Two Thirds Adding More Sales Reps in 2014. Will This Deliver Revenue Growth?

As cost cutting has run its course in order to produce results on Wall Street, companies are turning to top line growth to improve company value. Revenue growth is a requirement, and the primary strategy Sales Execs are executing to grow in 2014 is to add more sales reps.

New research from Qvidian indicates that 2/3rds of companies surveyed expect to grow their sales teams in 2014, with most indicating headcount growth between 10-30% next year.

But will the new additions result in revenue growth? The risks are high.

On average, Qvidian indicates that it typically takes between 7-12 months to get new sales reps to reach effectiveness. However, in more complex selling environments, Forrester’s Scott Santucci says it can take much longer, as much as 36 months to achieve effectiveness,  particularly for technology / business service sales reps.
With such long ramp up times, the anticipated revenue growth may take longer than most execs expect.
So how can ramp up occur more quickly? According to research by SiriusDecisions, the main barrier to achieving quota goals is not too few leads, lack of training, or product knowledge, but the inability for Sales Reps to communicate the value your solutions provide.
Adding reps in 2014 to grow? If so, how are you planning to  overcome this ramp-up gap - improving your new reps ability to effectively communicate and quantify your value to ever more frugal prospects?

Check out the Qvidian research on Sales Execution Trends (registration required) -


Mike Kunkle said…
Holy cow, Tom. So much to dig into here. Great post.

I would say this is an area organizations should have been preparing for months ago. In my experience, there will be a lot of scrambling and thrashing now, for many, which is both late and ineffective.

This also raises the important question of how we improve onboarding and ramp-up times in our profession, and tackle the problem with the value communication gap.

Obviously the exact approach varies by the nuances of the company, but there are general practices that are well published and known. In my past life I've cut ramp-up time almost in half for employers and clients, so I know it's possible, but it takes planning, focus, and execution.

As you know, we've been helping clients with this specific issue in Richardson's Selling with Insights program, but for many other companies, it's a work in progress and I see reps struggle daily (some of the approaches I get personally are stunningly horrible).

Bigger topic than a comment, but selection, learning systems (not "training" and not just "events") coaching, enablement, process, the right methodology, performance management, and change leadership and management, all play a piece in the solution, especially for the ramp up issue. Alignment isn't always easy work, so maybe that's why so many cross their fingers and hope for the best, but I'd ask, "How's that been working for ya?"

Always reminds me of the Mark Sanborn quote, "Focused action beats brilliance."

Anyway, great post, Tom. Stay the course.


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