Its All The Buzz – Become a MSSP!

If you’re an MSP who’s looking to expand business, consider becoming an MSSP. This change can make you more valuable to your customers, increasing business and profit.

Today’s small business owners are overwhelmed by the amount of cybersecurity they need to keep their data and their customers safe. As a result, they are investing in additional security to protect from various cyberattacks. And the industry is seeing the changes. In a 2016 Managed Security Service Market report, it was revealed that the managed security service market size is estimated to grow from about $17 billion in 2016 to nearly $34 billion by 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6 percent during the forecast period.

Managed security not only helps companies decrease the risk of cyberattack, is also helps those in other industries, such as healthcare, financial services, or retail stay up-to-date with industry regulations. Small and medium-sized It organizations are turning to MSSPs to lower their investments in security management and monitoring equipment.

Expanding your offerings as an MSP to MSSP can help you provide more services to your existing clients, and reach new clients who may not have been interested before.

Business owners are becoming increasingly concerned with their cybersecurity, so now is the time to become and MSSP.

  1. Your clients are struggling to hire IT security talent

The IT industry is suffering for great talent. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Intel Security polled a group of IT decision makers who are involved in cybersecurity within their organizations. The results found that 82% reported a shortage of IT security skills at their company. Important missing skills included: intrusion detection, secure software development, and attack mitigation. And unfortunately for business owners, this shortage is driving salaries for the few qualified candidates, making it even more difficult for small-medium organizations.

As an MSSP, you can fill in the gap. One qualified IT security candidate can provide services to many clients, but still receive a competitive salary. Plus, as and MSSP, you can build a roster of specialized security experts who can help you expand your company’s offerings.

  1. Your clients are ready for the as-a-service sales model

Today, most businesses are subscribed to many software’s and IT services that require monthly or yearly payments. Necessities like Microsoft 365 and Salesforce have made small to midsize businesses understand that this model gives them access to enterprise business features while staying within their budgets. Your clients may already be wishing they could add a monthly payment to improve their cybersecurity, and are ready to work with you.

They know they need protection year-round, so they may welcome the idea of an investment that offers protection against the latest attacks for a monthly fee.

  1. Your clients need help with cybercrime

New attacks are popping up constantly, and small businesses don’t have the means to keep up.  Between ransomware, malware, and emerging IoT security concerns, it’s a long list of issues they aren’t equipped to handle.

By stepping in as an MSSP, you can provide that needed education and give your clients peace of mind that they’re protected. MSSPs know first-hand what products work and work best together; the most efficient ways to manage multiple solutions to defend against existing and emerging threats; and become the go-to resource when new threats do rise up. By working closely with your clients, you can be their lifeline to internet security.

Making this move will help you be a more valuable player in your industry, and provide services to clients who otherwise might look elsewhere. No business owner wants to put their data at risk, so help ease their fears by making the switch to an MSSP.

Need help marketing your MSP, give us a call at 855.202.2550 and we can assist. 

 

 

6 Steps to Setting Smarter Sales Goals

If a few of your employees aren’t hitting their sales goals, it’s likely that their techniques are the problem. But if most of your salespeople aren’t hitting their goals – it’s the system that needs improving. It’s not enough to just hope to “do better.” Goal setting needs to be well-thought-out, specific, and tangible so the whole team can work towards them together.

A Harvard University study found that setting specific goals increases motivation, and students who stuck to a goal-oriented plan performed 30% better than those who didn’t.

It’s time to put more time and effort into your goal-setting so you can get your team on track. Here are six steps to set smarter sales goals:

  1. Start with Numbers

Tangible, number-based goals are easier to understand and reach. Start with your company’s annual revenue target ,then work backwards to determine the monthly sales goals. Once you have that number, calculate how much your department, teams, and individual reps need to sell to meet that goal.

  1. Break Them Into Activities

Knowing they need to make $X more in a week can be helpful, but doesn’t necessarily tell your team how to achieve it. Convert a financial target into a series of activities.

First, look at the rep’s performance in the past to figure out how many emails, calls, and meetings they need to hit the target. If they need to increase their deals by 20%, determine how much their demos need to increase, as well as their calls. Now, a large revenue-based goal is turned into smaller, more manageable goals. Plus, your reps can easily know whether they accomplished these smaller goals or not.

