Where Not to Skimp on Building a Sales Department

SEP 17, 2019 by MARY GROTHE

Sales people are expensive, directly and indirectly. They’re tough to manage. They’re unpredictable. They interview SO well! But then, they don’t perform once hired. You cannot possibly continue to payout sales salaries for non-performance. What do you do?


1.    Attract the right talent by paying the right comp plan.


Sure, there are sales people willing to work for $30k/year base salaries. But, is that really the type of sales person that has the proven industry relevant experience you need to hit the ground running? Use free tools like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and PayScale to run a comp on what others are paying for a similar sales role in your area. Align your compensation model with what will attract proven, talented reps in your industry. Stop gambling on your brother’s cousin’s college roommate who once did sales 10 years ago and was pretty good and willing to work for a low base. Sorry to burst your bubble, he is not going to succeed.

2. Build the required infrastructure to promote accountability and performance.


Stop the “here’s your laptop, now go sell!” Buildout an easy-to-use CRM. Create a sales playbook so they know the step-by-step daily details on how to succeed in their role. Build a custom sales activity scorecard that houses their weekly activity metrics (leading indicators) and weekly sales results (lagging indicators). Ensure your marketing campaigns are automated and are creating exposure for you and the reps in your territory.  


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3. Hold them accountable.


Create a culture of high-performance from Day 1. Communicate weekly expectations. Gain agreement they understand and create a repercussion, also agreed upon, that will be executed if the rep doesn’t hit the weekly marks. If you communicate and gain agreement on the front end, you won’t be 6 months into a new hire’s ramp and wondering when they’ll sell their first deal. You will know within 3-4 weeks if the sales person is going to work out, or not. Turn them or train them… but don’t let them be.

Take the risk on the right hire, your revenue will thank you. Remember that a $45k base salary and $70k OTE that yields $200k in annual revenue is way better than spending $30k base five times to get $0 revenue.


Mary Grothe, CEO

Sales BQ®


Mary Grothe is the CEO of Sales BQ®, a full-service sales consulting and training firm designed to profitably rebuild sales departments from three to 100 sales reps.