What to Include in Your 2016 Sales Plan

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Here’s a very interesting statistic for you to ponder: 40% of sales reps are going to fall short of their sales quota this year. Think about that: that means that there is a serious issue with a lot of sales teams. I recently read an interesting article that included that statistic, as well as some other interesting numbers.

I’d like to share some of my personal insight from my years of experience founding and operating startups. Here are my thoughts on creating your 2016 sales plan:

  1. Variable pay for salespeople is best. If you want your salespeople to perform well, and exceed the quota set for them, you need to give them major incentives to do so. Too many companies propose and provide salary-only packages that do little to incentivize.
  2. I agree greatly with the article on the idea that the sales plan should be modeled after objective-based initiatives. For example, if you are selling digital marketing products/services, it makes sense to include which specific products/services you want to include in your sales goals.
  3. Additionally, I also agree that your sales team should be determined through affordability of the salespeople. Don’t hire too fast, as that’s a mistake too many employers make. Go slow, hire right, and the results will be well worth it for your business.
  4. Another insight I’d add is to manage the interview process in a smart way: ask the right questions. Too many business owners fail to ask prospective salespeople the tough, pointed questions that shed a lot of light on their character, goals, motivation, etc. Ask and you will know a lot before you hire. This is possibly the most important.

You can read the full article here.

The Dangers and Pitfalls of Trading Dollars for Equity in a Startup

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Recently, I read an article in the New York Times about the pitfalls of taking equity in startups. One big takeaway was simple: how fast things can change in a minute. Startup Good Technology started 2015 off on a great track – its executives and employees expected to launch an IPO late in the year. A few months later, however, the company looked set for financial troubles.

The investors who invested capital into Good Technology made off just fine when dreams of an IPO were dashed and the company was sold to Blackberry. They got a payout. However, the employees did not, as the value of the shares of stock they held in Good Technology plummeted. It was more than just a bad investment outcome, since they actually had already paid taxes on the stock they held.

What can be learned from this? Don’t accept equity-only compensation plans as an employee of a startup. As with any investment, make sure you achieve a healthy balance of equity and cash compensation. Ask your supervisor/manager for updates on company direction and financials from time-to-time, to see if you should be worried about anything. They won’t take it as a bad sign, but rather see it as a responsible commitment to the company. These steps will give you job security, while also proving your commitment to your employer.

Click here to read the full article in the New York Times. I highly recommend it.

2015 Reflections: Make 2016 Better!

As the new year begins, I encourage everyone to reflect back on 2015; determine what worked and did not work, and use those lessons learned to make 2016 an even better year. Here’s a useful download to help you do that.

Here is a simple one page template that I believe can be extremely helpful for starting the new year off on the right foot, which is something my mother always used to say to me in days gone by. Of course, if you are left handed, I’m sure using the left foot to start the new year will be good too!

Here’s to a successful 2016!

Download (PDF, Unknown)