David A.Brock, author of ‘The Sales Managers Survival Guide’ posted an article entitled ‘A Frightening Look At The Cost Of A Sales Person’. He suggested that the average tenure of a Sales Leader is just 19 months and that 47% of the companies interviewed believed that a sales hire takes approximately 10 months to become productive for their employer.
Of course statistics can be used to prove any point, but such shocking statistics made me wonder how many businesses accept this type of staff turnover as the norm and view figures like this as simply part of the cost of running their sales team?
According to Reed (www.reed.co.uk), the current average salary for a Sales Director in the UK is £81,462. This is basic salary only and not based on any sector or geographical criteria. To this princely sum you would have to add a mid-range car, mobile phone plus usage, laptop computer, National Insurance Employer Contribution, Pension Contribution, basic overheads and bonuses, incentives and benefits unique to your company. All of these could push the price up by an additional fixed monthly overhead in excess of £10,000, depending on how generous your staff benefits are.
So the question is, what are MDs/CEOs actually looking for and can they afford to pay this ‘average’ salary for 10 months before their Sales Director is effective?
Are they looking for a strategic sales head to work alongside members of their Board or are they just looking for a big-game hunting salesperson?
The job description for a Sales Director varies depending on the size and profile of the business. I believe the Sales Director should have the ultimate accountability for the company’s revenue aspirations and the responsibility for developing the underlying systems and processes to support the company’s targets. In addition, they should be expected to contribute to winning customers but not to the detriment of achieving the wider company objectives.
After studying these HR and salary statistics, I have concluded that too many businesses and Boards are simply on the lookout for a magic bullet to solve their sales challenges. In fact, if these statistics are to be believed, they also indicate that there are a lot of businesses continually searching for a Super Hero type who can motivate others, design process, implement structure and land the biggest deals.
What I know for certain, having learned through experience in over 25 years of Sales Management, is that the most consistent high performing sales teams are the ones that operate with proven systems and processes. Their success does not rely on highly paid transient sales people or Super Heroes who don’t hang around long enough to warm the seat.
At a time when many businesses are feeling the pinch with the uncertainty of our economy, I am extremely proud of our great team at Sales Plus Profit (www.salesplusprofit.com). We may not look like Super Heroes to most, but we will professionally and efficiently implement sustainable sales systems, that can stand the test of time, regardless of changes in personnel.
What’s more, we’ll make sure we do keep the seat warm until you’ve worked out what skillsets you really need for the months and years to come.