  1. Focus on What Your Team Can Control

No matter what you do, you can’t control how much people will buy. Phrase your goals so they are things your reps can control, actions that encourage buying behavior. Prioritize tasks such as how many calls they make or how many demos they schedule. Your reps will feel empowered that they can achieve their goals no matter which difficult potential clients they might be working with.

  1. Set Gradual Goals

If you want your reps to start sending 100 emails a week instead of the current 50, don’t have them leap immediately to that number. Instead, raise it by ten or week. Gradual goals are better for morale, because they make the goals more easily attainable. Your team will be more nervous and less motivation if they keep missing goals. By moving slower, your team will produce higher quality work and won’t get burned out.

  1. Prioritize

When all the goals are of equal priority, your team might not be focusing on the right things, or may get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. Determine which goals have the highest value, and make sure your sales team is meeting those first. By prioritizing the goals, your team can focus on meeting the ones that are the most important, either for the company’s revenue, or their professional growth.

  1. Revise and Repeat

Always keep the door of communication open between you and your team. If the goals aren’t working for them, you might need to try something else. The same goals might not work for every rep, so be prepared to be flexible. At the end of the day, it’s in your interest to ensure every salesperson is motivated appropriately. Some reps might be motivated by hitting revenue targets, others might be more interested in hitting professional growth checkpoints. AT some point, you might realize that no matter how many people a salesperson is calling, no one is moving forward in the sales funnel. At that point, you can know who you need to have a conversation with. When you have clear goals, you can more easily track the progress of your reps, and they can know where they stand as well. Everyone will be happier when goals are more transparent, and catered to them.

Using Video in your Website and Social Media

Video is one of the most underutilized types of content you can use on social media. But it is highly effective. It’s been found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text. The increase in click-through rate with video is as high as 96%, and videos are shared 1200% more times than links and text combined.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all have updated their sites to make it easier and more beneficial for users o share video posts. Using video on social media allows you to engage with your audience on a much deeper level. With video, you can show you care and create a strong connection with clients. It helps your audience see you as a person, not just a business.

You can also upload video to YouTube, and then repost on the different social media platforms. If you’re making a video blog series or creating something with a higher production value, YouTube (or Vimeo!) is the way to go.

There are two ways you can add videos to social media:

  • Record: You can record, edit and share videos from within the app
  • Upload: Upload a video from your device to post to the platform. It could be a quick video you took on your phone, or something that’s been edited.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, here are four great social media video techniques:

  1. Share Live Events

“Going Live” is a great way to showcase your business as you attend a conference, community event, or just a special day at the office. Just start creating a post in Facebook and click “Live Video.” Your audience can be there with you in real time, even if they couldn’t attend your event in person. It lets you field questions and provide a unique, interactive experience with your followers. Capture the best moments and post them on social media as they happen. You can even just do a live Q&A session to give insight into your business.

  1. Respond to Questions with Video

This works best for Twitter, but can be utilized in Instagram stories as well! Instead of sending a regular text reply, try using video. Answer a question, thank someone for following you, or give a shout out via video. This is a great way to introduce the people behind your brand and connect with your audience on a personal level. Just a quick “Thank you for the follow, have a great day,” can show you’re willing to take the extra step. It’s far more engaging than a simple tweet, and just as easy. Send a message requesting questions about your product or a service you offer, and then do a video post that answers those questions!

  1. Educate with Vlogs

Turn your blogs into vlogs! Video blogs are a great way to educate your audience on the benefits of your service, information about the industry, and more. You could do a video showing the benefits of a service, interviewing an employee, or even follow one of your employees on the field to show what a typical day is like. These can be as casual or as professional as you wish. Vlogs can actually be less time consuming than written blogs, and let you show your personality as your provide information.

  1. Ask for User-Generated Content

Try running a contest and ask your clients to give video testimonials. This gives you more content to post to your own site, and gives you an opportunity to interact with clients in a new way. Video from real customers can be huge for attracting new business.

Take the leap and start adding video to your social media profiles – it might be just what you need to grow your audience.

