Blocks, nuts and bolts

Blocks, nuts and bolts are typically used to build things, so we’ll use them to talk about building sales structures and sales teams. However, let us first look at the blocks, nuts and bolts that the ninja employed. 

The sai was a weapon used for stabbing and striking. They were used in pairs – one in each hand. They also made good defensive blocking weapons. A common blocking technique would be to use one of the sai’s hooks to entrap and lock an attacker’s blade.

Ninja often used poison to dull the senses or abilities of the enemy. It wasn’t usually intended to be fatal, and in most cases, it was used to disorientate, weaken, or paralyze an opponent. The poison may have been applied to darts, arrows, swords, or a dagger. Poisonous varieties of almonds, which were more common than edible varieties during the time of the ninja, were often used in poison-making. There’s your nut, although almonds aren’t true nuts, are they? See, tricky ninja tactics abound, even in this blog.

The ninja used weather systems and meteorology as a strategic weapon. This practice is called tenmon. It allowed ninja to predict weather changes and to use them as an advantage to defend or to support their attacks. This was mostly rain and wind, but may have included thunderbolts. 

So, we return to the blocks, nuts and bolts of hypergrowing sales. A challenge when hypergrowing sales is that there are a lot of role and structural changes to support hypergrowth. 

These are also often altered on the fly, depending on the level of success which the strategies meet when they are executed. So be ready to alter and adjust as you go.

Early growth

FOCUS ON THIS: During early growth, the focus is on beginning to sell and creating early sales success. This might come directly from no sales at all (pre-sales) or from directors and founders having achieved some organic sales through their pitches, networks or through the right types of conversations with early adopters.  Build great sales playbooks and test them out. Hire the best. Take care to make onboarding interactive and work out how to ‘launch’ new sales hires in the best way possible.

LOOK OUT FOR THIS: During early growth it is common to have poor planning for sales hiring and sales success. Poor assumptions, or not thinking at all about sales readiness, setup, hiring, onboarding, sales management, sales targets, or sales commission can have a drastic impact on your attempts to grow. This combination of factors can lead to failed attempts at sales hiring and failed sales launches.  If you fail, it is crucial to act swiftly. Review, plan, execute, measure. Get help if you are uncertain about what to do differently.

Later growth

During later growth the permutation of sales structure and role changes has a wider range. Depending on your situation and playbook. The key principles to consider include:

  • aim for role and team specialisation
  • be careful about reapplying existing thinking because a lot of things might work differently in new settings (e.g. in different segments or territories)
  • keep good planning, listening and reviewing discipline 
  • make sales hiring and onboarding a core competence
  • make special effort to develop your sales managers – aim for world-class
  • review the sales leader role and incumbent as you grow
  • make sales targets and sales compensation structures fit the teams, contexts and markets

Creating sales structures and roles with care takes time and effort, but it will pay you back with better engagement and higher returns from your sales team as they grow.

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