Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 59 total)
  • Salesmen – Money for nothing.
  • Premier Icon trailwagger
    Free Member

    In our company the salesmen are the highest paid people around. It seems to be based on the their total sales revenue, and is usually double what the general management earn.

    Now, I get that a good salesmen can really make a difference in certain situations but most of our sales are to existing customers with repeat orders. You could stick a snot nosed teenager in front of them with zero experience and still generate the same amount of sales.

    What skillset are we paying through the nose for? It feels like they are getting paid huge sums, just for completing paperwork!

    #wrongcareerchoice

    Premier Icon edward2000
    Free Member

    And this is why i dislike my job. I drive about 40k a year visiting customers and i swear that if i didn’t do this, we would still generate the same amount of sales. After 6 years of this, I am looking for a new career!

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I deal with 2 large paper companies – one has a rep that calls in every 6 to 8 weeks to have a natter and a cuppa. One doesn’t.

    Guess which gets the lions share of the business?

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    if it’s such easy money, you should try it…

    Premier Icon scuttler
    Full Member

    They should get paid to grow the business, i.e. by selling more stuff to more people year on year. Non-sales people often can be judged on a variety of somewhat different and in many cases ‘soft’ attributes depending on their role. A sales person is only judged on one and that is forever hanging over their head.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Full Member

    I used to resent sales people getting huge commissions selling the products that were partly designed by me. Surely it was an easy sell because of what a great job I did as an engineer? Why didn’t I get some of the credit?

    Now I know what a hard job it is selling, and that I could never do it, so I think they deserve most of the money.

    However, in the OP, the sales people should have targets that include new business, not just repeat orders.

    Premier Icon trailwagger
    Free Member

    @muffinman, exactly, tea drinking and nattering skills demand very high salaries it seems to me.


    @scutter
    , I agree. so start them on a normal salary and pay them that for maintaining the existing sales level. If they manage to increase those sales year on year then by all means give them a pay rise.

    Premier Icon hodgynd
    Free Member

    Trailwagger ..if you think it’s that easy ..give it a try .

    A salesman is the face of your business  ..its not just about selling product ..its about selling yourself first & foremost and maintaining a good contact with your customers .

    The -muffin -man hit the nail on the head ..building and maintaining relationships with buyers is key to any success you might have ..once you have that the cost of your product can become secondary ..

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

    Yes, if you can grow the business you’re worth your weight in gold, but imagine how much more i could grow it if I didn’t spend most of my time chasing late deliveries / apologising for short shipments / chasing up late payments / trying to resolve quality failures, and so on.

    When a large chunk of your day is spent dealing with problems, often meaning you’re getting yelled at (I didn’t load the truck! Why am I getting beaten up because your delivery isn’t on it!) and then you don’t make your bonus* because you lost the customer because of the third quality miss that year…… then come back to me and tell me how ‘easy’ it is.

    * which isn’t really a bonus because you’re actually on a low basic salary which only gets to be decent by hitting your targets

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    I work in sales, I chose a flat salary a few years ago, sometimes I regret it, but not always.

    In the past I’ve earned large amounts from Finance Sales, but people don’t see the downsides.

    To give some background, in 2007 I earned a 40K salary, and a 18K year-end bonus, plus other awards and bonuses – happy days.

    In 2008 the dept I worked for closed, instead of local reps and all that expenses, they replaced us with a call centre full of “snot nosed teenagers” and I was dumped into another dept, doing theoretically the same job just to a different target audience.

    I missed my Q1 target by about 15%, despite their being a global credit crunch and the fact I was in a new role, I was given a polite, but stern warning. 30 days later at the end of April two things happened, I spent a night at the Celtic Manor being awarded for my previous years performance, dinner with the big boss and a very nice room to myself and all that, I was also handed a formal warning of disciplinary for my current year performance. I managed to hold onto that job by the skin of my teeth with a 90% of target performance until I took voluntary redundancy and moon walked out the door.

    The next job I took was even better – I was fired for doing to well!

    I took a job with an Postal Accountancy Firm, when I joined they had 5 staff and a 60 seater office mostly empty and losing money hand over fist – I accepted a tiny salary of £17k with a bonus scheme based on new clients – within a year they had 200 clients, the year after 400, I was finally earning what I’d earned basic in finance, but sadly for me two things soured the thing – firstly, they were crap so were losing clients too quickly (but nothing like the rate I gained them) and because of the problems before I started the directors were drawing a salary lower then mine, because they’d rather keep the money in the business so they could retire when they sold for millions (will never happen) – at the end of that year they tried to double my target, I was already working myself half to death so I couldn’t just do more, they wouldn’t give me any staff so it wad basically a case of “work for £20k a year again” so I said no, and anyway my income / bonus payments were contractual – so they made me redundant instead and stole all my ideas.

