One of the biggest challenges in this economy is the task of growing your revenue without growing your costs. Everyone tells you to advertise and invest in your company, but if revenue is flat or worse declining then spending resources can send you backwards.
An idea that we have come up with as an organization to prevent this is to build a flexible and commission driven sales organization. We have two different products and sales cycles and we are approaching both sales teams differently.
For our products that have a short sales cycle, we have recruited 4 sales people on commission only to work with our company. The weak job market has allowed us to attract talented sales people, but at the same time we have a great product with a short sales cycle. If you have a sales cycle that is between one and two months, a commission only organization works. If not, you will need to create a draw or base structure, and every company is different.
For our social media application we are selling to brands, we know the sales cycle is 3-12 months, so commission only doesn’t work. To tackle this we are finding industry experts and creating strategic partnerships and referral programs to create business. You can dramatically reduce your sales cycle when a new hire has a rolodex or specific industry connections. So instead of hiring one or two high paid sales reps, we are recruiting 4-5 key industry experts who can work on a referral/commission basis in the verticals we want to go after.
Here are the basic steps to implementing a program like we have:
- Define your product sales cycle
- Create a commission structure that is attractive
- Recruit experienced, hungry sales reps who believe in your company
- Make sure you have a solid training and sales management structure
- Support your sales staff with PR and by leveraging your network
- Constantly monitor your sales results and fix any wrong assumptions immediately
If you implement some or all of the above ideas, you can grow your organization in any economy. We are set to have our best month ever because of this.