Archive for the ‘sale personnel recruitment’ category


October 13, 2012



Michael Fanghella

October 13th 2012

My perspective in managing a sales department is from having from as small a sales cadre of 5 sales personnel to over 150 under my direct report that produced results from $10 million in sales to over $1 billion.  The reality is in today’s multi tasking leveraged world is that sales professionals sell and if they are expected to be handling things other than sales you have diluted their time resource and effectively limit their earnings as well as their attention.  So establishing the Desired Results (Goals) that effectively consider what they will earn a living doing is paramount.

I believe that once the desired results (mutual goals defined), as relayed and defined through senior management and accepted by the sales team jointly and severally, are established the following are the issues under the managing control of its leader. They are as follows:

  •  The Procedural Guidelines established to follow to achieve those desired results for in this way when the results aren’t forthcoming you have a understood methodology to analyze the sales persons effort and either get them back on track; and
  • Resource management in that when prior establishment of the desired results were made along with that a clear path of who they can go to for information, aid in knowledge based sales technique, solution selling issues. This includes training sessions and open discussions as to objections and solutions as facilitated by the manager. This allows the team to see and know that if they choose not to utilize these resources (management, tech support, books, web based information services, etc.) they have effectively limited their opportunity to succeed; and
  • Accountability, which is often misunderstood, is where we as a team or an individual take the time to assess performance against the prior stated desired results.  At this time the measuring sticks are if the personnel are following the procedural guidelines as laid out to succeed and if not make corrections and also for the manger to be assessed by his team if he/she is doing what he laid out where his/her procedural guidelines to be the effective voice and manager they need to perform. These meeting occur throughout the time but can be done both as a team and on an individual basis; and

Ultimately this effort constantly is taking their performance issue to hand and allowing for adjustments and improvement that hold both sides of the team accountable to each other. What you find is that your sales personnel know how they are doing well before anyone else and as a manager you can see if they are putting an effort (procedurally) that accomplishes what they themselves outlined they wanted. The natural consequence of this process is defined by those results made by the individual team members. This reduces complaints, and focuses sale managements’ attention on helping not pointing fingers at personnel which makes all sales personnel in the team nervous. Sales personnel can’t be effective if they are looking over their shoulders. As sales manager if you can’t help (mentor) them you are a non event to their desired results and ultimately your authority is diminished.

o How to effectively turn prospects into clients –

  •  All prospects are somewhere in the sales funnel, the question is where, and once understood aids in defining how you handle them. So I have some basic rules to analyze them (prospects) by they are as follows:
  •  If a warm prospect seek first to understand before asking to be listened to-
  1. Who are they, what do they do, how large are they. Often this can be done rather casually ; then
  2. Establish their needs and how that takes them to what they want, then
  3. Qualify them in terms of their resources and expectations, decision making authority and their financial expectations (authority & financial qualification are the determining factors as to whether you proceed aggressively or not;  then
  4. Either move forward and or invite their superior to the next level of discussion to insure a clear line to closing the effort. or
  5. If they are that person and financial consideration are defined and acceptable; then
  6. Take them to a solution sales consideration that identifies how your product/service meets their needs; then
  7. Demo. track to close
  •  While this is a simplistic format and is always subject to the variables that a good sales person will sense, but it is a format that keeps time and expectation in alliance with the desired results to succeed.
  •  If a cold prospect, establish a listening relationship but get to qualifying them and whether they have the decision making capability or not to ascertain whether they move to the next level with you. If qualified see how quickly they want to move toward the next obviously level of discussion and or get their superior involved in the next discussion or demo.

o How to manage 3 projects at once –

I currently manage over 10 projects and attend to past clients who had projects with us but who have residual issues that need to be attended to.  Priorities are often misunderstood.  They are often misdiagnosed as crisis management, but are not.  They are things you do everyday because to effectively manage projects and the key elements as determined prior that are to be attended to each day by design.  The above referenced crisis management is then handled in the course as an adjustment but not as the day to day management.  This means phone management, time and resource management and trust basis a clear understanding of both the talent pool around you for delegation and what management expects and allows you to resolve without having to go one step up the management ladder are clearly understood.

 o How to motivate and inspire employees-

Understanding who you hire and their skill set is foremost. Imagine putting a 150 batting average person in clean up doesn’t make him a great hitter by design. So go back to how I hire and manage my sales teams in that I have a clear and understandable desired results from people who can clearly articulate them to me. If they can’t do that then they are not connected to the process of selling and haven’t thought about that prior other than wanting a job.  Ultimately this is what will pull the team both they and their supervisor into accountability with each other in terms of what they have to do for this effort to be successful.  This is paramount because if they don’t believe in what we are doing you will lose them as their first failure.

