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Is a dedicated saleman required?

Husker267Husker267 subscriber Posts: 1
edited February 2007 in Sales
I`m one of three partners in a 6 month old IT consulting business. We are stable and doing well. Nearly 90 days ago, one of the partners recommended that we hire a salesman to grow the business with a 90 day review - we agreed since he had owned his own company previously and we rely on his experience. While the saleman has brought on some new clients, he is coming no where near to his quotas (based on labor and hardware sales) and we have in fact lost money since he has a built in base for the first 90 days.
My partner is of the mind set that a dedicated salesman is required for any business to do cold calling etc. While I believe we can grow the business through an existing client referal/reward program. The third partner is in the middle, but is very logical in how he approaches issues. Regardless, if the other two partners insist on keeping the salesman on board, I`m going to require that he goes 100% comission with no base, so at least the company does not continue to lose money on him.
I have been able to bring several new clients on myself strictly through referals, with no reward structure in place. And this approach is how I`d like to continue sans salesman. But I`d like to get the communities thoughts on this as well. Thank you in advance


  • SolidGrndSolidGrnd subscriber Posts: 11
    Hey Andy,
    I think you have the right idea. I come from a sales background myself...and although I believe that having a dedicated sales person is convenient and helpful for many reasons...I don`t believe it is NECESSARY.
    I think the idea of selling STRICTLY through referals is also a bit off as well though. If you aren`t going to have a dedicated sales person, you need to have someone in the company making the rounds...you can`t constantly or consistantly rely on your customers to provide the sales for you. In smaller firms that I have worked with in the past, the heads of the company set aside a few days a month each where they would dedicate time to sales efforts, cold calling, etc. as well as providing an incentive program for referals.This allowed them to keep their need for a dedicated sales rep low...their customers were working for them...and they were promoting themselves. If their customers didn`t talk as much on month...there was still SOMEONE talking! On other occasions they might contract a sales/marketing rep in for a month or two to increase their presence without forking over the income month after month over a long period of time...and instead got the sales help they needed...when they needed it...and when they could afford it!
    Best of luck...hope you find the answer you are looking for!
  • Husker267Husker267 subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the feedback! I do need to elaborate on several items. My company is what is primarily known as a break-fix IT firm. Basically, we support small to medium businesses that do not have the need or means to employ a technical person full or even part time.
    The bulk of our work is reactionary, not proactive (though we try). So, our clients call us for help on a continuous basis depending on their systems and issues. It`s due to this that we constantly have work/billable hours and why I feel that the company is stable and steady. When our clients get the quality and timely service they have come to expect, they have no reason to look elsewhere. There is the occasion that to save a couple bucks, an owner will bring in his son or his kids friend that "are really gifted with computer"   And typically, they call us back in to get everything working again as the kid lacks the knowledge and professionalism that comes with experience. The sole purpose of this salesman was to bring us new clients and new hardware sales.
    I do like the idea of assigning the partners to dedicate some time to do sales or bringing in a temp salesman to get us over a hump. It gives us as owners an opportunity to expand our people skills and get outside our confort zone. If anybody else has any input, please reply.
  • SolidGrndSolidGrnd subscriber Posts: 11
    Ahh...I love your type of IT guys! Companies like yours have saved my butt a few times. Thanks for the clarification.
    I would definitely encourage you to look into contractors who you can hire on when needed. There are MANY marketing/sales contractors out there who rely on doing basically the same thing you do...jumping in when needed to fix a problem. If work is steady and stable as you say...then you should really only need the occasional BOOST to keep the momentum going forward. Not only that but it sounds like you guys keep yourself pretty busy...so finding a good time to allot to sales initiatives might be more difficult if you are out helping customers most of the time!
    Best of luck to you! I look forward to hearing what your company comes up with.
  • BusinessServicesBusinessServices subscriber Posts: 0
    You should hire more sales people, all with commission only based pay.
    You will hire 100 sales people and only 10 will stay but those 10 will be the best sales people who are able to earn a living selling for you.
    Now you will have a bigger stronger sales force bringing income while keeping your overhead costs down.
    Congratulations on your business. Hope this helps.
  • armymom2025armymom2025 subscriber Posts: 0
     A good sales person that is dedicated is a asset to your company. The person must be determined and persistent.
    Good Luck to you!
  • bmwsmitybmwsmity subscriber Posts: 1
    Do the other partners have a sales background?If you are wanting to grow quickly, I feel a sales person is necessary for you.  However, I feel that salesperson should be strictly commission.  In my opinion, base pays for salespeople is for large corporations that can burn money at will.If you are okay with slower growth, however, and one of the partners has sales experience, I don`t see how a salesperson is necessary for now.It`s often tempting to hire a salesperson, simply because you don`t have to do it yourself then.  You have to ask yourself, what is your ROI with that salesperson?  And what is the opportunity cost of you personally spending time on sales?  Would your service suffer because you have to dedicate time to sales instead?Just a few thoughts.  Hope they help!
  • MerchantServicesMerchantServices subscriber Posts: 4
    For appointment setting I recommend Txacom Services,, low prices and great service.
    For commissioned based sales people place ads in your local newspaper, Monster.com, and nickel ads, etc...
  • SullySully subscriber Posts: 7
    Husker,      how is it going with sales.  I had a HW and SW firm that I sold.  If you want, i could give you some quick ways to build out a client base.Cheers,
  • Husker267Husker267 subscriber Posts: 1
    Sully - I had completely forgotten about this thread, until I received a notification. Thanks!
    As for an update, we canned the sales guy after spending too much to keep him around for too long. We had set his quota at 30k/month, which included sales and new client labor. Over the six months, he never met this goal once. Through continuing efforts of all three partners, at least a couple of his leads turned into clients. But overall, the company is doing great. We could always use more clients. However, my personal biggest fear is having to hire additional people. We are getting very close to having to do just that due to a growing workload. Right now it`s really simple for us, as it`s just the partners.
  • SullySully subscriber Posts: 7
    If you still need some help, let me know but It`s all in the details.. How long is "too long" and how much is"too much"?  30k a month is somewhat large depending on your offerings and territory.  It sounded like you are mostly in the break/fix mode(which is a good area, but usually low billing).  The next phrase might be to get into fresh install/upgrade. maybe helping clients with loans for new equipment(which you do the install/support work). Maybe tie into a reseller setup. That pipelines some projects usually.Also you can start to implement multi channel soft-sales approaches. As for employees, take the dive with some hourly/w2 staff. If you have the volume these arrangements act as a try/buy for staff. Let me know if you want more info. Keep up the good work..
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