5 Techniques to Motivate your Sales Team

Improving your team’s skills is a tangible process that can be done with coaching, presentations, and time. But keeping your team motivated to do well is more of a challenge. Adjusting your motivational tactics for each employee requires getting to know them on a personal level, and checking in to make sure nothing gets missed. Try the following strategies to get your sales team on track and selling at record rates.

  1. Get to Know Them on Personal Basis

Your team members will not want to you for help or motivation if they don’t trust you. If you lose their trust, they won’t be motivated to do well. And it will be difficult to speak to them about their goals if they don’t trust you. It’s a vicious cycle.

Engage your employees on a personal level, and focus on being nurturing. Get to know their work style and their preferred method and frequency of communication. Ask them about their personal and professional goals, and discuss how you can work toward those together. When you know what matters to them, you’ll know how to motivate them most effectively.

  1. Set Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals
  • Different sales people are driven by different things. That’s why creating a range of goals can help to find one that connects with each sales person. Each of these goals should come with a specific reward, whether it be monetary, experiential, or personal.
  • Daily goals: These help get a salesperson back on track. The reward for this goal should be small and fun, as it didn’t require much work to attain.
  • Weekly goals: This is a more tangible goal with defined business impact. Track improvement, and work with your sales team to create daily goals that will help them reach this larger milestone.
  • Monthly goals: These are the largest goals, and are accompanied by a larger reward. Something experiential or an item that will allow the salesperson to remember what they achieved every time they see it is a good idea.
  1. Communication and Recognition

Your whole team should be aware of each other’s goals and accomplishments. They can see who is doing well, how they can step up their game, and even ask each other for assistance. It can create some friendly competition as everyone works toward one exciting incentive, like a weekend trip.

You should also personally communicate with each salesperson so they understand how their work is valued. Give their efforts meaning. Salespeople who love their jobs often tend to be great at their jobs.

  1. Motivate the Unmotivated

Recognize when there are issues, and figure out how you can solve them. First, figure out if everyone seems unmotivated, or just a few players. That can help you figure out how to target the issue, and stop it.

If it’s just one specific salesperson, have an honest conversation with them. Make specific observations of what you’ve noticed, and open the floor to your salesperson to discuss their problems or concerns. Work to understand where they are coming from, reach an agreement on the nature of the problem that exists and what has caused it, and find methods to address it. If you’ve earned their trust and set a baseline for open communication, this shouldn’t be difficult.

If the whole team is having issues, you need to look at your overall incentive and goal strategy. Evaluate if you are doing your best to motivate your team on a personal level.

  1. Let People Pick Their Own Rewards

If your team seems like it needs extra motivation, ask them what they need to get to the next level. Ask what they think the objective should be, when they think they can reach it, and what they want the prize to be (within a budget). After all, they know what they want better than you do.

And make sure the rewards you give are valuable and exciting! They can be personal, like cooking the salesperson dinner or babysitting. Or, they could be a team-wide outing like bowling or a barbecue. And if you want to put yourself out there, you can offer to do a dance, wear a funny outfit, or d something else playful and memorable.

Your team should be just that – a team. Get to know them and their goals, and you’ll be able to find motivations that speak to your salespeople on a personal level.

Overcome your fear of Speaking!

It happens. You step up to the podium or in front of your office and suddenly, your palms are sweaty, your heart rate increases, and you might even forget your speech. Even experienced public speakers can get nervous or afraid before a big presentation. Luckily, public speaking is a skill that can be mastered by anyone – it just takes practice!

Before you beat yourself up about your fear of public speaking, you should know it’s in our DNA. When our ancestors faced a risk, it was often life-threatening and required a shot of adrenaline to survive. Unfortunately, today that “fight or flight” response still manifests itself in risky (but not deadly) situations like giving a speech. The adrenaline creates those physical symptoms that exaggerate everything you are experiencing, like sweaty palms.

These five tips will help you overcome your fear of public speaking to feel confident during your next presentation.

  1. Speak from the heart

If you can, choose a topic for your presentation that you are passionate about. Even if it is a dry subject, include personal antidotes that will help you and the audience connect with what you are saying. If you don’t write a presentation that is easy to understand and relate to, your audience won’t listen, and at that point you might as well just send an email. Your enthusiasm is your best sales tool, and the more you care about it, the more your audience will as well.

