How do you build a successful sales organization?

This is the driving question of Sales CoPilot since its inception in 2006.  In the various companies of my working life before founding Sales CoPilot, I never had the best product, a national brand, or the deepest pockets, yet you still had to win.  Like every entrepreneur, the challenge is to win with limited resources; therefore, it is about allocating the resources you have in the most effective way possible.

Since the inception of Sales CoPilot, we have worked with a variety of entrepreneurial and family businesses.  All struggle with the life cycle transition from infancy or adolescence to maturity.  Maturity, for me, is defined as a stable business able to operate independent of the direct efforts of the founders or founder’s descendents; a business that can find and close its next customer on its own, like a child on a bicycle leaving the guiding hand of a parent.  The force driving the pedals is sales; the business must be able to reliably and predictably generate sales.

Like everyone else, I originally thought that the answer was just around talent.

Get the right talent and things would take care of themselves.  Then I saw companies with good talent unable to roll without the founder’s hand.  Next it was get the right information into the right talent’s hands, but still the bike often falls over.  Well maybe it was management, so let’s look at how the team is managed and fix that with better metrics, visibility, and control: still no joy.  “Let’s try process, CRM’s technology, adjust the compensation plan“.  The conclusion is that all of the above is about trying to fix the parts, but the solution is that everything has to be set up for success.  There is more to the child’s success on the bike then just balance, pedaling, and turning.  The tires need air, the chain needs grease, the bolts must be tight, and it really helps if there is not a curb just ahead.

After seven years, 55 clients, and hundreds of entrepreneurial meetings it is clear: fixing the parts does not work.  I know it is not about finding the perfect person, hiring great talent, buying the latest CRM technology, or crafting the perfect incentive plan.

It is about getting all of it right, and about giving the leaders of the business visibility into every aspect of how sales is operating so they have the control to adjust, refine, and continuously tune it so the founder can release their hand from the seat.  Whether you are building a business for exit, a legacy for a family, or a corporate driver of the economy, the pedal power comes from sales, and there is a right way to design the sales organization to drive those pedals.  Sales CoPilot’s Seven Steps will show you the right way.