How Do I Know If I’ve Got the Right People on My Team?

Successful businesses are always evolving. Sometimes the evolutions are in their core offering. Sometimes it’s in the technology they use, or in the way they sell or even deliver their service. Just like companies, roles within companies evolve too. It’s essential for a business leader to be regularly assessing the skill sets and core competencies required in each role for employees to be successful. This is essential if you want to build a strong team.
One firm I worked with saw a dramatic shift in the skill sets required of their customer service team. The shift occurred when they implemented a new computer system. Whereas the primary requirement for the customer service role used to be someone who had great customer service skills, the primary requirement evolved to them needing to have great technical skills first and customer service skills second. They still needed to be good at customer service but first and foremost they needed to have a technical mindset. Some employees were able to make a seamless transition while others required extensive training. Though most were able to learn the new skills ultimately, some just did not have the technical aptitude. Keep in mind, these were employees who were great in the “Old” role but could not adapt to the “New” role. It didn’t make them a bad employee but it did make them unsuitable for the existing role.
The guidance I would give clients that I work with is that they need to assess the skill sets and competencies that are required in each role for the employees to be successful. They should review these annually and then evaluate their employees against this criteria. Where there are short-falls there should be a formal training plan established in order to help bridge the gaps. If an employee is successfully able to bridge the gap then you have a wonderful success. If not, then you need to consider whether they might be better suited in another role within your company or explore separation.
The reality is, if an employee is not well matched for their job, you’re likely not happy with their performance and they’re not likely happy either because they know they are struggling. As a business leader it’s your responsibility to help each member of your team to be successful and to make changes when necessary.

Like this?   You may also like:

10 Mistakes to Avoid as a Business Leader

The 4 Core Pillars of Increasing Revenue

Sales, Growth & Expansion.  We will help you grow your business.

Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Business Solutions

(613) 263-1010



We Don’t Like You or Your Kids & We Don’t Want Your Business

“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs” – Five Man Electrical Band

I spent the past weekend with friends and family visiting the beautiful village of Lake Placid, NY.   At one point, a friend and I were checking out some of the local stores along the main drag.  One of these was a sporting goods store that featured running shoes and related gear.

Go away

Before entering, the first thing that caught my attention was a sign on the door advising “No Drinks”. Ok, it’s not that unusual and having just purchased coffee, we found a spot to set our drinks down before proceeding inside.  Upon entering, the next thing that caught my eye was a sign indicating, “We do not allow people to take pictures of our merchandise.”  I thought this one was a bit unusual.   I briefly pondered what potential issue there could be in taking pictures of shoes but nothing came to mind.

Before I go on, it’s important to know that his was not a big store; I’d guess 800 – 1,000 square feet. There were two employees inside and my friend and I were the only customers.

Don't do anything

A few steps into the store and another sign caught my attention, “Don’t open the packages of socks”.  I had already categorized this establishment as somewhat customer unfriendly and wasn’t interested in spending a dollar there however, my friend continued to browse so I continued to look around.

Behind the cash was a sign indicating, “No Refunds.”  The final kicker for me was the sign posted beside a display of sunglasses; “If your kids scratch the lenses, you have to buy the sunglasses.”  Wow!

Browsing completed, we walked towards the door that had a small sticker affixed encouraging people to, “Shop Local.”  Maybe we do – but not with you!

Though I would take bets that your signage isn’t anywhere near as bad, I’d encourage you to take a fresh look at it to ensure that it’s sending the right message.  Is it cold and authoritarian or is it warm, welcoming and helpful?  The signage you have posted in your business or work area is a reflection of your attitude towards your customers.

Postscript:  We continued walking a few more blocks and visited another sporting goods store.  This one only had one sign that stood out – a huge one posted on the wall behind the cash registers proclaiming, “Enjoy Life!