    In short, to work in sales is to be disrespected to the point of hatred most of the time – you’re never involved in the core of the business you’re “just sales”. You might as well be self-employed because when things go well you might make 0.5% of the money you generate for the business, when things go badly you’re expected to produce miracles even if the stuff you’re selling is unwanted and over-priced if you don’t – you’ll be fire almost without a second thought. People in non-sales roles seem to be able to plod quarter-arsed for years, decades even because their performance is rarely measured like sales.

    Most of your colleagues will try to sabotage you – I work in the IT field now, I understand hardware, software and licensing to a level that most of my techie colleagues don’t – they can fix them, but they don’t have my knowledge to spec the stuff in the first place, despite this they contradict me to clients and introduce me as ‘the sales guy’ to new clients, which might as well be “here’s the professional liar we employ to steal money from you – please ignore any communication from him”.

    When I worked in finance I wasn’t an underwritter (at the time) so I was ‘thick’.

    When I worked in an Accountancy Practice I wasn’t even a bookkeepers, so I was ‘thick’.

    No I work in IT, I don’t even know CMD prompts, I must be thick.

    If anyone thinks sales is an easy way to make piles of money, by all means give it a go – there are almost no barriers to entry, Sales is full of people who were bright, but couldn’t be arsed at school.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    Totally agree P-Jay.  Well (if a little bitterly) put.

    I’ve retired from sales.  I know own my own bespoke furniture-making business (one man band).  But if I didn’t sell anything, I wouldn’t have any work.

    Remember folks, you might detest sales people but whenever you look forward to buying a new toy, you’re going to be giving all your hard-earned money to one.

    Premier Icon nickdavies
    Free Member

    It’s so much more than a tea and a natter. Knowing your customers, their needs, being able to put a face to the company. It’s a relationship, and that’s why they are paid.

    Granted those who just sit back and cream off office orders shouldn’t get paid but a decent salesperson makes the difference.

    Try it – living out of a suitcase for 300 nights a year is not as much fun as it sounds. I’d want a lot of money to go back to it.

    Premier Icon scuttler
    Full Member

    Then there’s this kind of thing… 😉 Happy days.

    Premier Icon techsmechs
    Free Member

    @Trailwagger – What role do you perform in the company that the rest of us can rip apart because we dont understand you role function?

    Premier Icon DavidB
    Free Member

    I do all the sales in our SME, it keeps the company alive. It is so so so so hard. Incredibly stressful and at times down right demoralising.

    You are talking about account managers not salespeople.

    Premier Icon dragon
    Free Member

    Are they salesemen or contract managers, a lot of companies seem to confuse the two IME. And a good salesman is not always a good contract amanger and vice versa.

    Premier Icon Hob-Nob
    Free Member

    As P-Jay says, the easy gig in sales doesn’t exist any more. We are the team that is driven and pushed to endlessly grow a business, even when times are tough, maintaining is not enough. You are reliant on everyone else in the business not to ruin the relationship you have invested in nurturing over a period of time

    Working in sales is not easy. The constant pressure of various targets, politics, and difficult clients is a strssfull life. If it’s so easy, why don’t you try it?

    I’ve worked in sales for a long time now. I’m fortunate enough to earn very well, managing a team of 22, which is a mix of externals, internals, technical support & general support staff. It’s not easy endlessly motivating a team to keep pushing on. They work hard for what they do, and some will come close to earning what I do – why shouldn’t they if they are prepared to push themselves to higher levels? The more a salesperson earns, the better the business is doing.

    I’d argue being in sales is tough, managing a reasonable sized team properly is probably tougher!

    Premier Icon poolman
    Free Member

    A mate of mine thinks he is a good salesman, keeps getting sacked as he is just an order taker and has little empathy.  I ve told him many times to refocus his efforts but to no avail.  If i got sacked once i d be gutted, seems if you are sacked 20 times you just take it on the chin.

    Bad salespeople are so obvious, i m no good at it, thankfully i dont have to be.

    Premier Icon rmgvtec
    Free Member

    Having moved from a senior technical position to a sales position it is seriously tough but then the buzz of an order is very rewarding. I am lucky though that my basic makes up 3/4 of my total salary to ensure i don’t compromise the technical side too much.

    Premier Icon Hob-Nob
    Free Member

    [Quote]<span style=”color: #444444; font-size: 16px;”>Bad salespeople are so obvious, i m no good at it, thankfully i dont have to be[/quote]</span>

    Oh yes, they don’t tend to last long, the damage they can do to a business though is substantial.

    That said, a poor environment with a sh*t manager can cultivate a similar effect. Having experienced that a few years ago.

    I did a one year stint for a company which was shambolic from the word go. I should have walked in the first month, but I felt maybe I could have done the impossible at the time. As a salesperson it’s the only time I’ve ever missed a year end target in my career – and I left almost to the day after I started.

    I remember when I was thinking about leaving, I wrote out all the positives and negatives – the latter was 3 times the length. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of open job offers on the table which maybe influenced how I behaved, but nevertheless it still messes with your head emotionally – have I turned into a failure, etc.