  1. Practice for performance

Going over your notes in your car before you walk into a speaking engagement is not going to set you up for success. When you practice your speech, practice it the way you will perform it. Put on your planned outfit, set up your Power Point, and practice for a coworker or family member if possible. Practicing standing and saying your speech loudly and clearly, using whichever notes you plan on using, and even borrowing a conference room to practice is key. Simulating the performance space acclimates you to the demands of your speech. It will help you calm your nerves on the day of, because you’ll feel like you’ve already done it!

  1. Plan Ahead

If you get anxious about things going wrong during your presentation, make a game plan. Figure out what you‘ll do if your presentation gets turned off, you can’t find your note cards, you trip and fall, you need to take a sip of water, and other potential mishaps. When you have a plan of action, if it does end up happening during your speech, you’ll know what to do. In the end, your goal should always be to avoid drawing attention to what went wrong. Simply keep smiling and forge ahead!

  1. Distract yourself

Right before your speech, you might feel nerves starting to kick in. Try a technique of distracting yourself to burn off the extra energy. You could try:

  • Taking a walk/job through the building or parking lot.
  • Using tongue twisters.
  • Doing a vocal warm-up.
  • Speaking with your coworkers or whoever is in the room to get your mind off the speech.
  1. Breathe!

Being aware of your breath gives you control of your nerves. Do some deep breathing before and during your presentation calms your nerves, plus it adds power and strength to your voice. Right before you begin, stand with your legs apart and do five deep breaths in and out. Stretching side to side to loosen your ribs will also help you breathe better. When you warm your body up properly, it will be easier to breathe even as you get nervous.

The best way to overcome your fear is to face it, so offer to speak at the next company meeting and give these tips a try.

8 Things To Do Everyday to Become a Great Sales Manager

Being a successful sales manager takes more than showing up and occasionally giving your salespeople a pat on the back. As the leader of the sales team, you must work hard to keep the team motivated and moving forward. Great sales managers achieve their potential by doing the right things day in and day out.

Integrate these tasks into your daily schedule to improve your relationships with your sales reps, your customers, and help your company achieve their goals. These are the 8 things you should do everyday to become a great sales manager.

Set measurable goals

Goals are impossible to reach if they aren’t specific and measurable. A series of smaller goals is much easier to understand and commit to, as opposed to one larger quarter goal. Instead of saying “increase sales,” say “increase sales by 10%” or something similar.

Every morning, you should review these goals to review progress, and see what is helping you achieve those goals, and what isn’t.

Observe the team

You can’t know how your team is doing if you don’t watch them in action! Wander around your sales floor and simply listen – you’ll be able to learn more than you think. While you’re there, be available to your sales reps to ask for your input or bounce around ideas. Especially if you work remotely or in a different office, make some face time so you’re available for your reps.

Stay involved with customers

It’s important for customers to have personal interaction with you as well as the sales reps. Take the time to jump on a call, or check in with you reps to see how a client is going. It’s especially important to touch base with high-profile clients, so they can be reminded customers of the value you provide and the fact that you care.

Jump in when needed

Your sales reps need you, as the manager and experienced salesperson, to help them when problems arise. You are a teammate to your reps, so you need to know when its time to roll your sleeves up and get in on the action. Look for early-stage opportunities where you could possibly leverage past experience, a network connection or some other way of helping your rep close the deal.

Meet with the marketing team

The sales team can’t operate in a bubble. You need to meet with your marketing counterpart for a daily check-in. Talk about what kind of campaigns marketing is running this week and ensure that the handoff process of leads to sales is still running smoothly. Make sure your sales strategy is driving success for the company as a whole.

Then, bring the updates you discover to your team so everyone is kept in the loop.

Learn something new

Whether it’s reading a sales blog to discover a new trend, or picking up a book about sales techniques, every day you should be expanding your skills. You never know what you might find that could inspire you and provide you with tips to pass on to your team.

