My good friend Bob Sappio started at APL around the same time I did. We both started straight out of college. There are many stories I could tell about the seasoned executive he is ... Bob started out in sales and there is a legendary story that Bob submitted an expense report that included an expense for getting his shoes resoled. When asked why in the world the company should pay for that, Bob explained that he had a walking territory in New York City and the walking wore out his shoes. He supported his premise by saying "If I had a company car, you would pay for new tires. These shoes are my tires!"
I love this story because it gets at the root of a key sales premise.
Let sales people do what they do best, what they want to do - sell.
As Sales leaders, we have several key responsibilities:
• Motivate the team to go out and sell
• Train and coach our salespeople
• Point them to sell to the customers we want to bring on
And then it is our job to remove the hurdles that prevent them from being out on the street doing their job! A Sales Optimization Survey from CSO Insights suggests that less than 50% of salespeople's time is actually spent selling!
We have to remove hurdles by providing resources, improving the quality of the products they sell, and by providing processes and tools that facilitate time on the street. (for example, there have been amazing developments in the CRM space as companies like Veeva (Pharma) and Lanetix (Logistics) launch vertically relevant products, leveraging the Salesforce.com platform.)
As Sales Leaders, our job is to prepare our team and ten facilitate their time to sell. Period.
I would pay to resole those shoes all day long.