Sales

Where would you look for outside sales help?

Walter Jr. Creative Director, Visual Storyteller, Video Editor, Post Supervisor, Documentarian

July 14th, 2015

Been trying without luck to hire a new internal sales rep for our company and in the meantime, I keep getting bombarded with emails promising to "get you leads and meetings! just sign up for our XYZ service!"   Don't trust any of them quite honestly.

We're a video production company servicing both broadcast clients and corporate.  We've been trying to build back up our corporate pipeline focusing on training and marketing.   Growth potential is huge with our pedigree and history, but we could definitely use some help shaking the bushes and getting some new clients.   Any trusted third party sales help you can recommend?

Laurelle Johnson, MBA

July 15th, 2015

Hi Walter, Thank you for taking the time out to answer the questions. It is more important for you to know the answers than I. But I do know that when going after larger corporations, in spite of a great reputation, it can take over 6 -8 months. I work with my clients to use a strategic approach to gaining corp clients. It’s a whole different way of selling. I wish you good hunting on finding that right person. I will keep my ears out for you. Onwards and Upwards, laurelle Laurelle Johnson Strategies for Growth 818-512-6477 linkedin.com/in/laurellejohnson Twitter: @stratspecialist FaceTime: laurelle@laurellejohnson.com

Ivan Koon CEO at Dot Dot Inc.

July 17th, 2015

The most productive sales people I have met are those selling products that have strong market pull. If you are selling a proven cancer curing drug for all folks, anyone can be the best sales person for that drug. When you are inside an Apple Store, can you tell who are the sales people and who are customer support? Do their sales people have to "sell" or "qualify" or "move you through the funnel"? If you want to increase revenue or market share, the first thing to do (and never stop doing) is to create market pull.  For many small businesses, especially professional services business like the one in this thread, the founding teams are the best sales people.  Because they sell to people who know the founding members or their prospects already know they need the services and are looking for the best provider who they can trust and feel comfortable working with. The founding members, with their intimate knowledge of their professions and their love and pride of their work that easily come through in their conversations, their clients naturally will want to work with them.  This model is hard to scale, obviously, but not impossible to scale. What that means is that effective sales people cannot just be hired and go through some kind of sales training or pipeline creation workflows. They have to submerge into the "profession", be good at it, love it and they must love working with clients and show them how their business can be so much better when the magic dust of their profession is added.  While the work of hiring people and submerging them into the profession to produce client loving sales savvy individuals, the company must continue to work hard to drive up awareness of their unique offerings (brand, production quality, customer services, success references etc.) If executed well, and never blame lack of growth on non-productive sales people, you will see your business not only growing but you will not lose pricing power and you will have a very profitable business.  Good sailing.

Anonymous

July 16th, 2015

No.  Outsiders may generate leads but sales is something else entirely.  Stick with your intuition. Hire someone with a strong sales track record. Look further afield. I don't care if the sell Avon. Hire a great salesperson. 

Dan Callahan VP, Cloud Services at CGNET | I Build Businesses

July 20th, 2015

I get offers for lists of leads, appointment setting and the like every day.  I politely respond that we don't engage in lead-generation marketing efforts.  Why? Because the services we sell are not the kinds of things that someone would buy from a stranger after reading an email or taking a phone call.  I think the same would be true of a professional services firm.  We've focused our efforts on content marketing, and after 6-12 months we're beginning to see some results.  If we wanted to scale quickly we might be more inclined to look at lead generation, but first we'd have to rebuild the company to take advantage of a lead generation program.

Craig Conlee

July 14th, 2015

I would recommend to get a  franchise player. Third parties are just that, "third world, third wheels." I am assuming culture and brand is important for you and your team. Sales is the face of your firm and in a well thoughtful and ideal business model would incorporate marketing to listen to sales to make adjustments to their brand and go to market strategy. if sales is not an important arm of your strategy, then, I would just recommend not to move forward with outside sales. If it is, there needs to be (and I am only assuming), a very long term plan to onboard a quality field rep. In other words, this chapter is super important that will share your firm. Third parties will not. Do a quality search on LinkedIn. I have tons and I means tons of amazing recruiters. Ping me and I will help you out. 

Walter Jr. Creative Director, Visual Storyteller, Video Editor, Post Supervisor, Documentarian

July 15th, 2015

Thanks for the feedback guys.  Craig, we've actually done a pretty long search for inside sales representation here on LinkedIn but have not been able to come to terms with anyone.   You're absolutely correct in that sales is the face of our company and in our case, we're a very fun and creative group.  So we need someone who reflects that but can also actually bring in the sales.   In the past I've paid my sales folks pretty well with a decent commission but that didn't pan into work.   

This time, through recommendations of my business coach, we've cut the salary but dramatically raised the commission.   So the pressure is squarely on the sales rep.   Sell and you can easily clear six figures.   Don't sell and it's going to be tough to get by.    So far, nobody that we'd want representing the company has stood out.   That's why I asked about the third party companies as a fill in the gap while we continue our search.

Walter Jr. Creative Director, Visual Storyteller, Video Editor, Post Supervisor, Documentarian

July 16th, 2015

That's funny Paula that you mention "I don't care if they sell Avon."   I would prefer to find someone outside of the video industry as the sales person.  Preferably someone who is from or very familiar with some of the industries that offer great growth potential.    I honestly don't care if they even understand how we do what we do.   They just need to make the client feel comfortable with us a company and being able to put themselves into the client's shoes and understanding their needs will lead to a more successful sales agent. There's a mystery and a "black art" to video production and the only people who understand how it works are those of us who actually do it every day.    So our perfect sales person would come from another industry and fully understand how video can help the end client.  Not necessarily understand how we actually produce the video, just that we will and it will be perfect for the clients' needs.

Richard Harris Top 25 Inside Sales Leader, Public Speaker, 40 Most Inspiring Leader, Sales Trainer, Start-Up Advisor, SalesHacker

July 15th, 2015

Hi Walter,

It sounds like part of the challenge is that the reps you have don't understand the buyers' journey. They don't understand how to do more than just offer features and benefits, hold for the demo, and then expect the prospect to want to buy after the demo.

It sounds like they get "happy ears" when they discover a surface pain but do not understand how to go beyond what is the pain to why is that pain important and how does that pain truly affect them. 

Feel free to ping me offline and I am happy to share more. Don't worry, not trying to sell you anything. Just want to be supportive.

As for trusted 3rd party groups, yes, Vorsight is good as is insidesalesteam.com I know them both so happy to provide a direct intro if you like

Cheers!

Richard

Walter Jr. Creative Director, Visual Storyteller, Video Editor, Post Supervisor, Documentarian

July 16th, 2015

Thanks for all the input Laurelle  

Laurelle Johnson, MBA

July 16th, 2015

You are most welcome.  I think looking for someone that can communicate and inspire high trust in potential client is a core competency of your next sales person.  Cheers! Laurelle