Each week, your assigned Virtual Sales Manager (VSM) has a one hour phone conversation with the assigned account representative. On that call, goals are discussed, next steps are outlined, and progress is monitored by virtue of # of sales visits made, content of discussion during the calls, new orders obtained, candidates submitted to orders, interviews conducted along with results, placements made, and gross margin growth. Gross margin goals, targets, and minimums are established and consequences set for failure to adhere to or reach the stated goals. A detailed weekly report for each individual managed is sent to the appropriate executive assigned. Weekly calls between the VSM and the executive.
Weekly calls provide a regular cadence of expectations and behaviors that may or may not currently be in place. The calls provide continuity of effort toward the stated goals and an opportunity to adjust and re-direct efforts when the pre-defined goal is no longer appropriate. It also gives the account representative a chance to review strategies and adjust as necessary.
Prior to the first call, the assigned VSM alongwith the assigned executive level POC will establish some benchmarks for each of the accounts including current weekly gross margin dollars generated; average GM% of all current deals in place; number of consultants on billing; number of weekly sales visits being conducted; and number of active clients. Periodically, those numbers will be reviewed and progress will be determined.
You should be able to see a pattern of consistent activities for each account representative that leads to improved results to your top and bottom lines. You will also see behavior change that reflects a more productive use of time, higher gross margins; better GP:Producer ratios; and the emergence of a results oriented sales culture.
This is the toughest question of all. Results require an ability by the individual account representative to be able to successfully conduct the strategies that are devised; have the desire and work ethic to put forth the effort necessary for success; and the ability to accept measures of accountability. Often times, the first several weeks (and even months) focus a disproportional level of focus on behavioral change to achieve the desired outcomes. Results can happen in relatively short order if the individual has the ability and desire to accept the change that leads to success. However, there are times where the insertion of accountability becomes too difficult for the individual to handle and the results come at a slower pace. We strongly recommend that the program be given a minimum of three months before any measureable results are evident with a realistic expectation of six months. Behavioral change can be a very challenging and slow process.
The weekly one-on-one calls are conducted by the designated VSM (Virtual Sales Manager) for your specific account. For quality assurance purposes, the Program Director will listen in periodically. Executive level POC’s are welcome to sit in as well.
VSM’s are sales managers with a history of successfully changing the existing culture of a group or organization from one of low productivity to one that focuses on growth and winning. These individuals have extensive expertise in working with sales people to draw out their strongest assets to bring about sales success. They are typically award winning, hands on, tested, and skilled sales managers.
The individuals are hand selected and managed by the Program Director who is also a highly recognized sales management professional with over 22 years in the IT staffing world along with 15 prior years of experience in the highly competitive pharmaceutical marketplace.
Your VSM will be assigned by the Program Director and the executive level POC will be provided with a biography of accomplishments for the individual. A teleconference will be conducted between the VSM, the Program Director, and executive level POC to discuss how the program will be executed prior to any discussions with individual sales people.
Yes – to achieve the highest level of success, consistency is important. Although all VSM’s will adhere to the same program, personalities will vary and it is our desire to keep all sales people under one individual. If this, for some unforeseen reason, is not possible, we will discuss the situation with the appointed executive level POC and provide all of the same information for the additional VSM as described in FAQ #7.
The program is one of “pay as you go”. You will be required to pay each month in advance and will be able to stop the program with a two week advance notice. For instance, if you pay for November and decide on November 15th that you wish to disengage for December, notify us on or before the 15th , and we will complete the calls and reports for November and end the program on the last day of November.
Essentially one month, as you must pay for each month in advance. It is our experience that behavioral change does not happen quickly and when requiring people to conduct themselves differently, change takes more than 30 days. Often times, if a program is viewed as the “program of the month”, sales people will abide by the required expectations and switch back to their more comfortable (and oft times less productive) ways once the program is discontinued. 90 – 180 days is when you should realistically begin to see measurably improved results.
This process does not get any easier with additional volume. VSM’s perform the exact same way for one as they do for a team. More importantly, once you get beyond 5 or 6 sales individuals, it may be time to bring a dedicated, full time resource into your organization.
Prior to beginning the weekly calls, the Program Director along with the assigned VSM will have a conference call with the executive level POC to set expectations, timelines, and consequences for not having met the desired results in the time specified. The consequences will vary based on the level of achievement expected, but will be laid out clearly for the individual sales representatives. It will be imperative to the success of the program that consequences be agreed to up front and upheld by executive level management.
