The ice was crisp and hard against my face as I leaned forward holding my long black coat steady against my body as I pushed the revolving door. It opened to a modern lobby, simple sofas, and chairs arranged in groups. The check in desk was back and to the right. I glance left and noticed a sign for a Starbucks, walking towards it I stopped and headed right into the restroom. Looking in the mirror my face was red and my hair icy and wet. I grabbed a few paper towels and pushed my hair back as best I could. Back in the lobby, I found a soft chair and loosened my scarf and let it fall. The lobby was quiet, and only a few people caught my eye.
He brushed passed sprinkled wet white evergreens towards the corner stoplight noticing light traffic on the street. The walk was not that far, so he decided to brave the cold and duck under the awnings as he approached the hotel. He looked down at his polished black shoes and hoped they were sturdy enough for the weather. His collar was up, and his ears were getting freezing hot from the biting wind. He turned sideways reaching for the revolving door catching it as the wind caught him from behind. He pushed through and blinked as he focused ahead at the well-lit lobby. Simple clean and stark is how he would describe it. Glancing to the left, he noticed the back of a familiar dark head of hair.
I looked up and in front of me stood a fairly tall light gray-headed man I was guessing to be just over sixty. His suit hung immaculately over his slight frame. I stood to greet him “William, how are you great to see you?”
” I couldn’t be better on this cold day Duke great to see you. How’s the family?”
” Fantastic as always. Thanks for meeting me, I know the weather is brutal but I leave out of town this afternoon. I appreciate the time and thanks for replying to my email on such short notice.”
” Not a problem, I will always try to make some time for you. You have helped me many times before so what’s a few minutes in the cold. You mentioned you have a few questions you wanted to ask, more specifically about sales.”
“Yes, It’s been a hot topic of conversation with a lot of the companies I have met and talked with lately. I know it’s always one of your major priorities.”
” It’s mostly my only priority, without it we don’t exist.”
” Hard to argue with that. Some of the companies I am working with are at various stages of building their sales teams and I thought your insight might help me help them.”
” What do you have in mind?”
” Let’s start with the structure of compensation.”
” To me, compensation is about transparency within the team and organization. Everyone must know what everyone else it making. If they can’t handle that so be it. Also, it’s about communication. You may think you are communicating to the sales people to do X but they are reading it as something else. The other thing is that you must lay it out in front of them exactly how the get paid. They will do some kind of spread sheet to track it. Do it for them give it to them and let them understand exactly how it works and what your expectations are.”
” So, there is no question where everyone is on the playing field. Almost a plug and play model?”
” Yes, I never thought of it that way, but it’s got to be transparent and simple. Oh and one other thing. Do not change the model. If you do, you are dead. It’s not fair to anyone, and they all know it. I’ve seen that mistake done by others, and it killed them. The next thing I emphasize is the types of sales we want. Is it enterprise, product push, new features or bigger deals. There are a few more variations but here is what I have learned over the years. They will only focus on at most two of those things. Not three not four not one but usually two. It may be any combination, but it will be two. So, pick them out are get rid of all the rest. Put a timeline and goals on it and sit back and be amazed.”
” Is that some of your secret sauce?”
” Oh, I would say it’s just a part of it.”
” Do you want a coffee? I could use one.’
” I could go for a hot chocolate.”
” Not a coffee drinker, I thought you were more than well known for consumption of certain beverages.”
” Maybe so but coffee is not one of them.”
We walked back to our seats drinks in hand, and I leaned forward to ask, ” how do you handle someone who is making more than you as a rep?”
“I have no problem with it at all. They earned it, and that’s helping the company grow. I am way beyond any ego about pay at this point in my career. If someone is leading a team and they can’t handle that they should find another line of work.”
” Fair enough, what about competitiveness. Is that a given?”
” Sure I think it comes naturally, but I also want them hungry, and I want to make them even hungrier but also make sure I support it. Most sales people want to be held accountable and be compared to the other sales people. They don’t want to be treated like a two-year-old by some ignorant middle management type. That’s why I am the point man for sales. It may make some of the other people in he company feel a little uneasy about sales, but it’s what makes us different and different in a good way. There is, of course, the eat what you kill mentality, but that’s what makes me get up in the morning. It’s what drives growth and revenue. It may sound a little old school but it sure as hell works.”
“It’s a little bit of old school chest pounding?”
” I don’t think we take it that far, but we certainly cheer our successes and love every minute of it.”
” Well, I appreciate your time, and we need to tee it up when the weather gets warmer.”
” Not a problem and yes we will need to hit the course this summer. Rumor is you are a great putter.”
” That is just a rumor by the way. It’s the other parts of my game that need work. Thanks for the tips.”
We walked through the revolving door, and my Uber pulled up. We shook hands, and the driver opened the door for me. I glanced to my left and watched the long dark coat fade into the icy afternoon. As the car pulled away, I could not help but think.
Sales Management. It’s Really Pretty Simple.
+1 Number one funded company in #CRETech today is known as a “sales company.”