When Will My New Reps Produce a Result?




As CFO you have approved the 2015 headcount plan.  It called for a 20% increase in sales reps.  Sales is now hiring with the help of HR and recruiters.  You still believe you need more sales headcount.  And are confident in the 20% number.  But you are now worried about surviving the lag time between hiring and results.  As you should be.  


Hiring additional sales heads is never a guarantee to growth.  So how do you ensure the new headcount plan does not wreck you Q1 profits?


First you need to model for the change in cost.  Adding 20% heads is going to cost you 20% more base pay.  But you should be thinking in terms of OTE as well.  Often organizations try to minimize the financial impact of new hires by deferring variable pay until they generate revenue.  This may be a mistake.  An A-Player sales rep who requires months to build a book of business is not going to settle for base pay alone.  They may take the job.  But then leave over once they realize the effort required to achieve their OTE.  So in your financial planning, account for ramp quotas and possibly draws.  How do you know if this is needed for your situation?  Ask yourself the following questions:


  • What is the profile of a rep who would take this job for base only vs. OTE?
  • What is the pipeline of business that exists for this new rep?
  • What is our position vs. the competition in the territory for the new rep?
  • What level of training will the new sales rep receive?
  • What level of sales management support will the new sales rep receive?
  • What has been the ramp performance of sales reps in the past?


More than likely a few of the questions above were uncomfortable.  If that’s the case, then consider a ramp comp plan for your new sales reps.  Do not just hand them a draw for showing up to work.  But don’t defer any variable until they generate revenue either.  You should stagger the goals by tenure:


  • Early stage indicators—Shadow sales calls, point quota system, training certification, etc.
  • Mid-stage indicators—Appointment setting, proposal generation, etc.
  • Monthly/quarterly/yearly quota attainment-—New logo wins, land and expand, quota attainment, etc.


In addition to the advice above, here are 3 more tips:



Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.

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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