Sorry the posting has been a little thin lately. I'm bogged down consulting on a couple of deals, so when I received a set of projections tonight, I thought about blogging. Before I opened the file I bet that the huge increase in sales that I would inevitably see would be primarily the result of hiring more sales people, a lot more sales people. Right again.
This assumption usually doesn't work. I've learned this the hard way more than once, but I think I've finally got it. The assumption often comes packaged with words like leverage, cross-sell or exploit and always includes new markets or products, but the net-net is that a lot of new sales people need to he hired. Unfortunately, it's in almost every set of projections I see.
Bill is one of the best Sales VPs I know. He's been around a while and seen a lot. We met on a deal several years ago and still stay in touch. Oh, and he hates hockey stick projections as much as I do because he's usually on the wrong end - i.e. making them happen. Bill hires talent not bodies, and he's always actively recruiting. Bill knows all of the best reps in his industry - tracking them, dialoging with them, watching them. When his company looses a competitive sales pitch, he always finds out who the winning rep was on the other side. When he goes to trade shows, he watches other reps to find talent. He's always asking other people who the good reps are. In fact he even uses his SFA app to keep track of the good reps in his industry. Bill is a smart guy and really good at what he does, but he despises hiring a bunch of bodies just to try and hit a forecast. That usually means he folds up his tent and goes somewhere else. BTW - the best reps usually follow him out the door.
If you were selling your company to me, I would pay you more if you rolled out someone like Bill with a reasonable revenue plan and trajectory than I would if you showed up with a bunch of bankers wielding Excel models proving that sales will increase at an increasing rate.