How to Make the Number with Less People

Dan Perry
February 7, 2014 — 1,240 views  
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Receiving the email or phone call from your boss is never pleasant.  “All hiring is on hold until further notice.   We are short of our bottom line number. The CEO wants to approve all hires until the beginning of next year.  This means no hiring except in extreme circumstances.  You have to make the rest of 2013 with the sales heads you have.”  Now you must make the number with less than a full team.   Getting a hiring freeze from corporate is out of your control.  But what you do about it is not.

Sales VPs consistently have hiring freezes placed on them. These typically happen mid to late fiscal year. Trying to make your number without a full budgeted sales headcount is difficult.  Missing even more than 5% of your budgeted team can cause a missed quota.  There are 10 best practices Sales VPs have taken to ensure this doesn’t happen.  Below are five of the 10:

  1. Sales Manager/VP field sales rides: Participating with your sales reps on more field calls leads to increased revenue.  By increasing the frequency you ride in the field, you will sell more business.  When an executive meets early in the buying process, win rates can improve up to 80%.   It also allows you to coach and develop the sales rep further. And coaching is proven to raise results.
  2. Team Culture Building:  Keeping your current team is now more important.  Sales people like to be included in a team environment.  You can emphasize this by building a collaborate culture. Create an atmosphere for success by involving other team members in deal strategy discussions.  Establish a fun atmosphere with good feedback channels.  Play a game or have a contest.  Make the sales job fun.
  3. Social Selling Emphasis:  Social Selling is a modern prospecting methodology that fills the funnel with opportunities.   Training your sales team how to social sell will immediately improve your sales pipeline.  84% of decision makers begin their buying process with a referral (source: Edelman Trust Barometer). Sales people get referrals more often through Linked In.  Proper use of Linked In will have your reps mastering social selling.  And in turn increasing sales sooner than then outdated prospecting: cold calling and email.
  4. Big Deal Strategy Reviews:  Dig into the tactics of the big deal and not just skim the surface.  Uncover where they are in the buying process.  Figure out who is on the Buying Decision Team (BDT).  Discuss and strategize how to neutralize the competition.  Especially the competitor ‘Do Nothing’.  The rule is every missing budgeted open head you need 3 more big deals. Fill the pipeline with these big deals now.  And work the Big Deal Strategy Process.
  5. Virtual Bench Interviewing:  When hiring freezes are lifted, a Sales VP must move fast.  The best ones interview during the no hire period.  They are always looking to not only fill open positions but upgrade. Schedule interviews with yourself and sales managers weekly.  Prepare the candidates knowing they won’t be hired for a certain time.  And if you find one you like, nurture them.  You can then get someone on board shortly after the freeze is lifted.

Hiring Freezes don’t have to be the sign of missing the number.  Get tactical with the 10 best practices:

  • Get the Big Deal Reviews on the calendar today.
  • Demand each one of your Sales Managers interviews a candidate weekly.
  • Book a social selling training in three weeks. Then task someone to get up to speed on it to conduct the training.
  • Schedule your field rides with sales reps today.  Plan out the next 60 days.
  • Start team building today.  Introduce gamification to make it fun, establish friends and get feedback.   to your sales team.

A hiring freeze is out of your control.  But don’t let it affect you.  Use the proven actions to make the number with less than budgeted sales people. No one will remember what circumstances lead to you missing the number.  But they will remember you not making it.

 

 

Dan Perry

Sales Benchmark Index

Dan Perry is the 2014 Top Sales World Gold Medal Award Winner for Best Sales Blog Post and writes on SalesForce.com and in Power Selling Magazine. He is a frequent guest speaker on SLMA (Sales Lead Management Association) Internet Radio and made Evan Carmichael's Top 100 Sales Experts to follow on Twitter.