Which is the better investment?

Your company has been growing but now is slowing. You would like to see revenues grow more, but nothing you’re doing seems to be working. The traditional methods you’ve been considering aren’t really feasible long-term. You could hire new salespeople every few weeks or months, and invest in training them. You could search for top talent, for “rainmakers”, but that can be even more expensive than training your current staff. You run into the problem of scalability as new salespeople get added to your team; your revenues and cost of customer acquisition continue to be limited by how many sales each person can make. You want your team to be well-trained so they can make sales more efficiently, but the continual attrition a sales team members makes it tough to do so.

You haven’t found a way to address the current reality that your salespeople will be perpetually limited by their personal skills at sales. There’s only so much that training can do to make them better. While a few individual reps might excel, your overall revenue per salesperson isn’t going to grow the way you’d like it to. When most salespeople only spend about 38% of their time actually selling, there’s only so far you can stretch them and only so much you can pack into that limited amount of time.

So how are you going to be able to scale your revenues? You can’t really make the day longer to give salespeople more time to engage in selling activities, after all.

process improvement

Have you thought about your salespeople more time to sell by investing in improving your sales process, rather than the skills of individual salespeople? Imagine if your average sales team spent the same amount of time in revenue generating activities as the peak sales performers noted in the study referenced above. In the study, only 5% of salespeople surveyed qualified as peak sales performers. If nothing else improved aside from the time available for your team to dedicate to selling, imagine if every single person on your sales team had an additional 20% more time to spend on activities that directly impact revenue.

Further, a streamlined sales process isn’t invested in a single salesperson, either. It’s a process that applies to every single salesperson, regardless of their current skill level or when they become a part of your organization. The investment in improving your process continues to yield returns, long after you’ve completed your initial process improvement. It’s scalable and dramatically reduces the time for a new salesperson to become productive—helping to mitigate some of the losses you incur with turnover. Improving your process by incorporating a Lean Selling approach means you’ll be continually improving your sales process, leading to continual increases in efficiency and scalability.

It’s not hard to imagine that if your sales team spent a few more hours a day engaging in activities that generate sales—and fewer hours in activities that don’t–your bottom line would improve. More than just saving time, you’ll be eliminating waste overall, resulting in a significantly more productive and efficient selling machine. Combine that with doubling your revenues per salesperson through the suggestions outlined in one of our previous blog posts, and your revenue stands to grow at a rate you probably hadn’t considered possible—while the cost of customer acquisition plummets.

So where will you be spending your valuable budget—and time? Will you spend them on skills training that leaves when your salespeople do? Or on process improvement that continually results in predictable revenue growth?

To keep this lean conversation going, consider joining the Lean Selling Group on LinkedIn.

About: Robert Pryor is a Lean Selling author and community builder as well as a CEO, speaker, and educator on cutting-edge sales processes. His new book is Lean Selling: How to Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want. Follow by joining the LinkedIn Group “Lean Selling” or on Twitter @LeanSelling.

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