As we shared in a prior article, we developed a Three-Part Formula to a Healthy Sales Pipeline to increase predictability with a structure and process based on personal experience, research, and experience with our clients to create more new opportunities.  The three parts of the formula are:

  • Foundational Elements
  • New Opportunity Process Buckets
  • Accelerate for Success

In a recent article, we provided a road map on how to implement the Three-Part Formula to a Healthy Sales Pipeline. Part One of the Three-Part Formula is the Four Foundational Elements to start planning to build self-mastery.

What are the Four Foundational Elements?

  1. Build a New Business Development Culture/Mindset
  2. Get the Targeting Right
  3. Get the Messaging Right
  4. Determine the Sales Roles

This article discusses the first foundational element. Build a New Business Development Culture/Mindset.

This starts with hiring salespeople with the right stuff.  You need a predictable process to find people with a sales hunter mentality and the expertise and intelligence to execute. There are plenty of candidates to fill an Account Manager position that is more of a farmer role or as Mike Weinberg calls them, “Zookeepers.” There is a dearth of candidates to be an Account Executive or a Sales/Business Development Representative with a true sales hunter mentality who seek the responsibility to consistently deliver. While we build job performance models for our clients for all salespeople that consider cognitive skills, behaviors, and interests, Sales Hunters also need to be strong in these areas:

  • Initiative – driven to act
  • Persuasion – Build trust and persuade others to make decisions
  • Persistence – Ability to bounce back, be adaptable, mental agility
  • Resourcefulness – Identify and connect needs with solutions

Be sure to assess and interview those four areas to help identify candidates with grit and resilience who seek the responsibility and have a track record of success.  Recruit, hire and grow sales hunters!

If you are not already doing it, establish a system for setting and measuring goals for the number of new opportunities created each week and each month for the company and each salesperson to increase predictability for significant growth.

New Opportunity Goal = (Revenue Goal/Average Sales Price or ASP)/ Win Ratio

Make it one of your most important measurements to build competence leading to mastery. Sales Toolkits/playbooks will need to go beyond New Opportunity goals with a structure to include other outcome goals (e.g., connections, first-time appointments) and behavior goals (e.g., sequences/cadences initiated, total touches, quality touches) that support the new opportunity goals.

A hunting salesperson’s number one goal each day is to do what is required that day on deals that they can close that day, that week or perhaps that month. Once those tasks are complete, their highest priority it to create more new opportunities for their pipeline. That is the best way to eliminate the roller coaster effect of up and down sales results. Jeb Blount has a 90-day rule that goes something like this. If your sales results were off last month, the question is, “What were you doing in the month 90 days prior?” (This assumes a sales cycle of 90 days, modify to fit your sales cycle.)

Celebrate successes in the areas of new opportunity goal achievement with emphasis on individual responsibility for planning and executing on the systems to increase consistent new client wins and make sure your sales compensation plan is in line with your new business development culture! 

The sales compensation plan needs to balance these principles.

  • The best place to grow your business is with existing customers with the largest growth potential.
  • The toughest place to grow your business is with new customers.

Yes, we need a sales team that is incented to do both. This is one reason why many sales management experts profess the importance of sales role specialization sooner than later.

When building a compensation plan to recruit and maintain sales hunters, you need to provide a higher commission percentage for them than for your sales farmers for the expertise and self-mastery they provide. In future articles, we will dig deeper on this specific issue. Does your sales compensation plan incent your sales hunters to hunt at the level you want them to hunt?

Follow these recommendations to help you develop a “Create New Opportunity” mindset. To borrow a Jeb Blount term, build a sales team that is fanatical about prospecting.

Click here to learn more about the formula. In future articles, we will continue to discuss other individual parts of the formula.  Want a guide to help you through the formula? Schedule a 30-minute discovery session.