Communicate Effectively

Make sure your team knows what they’re working toward and what the progress is. When expectations are clear, everyone can work more efficiently. This also means providing coaching and fulfilling your role as a mentor, continually inspiring them to perform better.

Take time for yourself

No one can work 24/7. It just results in burn-out and lowered productivity. Take time to relax and recharge will not only help you, but your team as well. Your sales reps will follow in your example, so know when you need to take breaks, or leave work early for family obligations occasionally.

Want to chat on any of these or just get a quick checkup by giving me a call at 843.712.7130

The Handoff from Sales to Operations

The Handoff from Salees to OperationsIn a relay race, the baton handoff is crucial for a win. The same is true in business. The handoff from your sales representative to your operations team is key for your success. If the transition does not go as planned, you can quickly lose clients, wasting time and putting your bottom line at risk. They may see your company as disorganized or unprofessional, or perhaps won’t feel like they’re truly being listened to. This is not the way you want to start with a new client.

According to Bain & Company it costs 6 -7 times as much to acquire a new client as to retain one. This should be huge incentive to keep your clients on your roster, as opposed to focusing on only bringing in new names. Making a few tweaks to the client process can give you a big jump in retention. And improving your retention by just 5% can increase revenue by 25% to 95%.

Here are our best tips for creating a successful handoff from sales to operations:

  1. Educate the sales team

Make sure the sales team is educated on all the latest packages, services, and costs for your business. If they’re giving clients wrong information, it will cause problems right out of the gate. Have a meeting, send an updated document, or even give an online quiz to make sure each member of your sales team is well informed.

  1. Detailed notes

The sales team should take detailed notes during each interaction with their leads, and store them in a common place, such as your CRM. As soon as the lead is ready to sign, the sales team should share these notes with the operations team so that every employee can be an expert and fully understand the clients’ goals.

  1. Designate a Go-To Point Person

If the client is confused about who they should be speaking to, they might just pull their deal. Assign a go-to point person to lead the account, and have them lead the kickoff call. The salesperson should also know who the account lead will be, so they can personally brief them.

  1. Create a Checklist

Go over a checklist with the sales team, so they know what information they need to pass on to operations. The items should be personalized to your business, but these should be provided at minimum:

  • Client’s basic information.
  • Who else was involved with the deal.
  • What problem the client looking to solve.
  • Which competitors the clients considered..
  • What promises were made to the client.
  • What is their timeline for services.
  • What relevant systems they use.
  • Any potential concerns with the account.
  1. Design Appropriate Compensation

If you have a big problem with client retention, it might be that your sales team isn’t bringing in the right qualified clients. Your sales team might be over-promising or not properly communicating to the operations team because “the job is done” To solve this, revise your compensation plan to require salespeople to repay commissions earned from clients that cancel their services after a certain amount of time. These “claw-backs” make the salespeople incentivized to sell good, honest deals. They will be more motivated to conduct an excellent handoff to the account manager so they can protect their investment.

  1. Improve communication

If your sales team and your operations team don’t communicate to begin with, you’ll never be able to improve the transition. If they sit in different areas of the office, try bringing them together for a lunch. Organize social events or other post-work extracurricular to help them develop a rapport. When they have more familiarity with each other, it will be easier to discuss clients more efficiently.

Follow these tips to improve your client handoff from sales to operations. Not only will this increase your client retention, it will also improve your revenue.

Give us your thoughts and post a comment below.

Using email newsletters to stay in contact with leads

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your customers with a 3,800 percent ROI and $38 made for every $1 spent, according to Constant Contact. It’s easy for messages to get missed on social media or traditional marketing, but in email, it’s always sitting in someone’s inbox, waiting to be read. So before you start complaining about your lack of customers from social media, maybe it’s time to put more effort into an email newsletter campaign.

Creating a powerful newsletter that drives clicks and website visits can increase your sales and grow a customer base that’s looking forward to your news and content. Staying in contact with leads via email marketing is the best way to eventually convert them into customers.

With email, you can personalize your message to each individual contact. You can trigger specific emails based on specific information allowing you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. With email marketing campaigns, you can break down your lists by demographics and previously recorded behavioral data. Some emails may promote sales, others with educational content, or reminders of what the customer looked at on your website. Depending on whether someone signed up for your email newsletter, requested a quote, or downloaded an ebook, you can personalize your emails to them.

