Please let me share a part of my story with you. At the end of it, you will have the opportunity to leverage what I have learned and download an eBook or audiobook (for free).
I am grateful for many things in life, particularly for the help I get daily from Google Maps. You see, I lose my way almost every time I get in the car. I would literally be lost without Google to guide me through the weaving (and, to me, confusing!) roads of Metro-Atlanta. Roadmaps are useful in all aspects of life, but Google can’t always give us direction when we need it.
It was 1990 something, and I needed a roadmap, but I had no trusty Google-like guide to help me navigate a new challenge. I was lost. After 4 years as a sole contributor salesperson in a wholesale distributor, I became the most successful contributor – in sales revenues, profits, and commissions (yes, this was a 100% commissioned position) by a factor of double the next producer. Imagine- I was the #2 earner next to the CEO! I knew the way to succeed in my role better than any of my peers.
Then, suddenly, a bend in the road- I was challenged by replicating myself in a new position as VP of Sales. My task was to grow our sales team and revenues. I was excited, I knew what I needed to do, but I felt overwhelmed without a clear plan. I needed a multifaceted roadmap. At that moment, I knew that I had to expand my knowledge. I found a few books, and I developed tools for what I could not find at the time. Step by step, I started implementing a strategic plan, an employee acquisition plan, an operations plan, a tactical marketing/sales plan, a time management plan first for me and then my team, and an exit strategy so I could continue my career progression and bring my leaders up with me. I started by working a company strategic plan then focused on what that entailed for the sales team. Then I went on to creating an employee acquisition plan and operations plan.
By the end of the first month, I had enough of a roadmap to begin executing. I started hiring 3-5 people a month and progressively increased new hires until I got more proficient with the framework and execution. Were my hiring process and training program great the first few months? No. Did I make tweaks along the way? Duh, yes! Six months into the role, I added a team leadership program that put new sales reps on a team with one leader plus three to five experienced reps. Through my leadership team, I became aware that I was acting as a bottleneck to our growth. So, I created a sales operations team that allowed better, more frequent, and enhanced reporting of key performance indicators, order approval, sales training, sales meeting scheduling, and much more. It was fun to see my plan come into reality. More importantly, it was awesome that my plan became our plan. We soon outgrew our facility and expanded. Four years later, the sales team was 130 strong, and revenues doubled to $500M. This was one of the foundations to help us grow to $1B.
I was promoted to Executive Vice President, a role that taught me how to sell our company value to suppliers like Intel, Acer, HP, Maxtor, Epson, Motorola, LG, and many others to sign us as an authorized distributor. During that time, most manufacturers had five to eight wholesalers. By gaining these relationships, our sales team provided more opportunities to acquire customers and sell more to our repeat customers.
My next move was to create a Marketing Department to promote our company’s product and service offerings to the reseller channel. Then, I did something radical for the time: I created relationships with our competitors (competitors and cooperation, we coined it coopertition) to add other products that we could offer to our client base without making a big investment in inventory facilities. My peers and fellow Directors (Board) thought I was losing my mind, but I understood that we needed to have our customers shop with us for all of their needs, not our competitors. By doing this, we added sales and profits and did it with minimal investments in IT infrastructure and minimal business risks.
Three years later, I was promoted to President and then CEO. Was the journey easy? No way. Were things perfect? Not hardly. Did we get where we wanted to go? Oh yeah! Why? We had a roadmap, enough tools that worked well for us, and a company culture of “yes we can, and yes we will.”
After leaving the corporate environment in 2005, I continued to use different variations of those tools. I learned about building sales pipelines/sales funnels and transitioned from selling products to consulting and search services in the staffing and recruiting business. I continue to use these tools inside my coaching practice as well as with my business owner clients. What I have learned from my personal experience in a corporation, my clients in staffing and recruiting, and now as a business coach is that all businesses share about 80% of the same challenges. The other 20% is their industry or niche.
I am happy to share my knowledge with you and act as your very own “Google Maps” for your business! The tools I most recommend are what I like to call “The Six Silver Bullets that You Need to Grow Your Business”: Click on the button below to request your copy.
Dedicated to your success,