Absolutely – as described above. Goals will be GM dollar driven and based on meeting specific metrics to reach the gross margin goals.
Discussions with the engaged sales individuals will always center around meeting the agreed to levels of achievement and proposing varied strategies to achieve the objective. However, should failure occur and it is determined that the individual is not capable of attaining the levels sought or is unwilling to do what is necessary, the VSM will alert the executive level POC and determine next steps. Those steps, if disciplinary in nature, must be carried forth by the executive level POC. In no instance should a designated VSM put forth disciplinary actions.
A weekly report for each individual managed will be filed by the VSM and submitted to the executive level POC. This report will be narrative in format and outline the highlights of accomplishments for the week along with plans to achieve the targets set. Included in this report will be any failed attempts based on strategies employed or failures as a result of limited effort.
The executive level POC is welcome on any and all calls if they so desire. We will ask that the executive level POC notify both the VSM and individual sales individual when they wish to join a call.
The VSM will meet with the sales individual for one hour per week, four times per month (12 hours per quarter) and have a reasonable level of access beyond the 12 hours. The executive level POC will also have access to the VSM on a scheduled basis and as needed within reason. As the VSM’s will be engaged with other sales people and clients during the course of the week, they may not be immediately available to field questions in real time but will try to respond within a 24 hour period.
“Beyond reason” is a bit more subjective and therefore more difficult to define. As the VSM is being compensated on a time basis, excessive requests for discussion may warrant a conference call with the Program Director, VSM, and Executive Level POC to work out a suitable and more defined schedule of monthly time beyond the 4 hours.
Typically, sales people will need quick guidance during the week that cannot (and should not) wait for the designated weekly call. Quick guidance can be sought through e-mail, text, or direct phone contact. However, as stated above, if the level of contact is deemed to be consistently excessive by the VSM, a meeting will be conducted between the three parties (executive level POC, Program Director, and VSM) to set more specific guidelines in terms of allotted time.
This program should go as long as the executive level POC sees a value in continuing. The goal is to get and keep sales individuals producing at a level that is above where they have performed in the past. Until a full-time, dedicated individual can be hired to replace the VSM it is recommended that the program continue. The key to keeping people successful is giving them clear direction, examining their level of success on a frequent basis, adjusting behavior and strategy when it goes astray or is no longer valid, and holding them accountable to agreed upon actions and results.
If you break it down by cost, a full time, seasoned sales manager, tasked with managing 3-6 people would cost approximately $200K-$250K annually (benefits included) or $16,650 – $20,850 per month.
Managing as many as 6 sales people, our highly seasoned VSM’s will cost $9,000 per month (roughly half the cost). More importantly, should each of the individuals managed produce an additional $1,500 per month of Gross Profit, the program covers itself. ($1,500 of GP is roughly the equivalent of adding 1 consultant with a gross margin spread of only $10 per hour).
Our VSM’s are extremely sensitive to matters of confidentiality. It would not behoove them to share confidential information amongst and about their respective clients. Nor would it be in their best interest to direct a sales representative to a client (or area within a client) where the knowledge was obtained through information shared via this program.
Where possible, we will utilize separate VSM’s to insure against this practice but have full confidence that information will not be shared across Program clients about information.
Unfortunately, we cannot provide any guarantees. Since we do not control who has been hired it is not reasonable to give assurances that people will (or are able) to perform to the levels we establish. We will work diligently to improve the performance of every sales representative (seasoned or new) that we are asked to manage under this program.
New hire training is available beyond what is described in the previously mentioned protocol of weekly discussions and goals, however, it is at an additional cost for the full “immersion” training.
Yes. Should you require the services of your VSM in person for sales calls and/or to conduct sales meetings, they are available at an additional cost (on a daily rate plus travel related expenses) that can be discussed when appropriate.
“Can They Sell” is the profile test that we utilize when selecting field sales or recruiting personnel. We will instruct candidates as to how to access the test and go through the results with you and the candidate. The cost of the test is $95 (that is our cost with no additional surcharges). If you would like for us to review the results, it will be done via the phone at an hourly rate of $300.00/hr.
That will depend upon the individual VSM. The cost of the program is based on 12 weeks per quarter. If the VSM chooses to conduct calls on the 13th week of a given quarter, it is up to his or her discretion and is done so at no additional cost to you.