Here’s what to do once you have their information.

If a customer visited your website but doesn’t make an inquiry, here’s what to do:

First, capture information from a program called connectmyPSA MyVisitor, which tracks the information of your website visitors. Those suspects are prime recipients of automated emails that deliver specific messages to convince them they need your service. Armed with those leads, set up an automated email workflow. This automatically sends emails to people at different levels of the sales funnel.

Automated email workflow consists of a pre-determined set of emails that are sent out at specific intervals. It allows you to stay in contact with leads without needing to spend hours on the phone. These reminders of your business will keep you top-of-mind when they do decide to purchase a service. A schedule of emails sent every few days could look like this:

  1. A thank you for them requesting the info/quote/etcetera.
  2.  Providing more information about your business
  3. Educate leads on why the problem they came to you about in the first place is worth solving.
  4.  Explain why your business is the best at solving the above problem
  5. Offering a discount or other freebie, such as a white paper.

Your emails should be a mix of promotion and educational content. If all your emails do is bug your leads to purchase service from you, they’ll likely unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. If after the fifth email they have not made a purchase, add them to your email newsletter (described below).

If you have an existing customer on your email list:

Email can (and should) be used to stay in contact with them to continue to do business with them in the future via an email newsletter. This newsletter could include:

  •  Company updates
  •  Industry news
  • Your recent blogs
  •  Case studies

Staying in contact with these customers lets you keep the relationship, and adds personality to your business. Providing valuable content that people want to read will make them excited to open your emails, and continue to do business with you. They’ll continue to trust you, and have confidence in your position as an industry expert.

If they purchase a one-time package, check in down the line (after an appropriate amount of time) to see if they need your service again.

Email allows you to build trust, which is a key ingredient to establishing long lasting customer relationships. Every message you send is a chance to build on that trust, and prove to that customer that you are worth their business. The quality of the content, language, design, and how you handle feedback or questions from customers will result in a positive or negative conclusion in their minds. Use email to build a relationship with leads that will eventually turn them into customers!

Intro to Inbound Marketing

It’s time to get proactive with your marketing strategy and bring more customers to your site. The first place people look for an IT company is likely online. Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that increases your search engine rankings and brings the right people toward your business.

The first step to inbound marketing is bringing the right traffic to your site. You want the people who are most likely to become leads and ultimately, reliable customers, to be visiting your site. In order to attract these ideal customers, you need to zero in on who exactly these people are, so you can create content that appeals to them. You can achieve this by analyzing what the buyer persona is of your ideal customer. Personas include the goals, challenges, common objections to products, and personal and demographic information shared among all members of that customer type.

Armed with this information, you can implement these tools to attract them to your site:

Website Pages

Your website is the first impression a new visitor gets of your company, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Look at your site as an outsider – is it easy to navigate and appealing to your ideal buyers? A few tweaks to your website is all it could take for a customer to make a purchase – or you risk them running to your competition. Start with a clean theme and the most important content that will answer any questions a customer might have about your business. Little things like font, color choices, images, and load times can make all the difference.

Search Engine Optimization

Once your site is looking great, the content needs to be optimized for search engines. In order to appear higher in search results, your site needs to include the right keywords that real people are searching. Perform keyword research by looking at your competitors, and using tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Moz to create your list. Once you’ve got 5-10 keywords, sprinkle them throughout your site, create content that covers those topics, and build links around the terms. Stay up-to-date on keyword trends to make sure you optimize to your changing industry.

 Blogging

 Blogging is the base of all inbound marketing.  If you create valuable content that speaks to the right prospective customers, they will find you. Use the keywords you found to write blogs that target those specific topics. If your blog offers great content, customers will keep coming back to it, and will eventually make a purchase. Blogging gives you a chance to prove that you’re an expert in your industry – and also that you have a personality! Show your customers who you really are by highlighting company achievements, while sharing industry news. These blogs can also be used in email newsletters, and shared on social media.

