When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago and today. Twenty years ago for today's shade, and today for shade in the future.
Sales Professionals need to constantly have seeds/activities being planted within their Accounts, otherwise they will not have forests of Opportunity. Notice how I used the word "being" - I didn't say "they need to plant" - which implies this post is only about your SP's efforts.
I believe your entire organization needs to plant seeds for the Sales Professional. I believe a company culture which includes the belief that everyone can help the company "grow" is a key element of success.
I worked in the commercial sector of my industry for years and often times some of the best leads came from the employees who were not SP's. Because our "staff" has lives outside of the office they interact with businesses who need your products and services. How are you utilizing and rewarding your entire organization for planting seeds?
Now, the harder question - how are you planting seeds for your SP's? If I accept the premise that I am responsible as a leader for each member of my team earning their year-end-bonus, then I must also accept the premise that I am responsible for planting seeds to help make this happen in the years to come. Even if the tree won't bear fruit for me.
Several years ago the Division within a large System Integrator I was working for got a new VP...let's call him John. He was great to work for, he helped me better understand my market segment and introduced me to individuals and company's with whom I had no business relationship. Today, eight years later I'm at another company and take business away from that SI because of the seeds John planted. For me, John will always be the best example of a seed planter and as I push forward with my goal of being a great Sales Leader what he did for me will always be the example of what I should do for my team.
Happy Hunting - and remember, Nothing Happens Until Something Get's Sold!
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