Keeping your All-Star Closer on the Mound

This installment seems pretty intuitive at the surface, so stick with me as I go a little deeper on the concept of why taking less value-adding activities away from your rainmakers makes sense.  Also, we’ll spend a little time on the collateral benefits to the organization of freeing up your best closers’ time.

There are essentially two paths where this initiative can go once things start moving and your rainmakers have more time:

  1. More energy with/on current volume of prospects
  2. Same energy with more prospects

Most likely, the end result will be a combination of the two, but it’s important to be purposeful about which way you intend to lean.  Here are some simple considerations to help determine which way to tip:

Potential drivers for (A) – spending more/deeper energy on the current volume of prospects

  • You have a very tight market with limited prospects
  • A strategy that involves a limited number of key whales
  • The ability to go bigger on the initial solution or sale would have more than an incremental benefit to the bottom line
  • New product launch (requiring depth of talent and solution)

Potential drivers for (B) – Similar sales process with more prospects

  • New market vertical investigation or launch
  • New product launch

Talking through the impact of either of these with the sales team can yield great conversations about opportunities and the expectations that come with it.  If you’re going to invest in freeing up their time, you as the leader have a responsibility in situation (A) to set clear goals and expectations for either an increased close ratio at the stages of the funnel that they will be spending their time in, or hold those ratios steady and speed up the sales cycle.  In situation (B), the message to the sales person is a straight numbers game; just keep doing the same good work, we’re just going to have you do more of it.  Your responsibility as the leader in situation (B) is just to make sure that they have the resources and horsepower to keep their calendar full.

In case the idea of having more revenue and customers dropping out of the funnel isn’t enticing enough, here are a few other thoughts to get you revved up or to woo your sales manager down this path:

  • Sales people, just like everyone else in the organization, perform better and stay longer when they spend their time doing what they enjoy and are good at.
  • Use some of the freed up time to engage them in continuous improvement.
    • The sales team is typically one of the last to get involved in continuous improvement for a number of reasons. Requiring some of this time to be reinvested in the business can draw them closer to operations, admin, etc. and be an emotional boost for everyone.
    • Have them work on documenting or developing processes will lead to knowledge transfer, scalability, and business continuity down the road.
  • You’ve eliminated one of the biggest excuses for CRM usage and accountability. If they aren’t using the CRM exactly how you need them to, here’s an inflection point to clear that up.