Londesborough Puts Wind in Sales

Londesborough Proves Popular With His Sales Habits and Best Practices

At the last session of the SIPA 2010 Conference—Best Ideas From SIPA 2010—host Andy McLaughlin did a wonderful job of keeping the pace moving and getting a lot of people to give their ideas. But one name seemed to come up more than others when it came to best ideas. Richard Londesborough, CEO of Business Monitor International.

Londesborough’s session was titled Building a Killer Sales Force. First he talked about the impact of sales on BMI.

“For 15 years BMI was a pure print publisher: Newsletters, Directories and Ancillary Reports. They gained customers through direct marketing, not sales. They launched Business Monitor Online in 2001 (premium online content, databased, web access, high ticket $5,000 to $100,000). “BMO required us to set up a sales team: both both field and tele sales.” Londesborough said. “It took us four years to grow BMO from zero to $2 million in revenues.”

It then took just five years for BMO to go from that $2 million to more than $20m in 2010, with healthy profit margins. They now have sales teams set up in four different continents: London, New York, Singapore, South Africa, and despite last year’s recession, their sales still achieved close to 40% growth.

How did they do it? Londesborough listed some best practices:
– Recruit smart sales people
– Take the time and trouble to train them
– Ensure best sales practices
– Manage them…
– Motivate and reward them…
– Measure their effectiveness
– Commit to Product Development!

He then added a list of how to hire the best sales staff:
– Leadership: Hire the best sales director or sales manager you can who knows how to recruit, manage and lead
– Recruit hunger, energy and intelligence
– Raw, bright, motivated graduates are better prospects than the “old sales pros” …
– Second-job hunters, with maximum of 1-2 years sales experience, can work out well
– Consider running Assessment Centers for multiple hires
– Try to recruit direct rather than using recruitment agencies

Next came his ideas for how to reward your sales staff. Strike a balance between salary and commission, he said. Differentiate between new business, upgrades and renewals, and inbound and outbound leads. And incentivize team leaders on team performance.

When it comes to managing and motivating sales people, Londesborough has strong ideas as well:
– Strong, dynamic leadership is vital
– Management starts on Day 1: clear expectations, explicit metrics, accountability
– Be concise with your targets and timelines: Calls, DMCs, demos, meetings, proposals, deals
– Commission policy goes hand-in-hand with under-performance policy
– Celebrate success! Deal alerts, prizes, awards, end-year reviews, promotions
– Competition and collaboration (by individual and by team)

He then answered the question, who should be doing your selling. The answer included: smart sales staff who are motivated by money; positive personalities; good listeners (two ears, one mouth) who are inquiring and responsive; people who enjoy sales; senior management (should at least be involved); but not marketing staff.

And finally, he listed what good sales and account management delivers:
– High renewal rates and repeat business
– Healthy upgrade rates
– Revenue Renewal rates close to 100% (fantastic lifetime value)
– Clients that get full value out of your services
– Market feedback to help you develop and improve your products and services
– Happy, prosperous sales staff who take pride in their roles and how they represent your company
– The most sustainable and profitable part of your business!

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