Address Revenue Growth by Knowing Your People

Like most of you I get tons of email notices about new articles or posts on websites and groups I follow. I look at these because I have signed up for most of them and I am interested in what they have to say. Over the past 12-18 months I have noticed a trend that points to the current slow economic recovery and the ways companies have chosen to address it.

Some of us more “seasoned” citizens remember a time when the economic cycles were fairly frequent, mild and provided good control over the “irrational exuberance” that we experienced in the 90’s and tended to weed out the marginal players so that strong companies and ideas could flourish. In other words the rising tide lifts all boats. This recovery is not playing out that way. So a new paradigm is emerging. Companies are shifting technical and relationship management professional sales staff from their traditional jobs to “new business” roles.

This is happening in engineering firms, CPA practices, law firms, banks, credit unions and even charitable organizations. Redeploying assets to new roles is not a new strategy, however, moving a banker from a “Know Your Customer” role to a “Find a New Customer” role is pretty drastic. It’s sort of like teaching a pig to sing; it irritates the pig and frustrates the teacher. Pigs don’t sing and engineers don’t’ “dial for dollars”.

Some of the organizations embarking on this redeployment have asked employees to make the change voluntarily; others have chosen the least experienced professionals to make the move; still others have assigned New Business goals to everyone and hoped they can produce more new business while maintaining their current clients.

The last time I looked, HOPE is not a strategy and changing a professional’s job from the traditional to the experimental is dangerous on a number of levels. But the business imperative still exists. New business is not being created by the slow economic recovery. Growth only comes from taking business from your competitor and maintaining your current customers. Another Oxymoron.

Let me give you just one example of the cost of doing this badly. An engineering firm had a brilliant young engineer that was also a good speaker and presenter. He could deliver a compelling presentation on any aspect of his field. Management decided he would be a good candidate to move into a new business role. As incentive they said, “make this move and you get to keep a job”!

The move was a disaster! Not only did the engineer not sell new business, his old clients began to ask for him and drift away when he was not made available. Now this management team was not completely brain dead. They quickly saw that this was not working and corrected their error. The young engineer not only regained his clients, he went on to win 10 patents and make the company more money than any sales person.

Now, what’s The ActionPoint™ of this story? And how do you avoid this error cycle and still address the need for new business development? One powerful answer is that you find out what sales roles your staff might be good at and move the ones that fit a new business role into that job. The best way to do that is by using a proven assessment that directly assesses against an array of sales roles and gives management the insights they need to make informed decisions that are required to stay in business.

ActionPoint Partners, LLC, provides selection, assessment, development and professional expertise and resources that address critical performance needs of sales organizations. For more information please go to ActionPointPartners.com

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