Rick is a sales guy.  We call him the human ATM.


The human ATM has a problem.  Actually, two.  But before we get into that, let’s meet Rick.


  • Rick is an A-player salesperson.
  • Rick is like a human divining rod—but for money instead of water.
  • He’s the comp plan whisperer.  


Here’s his secret:


  • Rick’s employer, Wysazz Corp, regularly expands into new product areas.
  • To support expansion, almost invariably they deploy an overlay sales group.
  • They lure talent from the main sales force by dangling low-risk, small quotas.
  • Rick has a nose like a bloodhound, and this time of year he’s sniffing like mad.
  • He changes jobs like a flea jumping from one dog to another.


And yet, once again, our hero is blowing out his silly little number, making wads of cash.  


But it’s that time of year.  Rick the ATM faces his customary problems.   Before I share those details, let me sum up the root cause. 


Wysazz Corp has a jumble of goals and tactics masquerading as strategy.  SBI’s Annual Research cites this amongst six reasons 78% of companies have the wrong sales strategy.


How on earth could this cause not one, but two, problems for Rick???


Problem #1:  Rick is unsure whether he’s better off shutting it down for the year or pulling in that last deal or two.   


  • His comp plan escalators have dropped off.
  • He’d make the same cash if they were contributing to retiring next year’s quota.
  • And he hasn’t found a new dog to jump to.


Problem #2:  Rick knows that he’s going to get a giant quota increase next year.  That’s the drill.  The company tacks on growth to whatever you did last year.  Blow it out, lean year, blow it out… 


  • That’s why he is spending (wasting) a fair amount of time sniffing for other roles. He’s tracking internally and in the open market.
  • Some years he can’t follow the scent to a better gig. So what does he do?  He spends a lot more time working on his short game.  He’s content to wait out the giant-quota year.  He knows he’ll get a more-modest quota next year or find a new role. 


Whether you’re a salesperson or a VP of Sales, you both lose from bad strategy.  Here are two examples derived from the story above:


  1. Deploying an overlay team can blow a hole in the mainstream sales numbers. It’s also hideously expensive versus syncing buying process and sales process.


  2. Feast-then-Famine cycles complicate budgeting and forecasting.Even worse, they also increase unwanted turnover.


In case you were curious, the root causes in the above scenario are:


  • Weak buyer segmentation.
  • Territory design and quota setting uninformed by quantitative account segmentation.
  • Ineffective sales organization design.
  • Spastic sales enablement.
  • Poorly constructed compensation plans unconnected to key selling behaviors.


Our research covers world-class practice in these and many other areas.   Read it to get your organization positioned to make the number in 2015.


Kevin Avery

Challenges clients to design and implement innovative practices.

Prior to SBI, Kevin held leadership positions in sales, marketing, business and channel development in the high tech industry, concentrating in the Contact Center and Collaboration software.

Kevin was an A-Player salesperson who transitioned successfully into leadership. At Cisco Systems, his Enterprise Area sales team drove double-digit growth, with annual bookings exceeding $120MM. As Strategy leader for Cisco’s Contact Center and Collaboration specialist sales groups, he devised, designed and coached a competitive displacement sales program that netted over $125MM bookings with a 90% win rate and zero no-decisions. Kevin’s experience prior to Cisco at Spanlink – a packaged and custom software company and reseller-integrator – began at near-startup stage. Leading the sales team out of the company’s IPO, he grew revenues by 50%, then closed an OEM agreement with a $70M+ lifetime value. When the 2001 tech bubble burst, resulting in dissolving a $130M acquisition, he was instrumental in refitting and relaunching the company.


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