There are many sales teams out there that grow anywhere from 2% to 30%+ each month, but at Epos Now, we have consistently grown 180%+ every year for the last six years without any VC or external funding whilst remaining profitable. So how did we do it?
I put this down to a key formula broken down below. So if you are interested in creating predictable scalable growth each month, even if it's only 5%, then please carry on reading.
Before I start, it’s essential to understand the following important formula. Namely that to increase the output in your sales team (Revenue Growth) you will have to tweak a number of different variables.
First, the number of reps you have (Recruitment). Second, the input of those reps (Activity); and third, the quality of that input (Coaching). It’s no good focusing on one of the variables in silo. For instance, hiring a ton of reps and hoping they’ll hit target, or trying to make the reps work harder by increasing activity KPI’s. None of these strategies are culturally sustainable nor financially profitable long term. Always remember:
Revenue Growth = Recruitment + Activity + Coaching
REVENUE GROWTH: Set a stretched, seemingly unachievable target
First off, you need to sit down and think about where you are at the moment in terms of revenue and what figure you would like to hit by the end of the 12 month period.
This of course depends on certain factors such as how aggressive you are as a leader, any external pressures in the market such as tough competition or whether you’re VC funded with certain goals to meet within time constraints.
As an example, let’s say you run a business that is currently turning over a modest $100,000 per month and you want to increase that by 10% each month. Due to compound interest that would mean by month 12 the business would be turning over $313,000. That’s 3x the amount of revenue you were generating at the start! Obviously you’re not going to hit that without tweaking additional factors.
HIRING: Calculate the number of reps you need to hit this target
WARNING! Before you go out and hire a ton of sales reps and burn through your cash, you need to make sure your hiring process is scalable AND profitable.
First, you need to work out all the costs associated with hiring and maintaining a rep such as: salary and commission, recruitment cost, cost of leads from marketing, cost of the sales STACK licences, parking and travel reimbursement, the average manager salary divided by number of reps, and anything else.
Second, you need to work out what the reps need to hit revenue wise to be profitable. Look at the data and work out what your average discount % is and what your leftover margin on the product is after you take that off the average revenue they bring in.
For instance, if your average cost per rep is $10,000 a month, and they bring in $15,000 a month but are discounting by 20% and you only work at a 70% Gross Profit Margin for your product/service, the rep is actually only bringing in around $11,000/month.
You therefore need to ensure the reps are hitting at least $20,000 to remain profitable and useful. Otherwise if you grow the cost base with another 11 reps who are only making you $1,000 profit/month, your business will soon by swallowed up by the additional operation costs such as rent, marketing cost, recruitment, support staff etc.
To keep it simple, if you currently have 5 reps hitting $100,000/month between them, then the average performance per rep is $20,000/month.
The question is, how many reps do you need to hit $330,000/month? The answer is between 16 and 17. That is a 3x increase in staff! You’ll also need to factor in onboarding and ramp up time in addition to any potential mis-hires and churn of current reps.
To be blunt, you need to have strong hiring and onboarding processes in place before you even attempt to scale at this rate of 2-3 new sales reps a month (allowing for mis-hires and churn). Ask yourself whether you have the resources to attempt this or the processes in place to make this a success before you try and do it. For an additional resource on hiring check out this article on the winning forumla for hiring A-Players.
ACTIVITY: Reverse engineer the revenue targets and set aggressive activity KPI’s
Once you have the revenue targets and the right team in place, it would be foolish to just expect the reps to hit a number you put in front of them without showing them how. That would be the equivalent of putting $10,000 on the stock market without doing any research into the past performance and trends of the stocks you plan to invest in and just hope they increase by 15% a year.
You now need to reverse engineer the revenue targets into activities. For example, you need to work out how many calls, conversations, opportunities, demos, proposals, pipeline, and deals the reps need to hit on a monthly basis and then break this down by the week and the day.
It’s essential that you check in with your reps at least on a weekly basis to see where they are compared to goal and not let one or two poor days in a row creep under the radar. It’s a fine balance between growth and stagnation. If you want to grow every month your reps need to get slightly better in terms of activity every month or at least remain highly consistent.
Obviously there is a limit to what each rep can physically do so this is where the quality will come in through coaching. For more insight in how to drive results from activities check out this article here.
Here is an example of a weekly tracker below.
COACHING: Sales managers must spend at least a ⅓ of their time coaching reps
How much time does your sales manager actually spend on coaching? I mean actual coaching, one on one? If the answer is, you don’t know, why is this?
As a VP Sales with 7 or 8 managers in my department it would be impossible for me to shadow every single manager every day to check their work. There is an easier way though!
At Epos Now, we have built our SalesForce in such a way that managers can add coaching sessions completed, set performance objectives and mark off call quality sessions. This way I can clearly see which managers have completed their coaching sessions/1-1’s and which ones haven’t in real-time.
Here are a couple of different widgets I use to track whether managers are completing formance reviews and carrying out call quality sessions. If you don’t have the internal resources to do this you should check out Level Eleven’s integrated gamification and coaching platform which we are also using at Epos Now. You can find out more about this on their blog here.
In conclusion, creating predictable growth is a result of strong processes and structure in the above areas. If your team is weak in one of the above you will miss your revenue target. Next steps would be to carry out a full audit of your current hiring process, activity KPI’s and coaching processes to ensure they are inline with the ambition levels of your revenue targets.
P.S. If you have any questions regarding the above, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; and if you like what you just read, please share this article so that others might stumble upon this process.