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Greg Alexander - Sales Force Design - New Orleans Growth Summit

Does the type of sales force you have matter to your teams sales success? Does the maturity model matter? Rhetoric questions perhaps, yet when Greg Alexander explained what sales type and maturity model meant to our group most of the group were either reassured or beginning to question whether they had the right sales model and type for their business.
Greg Alexander is an expert on Sales Benchmarking and has written several books including one with Topgrading Expert Bradford Smart, Topgrading for Sales: World-Class Methods to Interview, Hire, and Coach Top Sale and another Making the Number: How to Use Sales Benchmarking to Drive Performance Greg shared the Seven Levels of Sales Benchmarking Pyramid with us. It ranks your sales benchmarking at the top as “world class” to the bottom “learn from past mistakes" and then asked us three questions. Are you measuring your sales force today qualitatively and quantitatively or both? Where do you think you should begin, internal, external or best practice benchmarking? And finally at level of benchmarking as measured by the seven levels of sales benchmarking pyramid are you presently operating at?
The questions stimulated a good deal of discussion including one staunch business owner who argued that measuring his sales force qualitatively was the best way, while Greg assured him that qualitative and quantitative were equally important.
There are six levels for Sales Force type: Delivery, Order Taker, Demand Creators, Missionary, Technician and Solution Provider.   A delivery sales force example would be FedEx or a beer distributor, while a solution provider example would be a consulting service, value added reseller or interactive agency.   Can you identify which sales force type is your model?
Maturity Model might be the most insightful or scary. There are five levels to the maturity model starting with Level 1 – Chaos. It’s classified by heroic efforts. Level 2 is Standardized Processes. Level 3 is Reportable, which is the basic sales management model. Level 4 is Quantitative Sales Management and finally Level 5 is Predictable. It’s important to recognize that in level 4 the exit criteria is defined from one stage to the next, however that stage is defined by what the prospect does rather than what the salesperson says. As you go from the top to the bottom of the Maturity Model the level of risk and waste decreases. At the top you have a predictable, sales model producing consistent results with casual sales management. 
Greg pointed out that these considerations of sales force type and maturity model are more important than ever due to the shift of power from the seller to the buyer. This shift has been lead by technology and the Internet. Many businesses are struggling to recognize this, having more than one type of sales force, yet keeping a uniform set of sales benchmarks for both types. Of course there are a number of sales forces that have no benchmarks at all. 
World class organizations have a very specific type of sales process type. They recognize the buying cycle of their prospects and customers and match the buying process to their sales cycle process.  
Do you monitor your sales pipeline - the qualified sales leads you have on the horizon? Greg Alexander offered insight into what the numbers should look like and where they were nationally in the 4th and second quarters. More on that in a short blog next.

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.