But beyond that motivational goals have to be offered in short terms expectations so that someone achieves those goals quickly and others see it as well as its attainability. Making them such that other voluntary stakeholders in this process (Family and maybe significant others) share in its acknowledgement.  While I don’t ascribe to knowing the families of our sales personnel, I do want them to see this as a positive process and are supportive of what we will ask of our sales personnel.

Having certain motivating factors that allow success to occur at different levels so that newer members of the team can execute and succeed also as they build their aptitude and base of knowledge and sales.

Napoleon stated; that soldiers die for honor (medals) as much as to win the battle”. Sales personnel are not much different so open communication, a developed effort to keep them aligned with what they decided in agreement with management to perform and their acknowledgement in the accountably meeting I stated earlier to, is always aided by that which we promised to them we would in turn provide.

Ergo, management above the sales manager never criticizes the team openly or to their face. That is left to their manager with whom they have a defined solution oriented process. Anyone can identify a problem, but a good manager attends to the problem by bringing forth and mentoring a solution.  Senior management above this level are the good guys.  They should never see your fears or even hear them. They (Sales Personnel) will want to be your friend only because if they don’t have this defined management solution process, they will seek that relationship because they believe it will effect their employment stability.

Consistency in the effort, the product/service surviving whatever due diligence the prospect has with it will give confidence and build momentum better than drinks after work or high fives when a sale gets made. The point is they have high expectations of themselves, so motivating them is an adjustment made often and done for their attitude, not their success.

You can comment or contact me directly if you want additional information on this or other subjects or contact me by clicking . 858.880.8650.

When to Hire a Chief Operating Officer and why

May 31, 2012

Company culture starts with a common set of values.  Because the role of a COO can vary from company to company, you’ll want to assess which departments of your organization the COO should oversee – be it all or just a few.  “The company’s core performance is impacted by a number of non-core items,”

Hiring a COO can free up a CEO to focus on major external initiatives and foster new opportunities rather than being occupied with keeping multiple departments productive.  In practice, I’ve found that hiring a COO makes sense for most entrepreneurs.  While I’m sympathetic to the arguments against hiring a COO, I do believe the role can be highly beneficial — and even necessary — in certain situations.

By hiring a COO, the CEO usually the founder in a start up or next wave company can concentrate on the aspects of the position that he/she really excels at and loves the most.  Before hiring a COO, ask yourself if you’ll be able to delegate business operations and put in place a monitoring system to ensure that operational standards meet your expectations.  For example, hiring a COO to handle operational problems, someone who can manage legal, someone who’s great at business development and revenue partnerships and someone who’s a technology leader who can actually scale the technology team or mange an ever growing sales force.

The COO should be an effective personnel hire for your small business.  Typically, these types of leaders are interested in working on operating and growing a sustainable organization while the CEO is more interested in driving innovation.  While innovation is extremely important (i.e. Apple’s ability to grow through innovation alone), Even Steve Jobs needed to have someone who is ensuring all the pieces of the organization are aligned with the company’s vision and priorities.  This is where a COO would be extremely valuable to an innovation focused leader. So Look at the experience of you hire and not at yourself in the mirror.  When you are in the grand forest of the business world you don’t really want the only sound you hear there to be an echo of your own voice.

In a world where good business practices and corporate governance are daily credos find one that has some dirt on his/her shoes because experience is more valuable than a alphabet soup monogram after their name. Check this article out at

Procedural Guidelines in Marketing Business Strategy

April 2, 2012

By Michael Fanghella

This is a topic where we could get lost pretty quickly as the sands shift almost daily and a new idea promotes a new strategy as quickly.  But rather than go there I am going to suggest we look at just taking the issue at hand simply.

