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Rainmakers: Drizzle or Cloud Burst?
by Ray Silverstein

Most new companies are started by entrepreneurs known as "rainmakers." "Rainmakers" are those people who feel they can make a difference, are highly competitive, optimistic, need to win, assertive and want to make things happen. Although there are companies started by people with strong technical abilities, the ones that really grow are those driven by a strong sales sense.

The company that is started by a "rainmaker" runs into difficulty when that person encounters time saturation. That is, all of their time is taken up with the sales aspect. They feel they must handle this in addition to the increasing administrative and management responsibility inherent in the company's growth.

The question now becomes, how does the company grow and prosper if its primary sales achiever is too busy? This is a question we discuss very often in the presidents' advisory board groups I facilitate. The answer really breaks down into several different strategies based upon the personality, discipline and goals of the leader. This is really the first crucial bridge to cross from being a start up company to a preliminary managed company.

The simplest solution is to hire an administrative assistant for the "rainmaker" to take over many of the day to day activities, create organization and help with inside sales. This approach is a start but not the solution. The company's sales growth, health and value is still determined by the leader.

The next approach is to hire sales people. Many companies make the mistake of looking for "sales finders," sales people who are like the "rainmaker." Although this would be a great solution, these people are very hard to find. It is much easier to hire "sales minders," people who can slowly grow the account and service the business. The "sales minder" is not as competitive as the "sales finder' and usually has a more pleasing personality. Many times in the hiring process, "sales minders" are mistaken for "sales finders" because they are comfortable to talk to and appear to have an outgoing personality. But, if truth be known, they are internally afraid to ask for business.

The overall approach is to create a sales staff. The success of any sales staff requires a definition of the sales process. Every product or service has a sales process that can be defined and reduced to a formula. In managing sales people, they are compared against the sales process expectation to determine any shortfalls. If substantial differences from the expectations occur, the sales person should be given assistance to achieve the desired performance.

The hiring of sales people, comparing them to the sales process and training them are the keys to successful sales management. It is mandatory the right people be hired because you cannot build on a faulty foundation. PRO members whose companies have consistent sales growth use personality profile testing in the hiring stage. The test does not judge the technical skills or past work experience of the candidate, but only determines if the person has the right psychological profile for the type of sales person that is needed for the product or service. There are different traits for the "sales finder" and the "sales minder."

The process of converting your rain making talent from a drizzle to a cloud burst is based upon your leadership. Take the time to define the sales process and the expected performance at each level. Work hard to define the type of person who will have a high probability of success. Devote the time to mentor and train the right person. The value of a business is greatly increased if the daily activity is not based on you but on the team.


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