Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Your Company's Sales Alignment

Early on the last day of the quarter, one of my top sales reps brought to me a large order from a Fortune 500 company. I congratulated the salesperson and asked them to book the order for the quarter. They told me that they could not book the order because our controller would not sign off. I visited the controller with the sales order in hand; at the time we had a policy that any orders over a certain dollar level required the controller’s signature. The order would have placed the sales rep into a bonus situation, and the order just by circumstance would push the quarterly results for the company into new territory. The controller looked me in the eye and said, “I am very busy and I am not going to drop what I am doing so some salesperson can make their bonus.” To settle the order booking issue we had to go to the top of the organization to establish the company’s priorities.

Not booking the order would have sent several poor messages to the sales team;
1) There is no sense of urgency for sales success in the organization,
2) Success of an individual that benefits the organization is not important, and
3) Sales is not a respected contributor to the organization.

Usually the sales team is the lifeblood of most organizations. The sales compensation plan is a key element to motivate or demotivate people on that team. 99% of salespeople are not looking for a “hand out”, they are looking for a pay package that makes sense, has a reasonable chance for attainment, and is linked to the overarching objectives of the organization. Treat your people like adults and you will get more of their attention at crunch time. Increased attention equates to increased sales.

I recommend you taking an inventory of your organization, and taking note if everyone is aligned behind the success of the sales team? If they are not, what is the reason for this condition to exist, and what impact is it having on your success? Selling is challenging enough without having people in the organization that are not supporting the sales objectives of the company.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Excellent point Olin. To summarize: Amen.