You spend lots of money to hire and train if needed sales personnel.  But have you made clear to them what you desire as a result from them and have they done the same with you?  Or has it been a sales effort by you when you were impressed with the candidate in front of you.   Often we get caught up in what we want so much we forget to review what we need.

If you can’t explain to a new hire or a veteran who is anticipating coming on board for employ what your company does in 30 seconds or less, be able in that discussion, explain what the company’s desired results are and allow the candidate to speak freely to see how they can achieve them, how can you expect them to figure it out on their own.  Truly you need to answer the following issues internally before asking your newest employee to charge out there. I find it amazing how many hiring directors hire without making sure of the prospect that everyone is on the same page.  Little things like who does he/she speak to when there are questions, where else in the organization can answers be gotten.  What procedures for pursuing and accomplishing the results so mutually set out are and what means of sitting down to review them by and between both of you to see if results aren’t forth coming have they been followed on both your accounts.  Often I will see the hiring entity explain away the question because honestly they have never thought about it.  They are too worried about “do you have industry contacts or background”.  I have seen more great sales people fail because they went to the next level with a firm that was not connected to the procedure to ensure success concept by having it mapped out.  Without a good process the sales person will in all probability fail.

This may mean that if the employee is off course a few adjustments can have a beneficial effect because when in review either they or you are off the guidelines as to what was originally discussed.  But that those procedures were set out to allow this analysis and correction on a weekly basis.   How often do we hear where a salesperson gets a 30 day probation notice after 60 days being there?  Were any procedures reviewed, did the manager sit down and review as to whether or not he and the company were fulfilling the compact by and between both parties.  You waited 60 days before noticing?  What it really means is that you don’t have a procedural guideline for this sales person to follow.

I have built multiple sales teams successfully because of this basic concept. I have multiple sales efforts fail because of its absence.  Sales people like structure, they want and need feedback, want to understand how they fit in.  Most of the time we hire them and throw them into the that red ocean of competition without a thought or plan as to  how that one person will meet both you and their results by procedure.  It is like golf, you only have to miss the ball by a degree for it to land in the rough.

You see there is this leap of faith that says as an employee, “I will work and give you my best effort on the proposition that you will pay me for that time”.  But it goes much further than that.  It really goes to whether the employer really has their act together, has a strong vision and a result in mind that calls for procedures to be in place so that when hiring someone they can start working immediately on meeting the result driven thought process versus doing what we have all seen in the past spending time building a lead generation system on his/her own, spending as much time branding the company as being able to sell the products or services available and having a mutual respect process that keeps everyone on their game.  As too often the whole result driven paradigm at the moment is on the shoulders of the salesperson to meet expectations that while they may have bought in on they had no say so in the how to get there.

One of the worse things I heard from a marketing person that worked for us was I don’t now what do to make it better, can you tell me.  Well eventually I did it is what spurred my beliefs as you see them today.  I was not going to waste our training expenses just to go out and repeat the mistake.  In doing so this person latterly was transformed over night into being the most successful marketing assistant and from where her territory sales people wanted to get rid of her she was nominated for employee of the year.  It is not rocket science, but you do have to care as much as you say you do.

This concept I speak of and the one utilized with my employee is based upon the book I believe is one of the best guides ever printed and if you get the chance read it and get the CD to listen in your car on the way to work.  Stephen Covey of Franklin Covey has been at the forefront of this thinking for years and his book Principled Centered Leadership is to me at least its bible.

It is much more complicate than just this but….If you have been following this blog you know I started out preaching the need for vision and then a mission statement then once achieved the focus starts getting narrower.

So stop today before you go on Craigslist or LinkedIn to place that ad and ask yourself, “Am I hiring a person to do what?, and am I am hiring them because I know how we want it done?, and am I providing this person with the resources when they have questions to learn? and am I committed to this being a successful hire because we will have accountability sessions where we review the whole process including my effort and what we have promised.

If you do this, your interviews will be much more focused and your hires will understand why they are there and when the process is followed goals and results will not get away from you.  If you would like more information this and other thoughts about your hiring strategy call us at 619 550 1198 or email me at