Hiring exceptional sales professionals is not enough to drive sales performance.
In the pre-Internet days a great sales person could make all the difference in the world for your business. They could bust down doors, chase opportunities, and drive sales.
Today, talent is not enough.
Sales performance is predicated on three variables:
And their impact on your organization is in that order.
Territory: the market dictates what it will buy
A weak sales rep in a great territory will outperform a superstar in a poor territory. The number one predictor of sales performance is the territory.
A sales territory is more than a geographic region. It’s a customer segment or marketplace. You can qualify the territory by location, vertical, segment, or some other criteria. But regardless of how you qualify the territory the question is “Are your customers buying in that market?”
Ask four questions to quantify a territory’s potential:
- What is the customer density?
- Are prospects and customers proactively seeking out and purchasing solutions for their need?
- What are the competitive forces?
- What are the preferred options and choices? (And is your brand the preferred choice?)
It doesn’t matter how good a sales rep is if the territory conditions are weak.
Timing: market conditions influence sales potential
No one was buying following the economic meltdown in 2008. It didn’t matter how good your products or services were. People were panicking. The sky was falling. And sales were plummeting.
Market conditions will influence sales potential. When the market is hot everyone does well. As the old saying goes, a turkey can fly in a hurricane.
You cannot control the ups and downs of the economy, but you can ride the waves and time how and where you invest your sales and marketing dollars.
Talent: great salespeople do make a difference
There really is no substitute for great sales talent.
Working with weak sales reps is like driving on bald tires. It doesn’t matter how hard you step on the gas, you just can’t get traction. Great sales reps can do so much more than weak or average reps.
Great sales reps expand territories, capitalize on market forces, snatch situations from defeat, and create opportunities. They don’t drive demand for your products and services, but they magnify and accelerate sales opportunities.
Start with the first T
Territory is the most important lever to improve the sales performance of your organization. This is the T to start with, but it’s a branding challenge to improve it.
Is your brand positioned to win? Your brand strategy defines where your company will play and how it will win (this is a core concept from my new book, Sticky Branding).
Salespeople may not be able to drive demand, but your brand can. It increases your territory potential. It makes your business more findable and desirable. It helps generate more opportunities for your salespeople to serve.
Build a Sticky Brand to increase territory potential and drive sales.