The answer is—there’s no right answer. A talent-based sales system has worked well for many of the world’s best companies.
However, in our experience, mid-sized businesses perform better using a process-based system vs. relying upon the talent or skill of the sales force. Here’s why:
- Difficulty recruiting A players
It’s very difficult for mid-sized businesses to successfully recruit “A players.” Typically, smaller companies cannot out-pay and don’t have the cache of the Fortune 500. There’s an entire portion of the job pool that will not seriously consider working for a small company.
- Less marketing prowess
Most small companies do not have the expensive and complete marketing toolbox of the large competitors. Smaller businesses have $10,000 websites, not $250,000 websites. They use low-priced CRM tools, not customized million-dollar systems. They created their marketing brochure in-house instead of on Madison Avenue. This all adds up to the salesperson needing more skill to complete the mission.
- Budget constraints
Smaller companies have smaller budgets for salaries, bonuses, spiffs, marketing, sales support, and more. A salesperson of extraordinary skill can figure out how to sell anyway; an ordinary or under-skilled one can’t.
- Small business handicap
It’s not easy being a small business. A percentage of potential employees want the feeling of security provided by a big company and won’t consider working for a smaller company. When making deals, some big companies “just don’t feel comfortable doing business with a small company” or are “concerned you can handle the volume.” On the legal front, big companies push smaller companies around and demand unreasonable terms. The list goes on and on. Star salespeople have enough talent to navigate around these issues, ordinary salespeople can’t and you lose deals because of it.
For mid-sized and small businesses, the answer is clear – stop relying on talent and build a better sales system than the competition. It will lessen your reliance on flighty sales superstars, lower costs, and ultimately increase sales. Oh yeah, and reinstate your sanity.