Need help with your business? Want to increase performance & your bottom line?  Contact us today:
Tel: (613) 263-1010

Pitfalls to Avoid When Hiring Salespeople For the First Time

Many business owners who want to grow their businesses make a decision to hire a salesperson.  Unfortunately, if the owner doesn’t have a sales background or if they’ve never hired a salesperson, they often make big mistakes.   I’ve seen it happen countless times.  These mistakes cost owners significant time and money and cause a lot of frustration –  I want to help you avoid that.

Headache in business

Mistake #1 -Assuming That All salespeople Are the Same

Inexperienced owners often believe that all sales people are created equally and all have the same “Sales” skillset.

Let me tell you – there are many different types of salespeople:

  • Someone selling cell phones at the local mall is a salesperson;

  • Someone selling credit card processing services is a salesperson;

  • Someone selling new cars is a salesperson;

  • Someone selling consulting services is a salesperson;

  • Someone selling missile defense systems is a salesperson.

Though the above are all salespeople, that doesn’t mean that any one salesperson would be effective in all of these positions.  Each one requires a different experience level, educational background and skill-set.  Make sure the one you hire has comparable sales experience.

Mistake #2 – Not Taking the Sales Cycle Into Account

A salesperson who is used to making several sales per day is often going to find themselves out of their element if they get into a sales role where they may be only making one sale per week. Or month. Or year.  The longer the sales cycle, the more patience is required as is a different skill set.   Salespeople cherish the thrill of a sale and if they are used to getting that thrill more often or more quickly it can be a tough adjustment if they find themselves in a sales role with a longer sales cycle.

Mistake #3 – Not Setting Sales Goals

Believe it or not, I’ve seen many instances where a business owner has hired a salesperson and but not set any goals. “I want to grow my business” or “I want to increase sales” is not specific enough.  How much do you want to grow your business or how much do you want to increase sales?  Specifically.  You need a number.

Once you have this number, ask yourself, “What is it going to take to get there?”  This is where you start looking at numbers like:

  • A salesperson should be able to make 500 calls per week;

  • This should produce 10 appointments per week;

  • The closing ratio in our industry = 40%

  • Therefore, based on the above, 10 appointments should turn into 4 sales.

Keep in mind that the numbers above are examples only and need to be customized for your business.  Your business model is likely very different.

Carrying on, the question you need to ask yourself is, “Will the number of sales per week produce the growth I’m seeking and will it cover the increased cost of hiring a salesperson in the first place?”

If it won’t, then you need to re-examine the numbers or strategize a different approach.

If it does, you now know what metrics need to be achieved to be successful.

Strategic compensation plan

Mistake #4 – Not Paying Your Sales People Strategically

Two things here.  First, a business owner is normally going to need to pay a combination of salary and commission.  In most cases, you want the salary to be approximately 40 – 60% of the total target compensation and the balance from commission. Be wary of any prospective salesperson who is pushing for a higher percentage.

The other is this – never pay a flat percentage of the sales.  Ever.  Paying a flat percentage creates little incentive for over-achievers but is a big savior to under achievers.  You need to create a commission program that will accelerate commissions as your salesperson first achieves and then exceeds the sales goals. Conversely, it should de-accelerates if they are under-performing.   The reality is, if your salesperson is underperforming then they are negatively impacting the business case you developed which is what led to their hiring.

Mistake #5 – Not Effectively Managing Your Salespeople

If you don’t effectively manage your salespeople then you will fail.  Your salesperson will spend their time doing what they think they should but this will seldom be in alignment with your business goals and metrics.  I can tell you exactly what will happen:

  • They won’t achieve success, they’ll sense your growing frustration, they’ll get discouraged or fed up and quit.


  • You’ll get impatient and fed up and end up firing them.

Either way, the whole process just cost you a lot of time, money and grief.  The worst part is, it’s totally your fault – you weren’t doing what you should have been doing – managing your salesperson effectively.

My company, Stellacon Solutions helps business owners and executives build stronger, more structured businesses that are well positioned for growth. We offer an initial free consultation where we can discuss your challenges and we’re  always happy to help.
We help business owners solve problems.
For more information contact: Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Solutions
(613) 263-1010