We are starting the fourth quarter of 2017, which means we are starting 2018, because it takes time to ramp up a salesperson. The biggest mistake I see companies of all sizes make is they don't hire enough salespeople, and they don't train them with both internal and external training.
The best salespeople make a lot of money, because it's hard, but don't avoid hiring and training them as a leader because it's hard. Hire more and hire faster. Sales is your engine, you just don't want to admit it. Every company needs salespeople and more bodies than you think.
Relying on one salesperson or one client is a recipe for disaster. Clients and salespeople need succession planning and you should always have 15 percent more sales people than you feel you need. It's how you grow, and it allows you to let go of the bad ones, because you should. No doubt there are tons of terrible salespeople out there; however, there are terrible managers who let them get away with it and keep paying them.
Marketing is terrific. Brand awareness is crucial to growing your company, but salespeople are the ones who make people buy. They are the ones building a one-on-one emotional connection and find out what the buying motives are. They are your ultimate brand ambassadors.
Great companies have process and plans that great sales people execute. Great companies have delivery groups that execute what salespeople sell. No doubt that companies are much more than salespeople, whether it be a product or a technology platform, or a service that gets delivered. However, salespeople put the concept, products and name in front of the right eyeballs.
"Tom, all of these tech companies don't use salespeople."
Excuse me? LinkedIn, Oracle, SAP, everyone knows these have armies of salespeople. Unicorn companies of recent years like Glassdoor, Outcome Health and Groupon, each have big sales teams. For every Uber and TaskRabbit that don't, there are hundreds that do, and those like Uber and TaskRabbit use their independent contractors as salespeople.
Whether you yourself view sales as cheesy or pushy is irrelevant. Your company will either be stagnant or not grow fast enough without a great sales team. Real estate is location, location, location. Business is sales, sales, sales. If you want to crush 2018 and grow your business, you better hire, train and invest in your salespeople in 2017.
Author credit: Tom Gimbel