is passed along to team members through a bonus structure for the whole company. It all fits into the spirit of Kaivac. Bob Jr. says, “Our organization was built to have heart.”

If you want to learn more about Kaivac, you can head to their website at www.Kaivac.com. You should also check out this video: The Story of Kaivac. Kaivac is on its way to outer space on revenue growth, and everyone should check out their entertaining Q3 kickoff video about the growth of Kaivac.

To learn more about Fractional Sales Management and how it can help your company, go to www.NewSales.Expert.

The Story of Kaivac