The Zero-Turnover Sales Force: How to Maximize Revenue by Keeping Your Sales Team Intact
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The Zero-Turnover Sales Force: How to Maximize Revenue by Keeping Your Sales Team Intact

by Doug McLeod
     
 

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There’s no question about it…Sales force turnover can be disastrous to the financial health of an organization, whatever its size, whatever its products or services. With a salesperson’s exit often costing at least 150% of that employee’s annual compensation, a high rate of turnover can translate into millions of dollars lost each year.

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Overview

There’s no question about it…Sales force turnover can be disastrous to the financial health of an organization, whatever its size, whatever its products or services. With a salesperson’s exit often costing at least 150% of that employee’s annual compensation, a high rate of turnover can translate into millions of dollars lost each year.

The Zero-Turnover Sales Force exposes the outdated Old School management practices that perpetuate this costly but avoidable problem. This eye-opening book examines the real reasons for high turnover, explains how it can be avoided, and gives readers specific strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of their sales force. The book demonstrates how to combat “the 12 Assassins of Sales Force Stability,” such as cold calling, straight commission sales compensation, weak recruiting, unfocused training, fuzzy goals, and unrealistic expectations.

Sparkling with fresh thinking on hiring smarter, appreciating the values of younger salespeople, retaining top sellers, eliminating wasteful cold calling, and conducting sales meetings that work, The Zero-Turnover Sales Force is a powerful must-read for any corporate executive, sales manager, or salesperson who aspires to management.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... apply his principles, you just might find you’ve earned the respect of your sales team and inturn increased sales across the board." — Niche magazie

“..no hesitation in recommending this as a…well-thumbed text on any sales manager's bookshelf, as well as a practical 'how to' volume for sales people.”—ChangingMinds.org

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814415603
Publisher:
AMACOM Books
Publication date:
03/17/2010
Pages:
242
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

I N T R O D U C T I O N

A Sales Force That Can Make

Your Career

The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision.

You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.

—THEODORE HESBURGH

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are

too heavy to be broken.

—WARREN BUFFETT

Their words sing an anthem of success. Theodore Hesburgh is a longtime civil rights crusader and president of Notre Dame University a and Warren Buffett was once crowned by Forbes magazine as the richest person in the world. We could have opened with those quotes simply because the combined wisdom of a noted educator with 35

honorary degrees (a Guinness World Record) and a noted philanthropist who was once reportedly worth around $62 billion carry their own validations. The reason they’re here, though, is that they trumpet the exact message that’s at the heart of this book:

Look forward confidently and break away from the old habits that

hold you back.

I began selling when I was just out of college and managed my first sales force a few years later. Since then, I’ve managed, worked with, consulted, or employed sales forces in many different types of business. Despite all the differences in what they sold and where they

Zero Turnover Sales Force composite (d)_composite 11/15/09 10:08 PM Page 1

called home, all those companies had two things in common when a came aboard: They all suffered from ongoing sales force turnover a and they never talked about it.

When we discussed why sales projections weren’t being met, the

CEOs, sales VPs, sales managers, and marketing bosses blamed the usual suspects: the economy, credit constriction, vendor problems a government regulations, tax issues, immigration concerns, the weather, politics, the company’s investors, the CEO who didn’t come from sales, and incompetent salespeople.

In fact, they blamed everything except the one problem they all faced: sales force turnover.


• BOARDING UP THE OLD SCHOOL •

I don’t think most of those otherwise very sharp business leaders ever considered that fluctuations in their sales staffs were more likely reasons for their performance issues than any of the others. Why not?

Because sales force turnover has been a fact of life for so long that it’s become accepted as the norm. The sun comes up in the east; salespeople quit or get fired—it’s a state of nature. Sales force churn is even built into many companies’ business plans, a curious forest-for-thetrees approach.

This whistling past the graveyard is a proud by-product of the

Old School, where sales executives from the ages of twentysomething to infinity learn the old ways of selling and managing. The tired and tedious ways of 1924, 1950, and 1979. The ways the competition sells and manages.

