Some site feedback on Inside Sales topic …

Recently someone posted the following question as site feedback for the Inside Sales article I wrote. Unfortunately they did not leave a return email or contact name, so I could not respond. I thought I would post to Blog as an alternative. Here is what was posted:

“I am a part of a short term project team – we have been assigned bi-monthly sales goals. Each sales rep has been asked to identify their targeted leads.  Some members of the team have complied and others have chosen not to but have identified associations by which they intend to prospect ALL of the members.  A concern was raised around the cost of sales and compensation with respect to the possibility of cross selling leads. The sales managers expect the sales reps to resolve their own conflicts rather than requiring all to comply with the expectation that they identify the lead that they will sell too.  This situation has already begun to take the fun out of this opportunity for many.  Instead of reconciling the lists and then analyzing the shared leads to determine who should pursue the lead – determine whether the sales members should partner together.  The sales management team seems solely focused on achieving the numbers by any means necessary.  Please share your thoughts. ”

From my perspective, this seems to indicate an overall lack of maturity in the sales process. The weak spot is probably the lack of a balanced compensation strategy that can accommodate sales conflict while being fair to all of those involved. I have found this to be one of the hardest element of sales compensation to set up properly — new situations always arise and often have to be dealt with after the fact — not easy to do, especially if sales numbers are not being met, which is likely what is happening in the above situation.

Many companies, especially public ones, will pull out whatever stops it feels it needs to do to make quarterly targets — i’m guessing this is one of those scenarios as the person states this as a “short term project team”. Many things get compromised, least of which is the long term morale of the sales team.

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to look at the sales leader and decide whether there are some hidden objectives driving this behavior. If the team is a quality sales team, they should be trusted to do what is right to make sales targets. Having everyone pursue their leads regardless of overlap and duplication does not seem like the right approach, and will quickly be laughed at by the prospective customer when they find multiple people from the  same company trying to sell them the same product — maturity shows up in many ways, immature sales teams don’t do well long term.

Compensation is the key issue here — fairness is the best way to maintain team loyalty, efficient processes and ultimately to maintain great relationships with customers. Sometimes a Company has to pay a bit more to reach this level of maturity but in the long run, they will have a sales team properly focused on the goals for the company and enjoying doing so. I assume this is what they want.

PS: If you are the author of the feedback on and read this article, please drop me a line so we can talk about this further. Hopefully some other comments will appear with this Blog as well to get other perspectives.

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