Social Media

The best way to get your amazing content out there is to share it! Sharing your content on social media gives a human face to your brand, and allows you to engage with potential customers. In addition to posting your blogs or links to your site, sharing industry news, interesting images or videos that showcase your company, or just a funny gif can increase engagement and make customers excited to follow your page. You can interact in real-time to answer questions, promote sales, and keep an eye on what people are saying about your company. Silence is deadly on social media, so take advantage of the opportunity to connect.

Inbound marketing is the future of business development. By creating a solid digital marketing strategy to integrate all these elements, and consistently post or update them, you’ll build a great online presence that will lure customers to your site.

There are a number of things to consider when reviewing a sales resume

Resumes are marketing documents. Some entrepreneurs assume that resumes contain the gospel truth when it comes to a candidate’s background and experience. The truth of the matter is that resumes are engineered to highlight (even embellish) strengths and accomplishments while omitting clear and obvious failures. Think about it – have you ever seen a resume that read, “Hit 56% of target sales target due to my inability to set appointments and unwillingness to consistently make cold calls”?

Treat resumes like you would any other piece of marketing collateral. They serve to tell you the features and benefits, but come up short on the deficiencies. That’s where a keen eye and experience come into play.

It takes a salesperson 6 months to become productive. With rare exceptions, I advise customers to expect a six-month ramp-up period when hiring new sales staff. The first 90 days are a write-off from a production standpoint, and the next three should yield slow but steadily increasing progress. By month 6, they should be in full-on selling mode. Within the year they should be consistent. This timeline affects the lens through which a manager should look at a sales resume.

For example, if a salesperson has been at their current employer for less than 6 months and is looking for work, that’s a major red flag. What that tells me is that either this person is failing miserably and knows it; or they made a huge mistake in accepting the position and they want out. People make mistakes, and I’ve seen a number of cases where great candidates have taken a job only to realize that their new employer is headquartered in the Arctic Circle.  Most of the time I find that the reason they’re leaving is because the feel like they’ll fail in the job, and are cutting their losses early.

No matter the reason, what a duration of less than 6 months on a resume tells me is that the salesperson didn’t do enough fact-finding during the interview process to make a good decision, or that they’re not cutting it and are afraid for their job (or were fired). Both insights tell me that they’re not at the top of the game, and that I should keep looking. I have made some exceptions to this rule, but only after really digging into the facts.

Are you so desperate to throw your company’s money at a salesperson that you’d hire someone whose resume creates doubt before they’re even in the job? Someone better is out there, with less baggage – Take your time to make the right hire.

Great salespeople don’t leave jobs where they’re making money. It’s human nature. If you’re earning a cool $250,000 a year selling cloud solutions and crushing your quotas in the process, chances are that you’re a hero at your company. Praise flows freely, and you get sent on trips where you sit on a beach with your family and drink rum cocktails. You’re probably happy. Well maybe a slight exaggeration, but you get the point!

What you emphatically don’t do is actively look for another job. I can’t stress this point enough – great salespeople don’t leave great jobs. Great salespeople leave that great job when the company decides to cap their earnings, or because they get acquired and the new regime wrecks what was working. They don’t want to start over working for you and your giant question mark without a major upgrade to compensation potential.

Here’s what it all means for you as the hiring manager with regards to the resume review: If a salesperson is looking for a job that should immediately makes you wary. If this person has stints of less than 6 months on their resume, that’s a warning that there’s something more to the story. Why? Because it takes at least 6 months for even a great salesperson to get to a consistent, quota-reaching level of production. Make sure you know why they’re looking for a new gig. The answer, “because I’m looking for more opportunity” typically translates to “I’m not making my number.” You need to find out why.

What’s been your experience? Chime in and let me know your thoughts.

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I have enjoyed working with Pete in the past. His “can do” approach to the business is refreshing and good for those around him. He is creative, willing to think out of the box, and does a good job pulling others into his projects to ensure he gathers opinions from resources across the teams he is supporting.

- Michael Humke – M.Humke Consulting LLC

We engaged with Equilibrium to help us create a professional sales process. He worked with us to develop a system for opportunity management and provided sales coaching that was instrumental in contributing to a 40% growth in revenue for 2013. Equilibrium continues to be the team that we turn to when we have sales questions.

- Paul Blough, Owner BloughTech

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