Results Based Selling: No Relief for Open Head Count

January 27th, 2010 by

By Pat Hinds

When I was a sales manager I was allotted a certain number of positions to cover the sales territory that I managed. As the year progressed you could lose a sales person resulting in what was referred to as an “open head count”. My boss would say to me that there would be no relief for an “open head count”; what he was saying is that I had the budget to action the addition of a replacement sales person and if I did not replace the person and missed my quota it was my fault for not adding the new sales rep.

Often I would not heed the warning of my boss about filling the open head count; I would make excuses why I did not want to hire the sales person. I would say things like: “it would take too long to train a new person”, “I am at 100% of plan, I do not need the help” or “my remaining team members have the ability to pick-up the slack.” I now look back at the experience and realize that I made a mistake by not maximizing the resources that were given to me’ I was at 120% of plan, but I missed the opportunity to be at 150% or 200% of plan because I was not willing to take on the project of getting a new sales person into the field.

I have found the most successful people in sales have a methodology that allows them to take on and launch new projects in a timely fashion. I have also observed that successful people do not fear the threat of the project failing. As a result of these learnings, I have adopted a tool called a “Project Charter” that helps me quickly organize a project and build a measurable to determine the success of the outcomes. Listed below are a list of the headings within the charter and a brief description of the heading:

Problem Statement – Describes the business reason(s) for initiating the project, specifically stating the business problem;

Project Description – Describes the approach the project will use to address the business problem;

Project Goals and Objectives – Describes the business goals and objectives of the project; also refines the goals and objectives stated in the Business Case;

Project Scope – Describes the project scope; the scope defines project limits and identifies the products and/or services delivered by the project. The scope establishes the boundaries of the project and should describe products and/or services that are outside of the project scope.

Critical Success Factors – Describes the factors or characteristics that are deemed critical to the success of a project, such that, in their absence the project will fail.

Assumptions – Describes any project assumptions related to business, technology, resources, scope, expectations, or schedules.

Constraints – Describes any project constraints being imposed in areas such as schedule, budget, resources, products to be reused, technology to be employed, products to be acquired, and interfaces to other products. Lists the project constraints based on the current knowledge available today.

Funding Authority – Identify the funding amount and source of authorization and method of finance (i.e., capital budget, rider authority, appropriated receipts) approved for the project.

Project Oversight Authority – Describes management control over the project. Describes external oversight bodies and relevant policies that affect the agency governance structure, project management office, and/or vendor management office.

Major Project Milestones – Lists the project’s major milestones and deliverables and the planned completion dates for delivery. This list should reflect products and/or services delivered to the end user as well as the delivery of key project management or other project-related work products.

Topics: Sales Consulting