Growing Sales Doesn’t Always Mean Growing Headcount


This post uses that information to help you decide if you need additional sales staff. Or is it more advantageous to get more from your existing staff? Hiring new sales reps? There may be a more profitable alternative.


Identifying the Problem:

Do your clients need more time from your reps? Are you losing the ability to talk with the prospect much less close the sale? Does your existing sales staff have the bandwidth to increase sales? Are your reps spending valuable time producing sales reports and doing lead generation?


These issues need both a quantitative and qualitative look in order to maximize sales team results. 


At first glance, it would seem that you need a bigger sales staff. But before you go through the expensive and lengthy process to hire and onboard, you should consider the following analysis.


Factors to Consider – Quantitative/Financial and Qualitative:


  1. Quantitative/Financial
    • What is your break-even point? How much does a sales rep need to sell?
    • Complete a time study. How are reps using their time? Are they using most of it to sell? Or are they spending a lot of time generating leads or preparing backlog reports? If so, move the non-selling functions to more appropriate staff.
    • Use our Sales Rep Time Tracker to easily track and evaluate your team’s efficiency.


  2. Qualitative
    It’s one thing to measure how a sales rep is doing with quantitative factors. But how are they serving their customers? Are their customers feeling effectively cared for? Consider the following to determine whether to increase staff.


  • Types of Reps:
    What kinds of additions to staff are appropriate? Can the same objectives be accomplished at a lower cost? For example, move lead generation to a lower salaried marketer to free up the sales rep from those functions.


  • New Markets:
    Is there a business situation, such as a new market launch, that they are unqualified for? You may need to add experienced staff with a speedy ramp-up to capture that specialized business.


  • Additional Headcount and Costs:
    If you add to sales staff, what support costs scale, and which do not? If you choose to add 100 sales reps, how many additional managers will be required? How about sales support and operations? What if that increased headcount requires a highly compensated VP? All of those additional headcounts need to be factored.


  • Meeting Objectives:
    What are the odds of your sales rep generating more sales to meet objectives?  What kinds of additional training and equipment will be needed?   How do you know if the sales goal is attainable? What is the capacity of that rep? What is the likelihood of success and what is their actual return on investment?


  • The Competition’s Process:
    What is the competition doing? What is the customer’s experience with your  approach versus the competition? What will they pay for? Decide if you want to follow the competition. Would you rather improve on the competition?  Can you leap past your competitor?


Determining the Strategy:

As with most business issues, the best answer considers both the qualitative and quantitative factors. It’s often tempting to rely on the math. But the best strategy considers quality just as much as quantity. This especially holds true when adding to a long-term and expensive investment like increasing headcount.


Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.
Learn more about Aaron Bartels >

He founded Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) with Greg Alexander and Mike Drapeau to help business to business (B2B) leaders make the number. The world’s most respected companies have put their trust in and hired SBI. SBI uses the benchmarking method to accelerate their rate of revenue growth. As an execution based firm, SBI drives field adoption and business results.


His clients describe him as a consultant who:


“Makes transformational impacts on me, my people and my business”


“Solves my most difficult problems that to date we have been unable to solve ourselves”


“Brings clarity to an environment of chaos”


“Has real world sales operations experience making him qualified to advise us on a variety of sales and marketing challenges”


“Is able to spot proven best practices that once implemented will make a material impact on my business”


“Constantly challenges status quo and compels us to act”


“Focuses on execution and driving change to stick in our environment”


“Makes good on his promises while enabling our business to realize his projected results”

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