The ways to fail.

More than any socioeconomic, governmental, or financial gremlins,

Old School sales management philosophies create the conditions that lead to sales force turnover. Old School thinking is what stymies sales growth at most companies, and it does its damage entirely from within. The really dangerous thing about Old School thinking is that anyone of any age can fall into its clutches. It isn’t just a few old fogies who simply won’t cut the strings to the ways they’ve always done things. Many very bright sales professionals in their late twenties are moving into management right now without so much as a suspicion that the methods they’re inheriting are the self-defeating dogmas of the Old School. If they don’t know any other way, they believe in those antiquated ideas, too. This means that yet another generation of sales executives is in danger of being sabotaged by last-century management techniques.

Old School thinking in business is nothing new. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the Luddites, a group of English textile artisans led by the self-styled King Ludd, believed that modernization and mechanization were taking away their livelihoods.

They rampaged around Yorkshire smashing mechanized looms and wreaking mayhem on anyone who believed that progress was better than long-held methods and beliefs. In those days, they knew how to deal with Luddites: Several of them were hanged and the rest transported.

Yet their ghosts still prowl the hallways of businesses large and small, proud fifth columnists from the Old School.

If you listen, you can hear their insidious messages:

Cold call all day, every day.

Pay straight commission.

Have lots of sales meetings, and make them long.

Leave the hiring process to Human Resources.

Train the wrong people the wrong way.

Yes, the Old School way of looking at sales force management dies hard.

This book will show you how to move away from Old School thinking by doing the things that stop the sales department’s revolving door from spinning.


• YOU: HERO •

Moving to a Zero-Turnover Sales Sorce could make you look like a hero to the people who run your company. Why? Because:


• You’re saving an enormous amount of money by eliminating the most expensive—and least appreciated—cost of sales:

turnover.

• You’ve discovered a potent new way to maximize sales effectiveness.

• Your sales force is poised to remain intact regardless of market forces, the economy, or competitive pressure.

• Competitors are going to sit up, notice the change, and wonder what you’re up to, and keeping them off balance is always a good thing.

• You’re going to look like a manager with serious upward potential by demonstrating the ability to identify and correct serious flaws in the way the company’s sales force operates.


• THE WAY AHEAD:

SELLING IT AT C-LEVEL

While many of the ideas in this book can be put in place as part of your daily operations, you’re going to have to get the Big Cheese on board at some point. The Big Cheese is your company’s president,

CEO, or COO. If your outfit is mired in Old School straight commission sales compensation, you may face some initial resistance to the idea of actually paying a salary plus commission or a salary plus bonus so that your people don’t have to sweat their mortgages and are able to concentrate on long-term productivity. Here’s where you need to make a compelling case to the CFO, too.

How do you present the Zero-Turnover Sales Force concept to your C-level executives? Don’t just bring it up; don’t write a memo;

don’t send an e-mail. Instead, do a business plan. Make it short and potent. Include graphs or charts to make it easy to digest for senior executives whose plates are already full. Better yet, create a short but powerful multimedia presentation.

Are you taking a risk in trying to change something that’s deeply ingrained (and doesn’t work)? Maybe. But as former Navy Captain

Michael Abrashoff points out in his book, It’s Your Ship: Management

Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, “Many people consider going out on a limb a sure way to endanger your career, but this conventional wisdom is no way for an organization to stay alive and strong.”

However you pitch it, your case for a Zero-Turnover Sales Force can be more convincing when you laser in on the one thing C-level types want to know more than anything else: How will this drive revenue?

Crafting a well-led sales force and keeping it intact and selling achieves the revenue goals that your bosses require and the career success that you desire. The book you’re holding was designed with one goal in mind: to help you build an industry-leading sales force that stays together and wins together.

What if you could really do that? You can. Here’s how.

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Meet the Author

DOUG MCLEOD (Scottsdale, AZ) has spent more than 30 years in the marketing, sales, and communications industries. His experience includes all levels of the sales process—from street-level selling to strategic marketing and sales management to business ownership.

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