    Now I can look back and laugh, and I still took something from it, mainly don’t be a tw*t to your staff, all it does is cost you time, and money.

    Premier Icon razorrazoo
    Full Member

    I work in new business sales for a large software company. I can understand the sentiment of the OP in relation to some sales jobs (there will always be the order takers), but to generalise against the profession as money for nothing shows a deep lack of knowledge.

    I earn good money (assuming an element of luck, and lots of hard and stressful work), but to think of it is easy is not (you’re only ever as good as your last deal). ‘Order takers’ would not last more than a few weeks at my company (in fact they’d be very lucky to have got the role here in the first place).

    Premier Icon Coyote
    Free Member

    I support our sales people in anyway I can. If they don’t sell, the company struggles, people lose their livelihood. If it’s such an easy job, or “money for nothing” then why aren’t more people successful at it?

    Premier Icon JackHammer
    Full Member

    Hi P-Jay,

    Very insightful look into your world and thank you for sharing. I have a question and I’m not trying to offend so don’t bite my head off in way of reply.

    So for the second place you worked, where you said they were losing clients almost as fast as you got them. How do you sell and keep selling when you know effectively the product is crap (whether that’s a service or whatever)? Doesn’t that hurt a little inside or are you able to switch that off? I remember when I used to work for Halfords and it almost physically pained me to sell a BSO trax or shockwave full aspension bike, I would try and steer the customer towards something less rubbish.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    No easy gig here. As a result of last years good performance I receive a 3% rise on my base yet a 25% rise on my target.    75% of my target is new business. Bear that in mind when I say my comp doesn’t kick in until I reach 50% of target.

    Dragging my arse around the UK, endlessly negotiating with business, legal and operational hurdles to close a contract, building new strategies and ideas to generate business, up selling, learning new software and associated business benefit and outcomes to preach, managing accounts with tea drinking non rev gen visits AND managing internal staff through activity to assist a sale when it’s not there primary job, then as above have an axe over my head isn’t easy.

    But there is adrenalin, flexible hours (often in the wrong direction), expensed hotels, Starbucks etc if that’s your thing, great money over target, above target rewards and most of all for me an ever changing challenge.

    It can be very rewarding, yet very stressful – YMMV.   But if you can successfully perform all the he tasks above you are setting yourself up for a wide range of opportunities in business with those skills.

    Premier Icon globalti
    Free Member

    The OP fails completely to understand that to the customer, the salesman is the face of the company so can make or break the relationship.

    My job exporting to Africa consists of convincing people who are accustomed to being ripped off and cheated that we are a reliable, honest company who won’t cheat them. The irony is that if we wanted to, we could cheat them and they’d be none the wiser but we don’t because quality is what is keeping us in business. We sell, customers pay, we make profit, employees earn a living. The product we sell them enhances their own business and they prosper, and so on.

    The best compliment anybody has paid me recently was when my customer in Sudan said to me: “You know, I sometimes consider you as a brother Muslim, because you trust us!”   We enjoy 100%  of his business which is highly profitable and problem-free.

    Premier Icon ballsofcottonwool
    Free Member

    We are paying for their ability to sell which includes themselves when it comes to negotiating their pay packet.

    Premier Icon Nico
    Free Member

    Does anybody read the original posts here? Trailwagger made a very valid point and loads of salesmen jumped on him as if he had said there is never any justification for high pay for sales people. Strewth.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    Ballsofcottonwool – If you owned a business, how much would you pay someone who say, reliable brought £1m of revenue, then £1.2m, then £1.5m and so on…?  How much extra would you pay them if they grew you companies reputation,, and found new business area for you to address?

    Good sales people can be very valuable, but equally bad salesman can do a lot of harm.

    Nico fair point – seems the OP’s company’s comp model is a bit shit.  And btw our PreSales get paid on deal closures they’ve assisted on also – why wouldn’t they?    I would say that that renewals – in my business anyway – are not always easy nor a forgone conclusion.  In fact I’m dealing with one know that has gone out to open procurement with some very testing additional requirements.  I’m having to work hard to re-work my proposal to re-secure the business vs some very hungry and more flexible peer competition.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Did you?

    He said “<span style=”background-color: #eeeeee; color: #444444; font-size: 12px;”>It feels like they are getting paid huge sums, just for completing paperwork!”</span>

    and “<span style=”background-color: #eeeeee; color: #444444; font-size: 12px;”>What skillset are we paying through the nose for?</span><span style=”background-color: #eeeeee; color: #444444; font-size: 12px;”> “</span>

    In a thread titled “Salespeople – Money for Nothing”

    and we told him exactly why his perception of ‘just completing paperwork’ was wrong and what the skills of a proper salesman are.

    Which, BTW, includes reading or listening to what someone says and understanding what they are really saying behind that message 😉  Which was that salespeople are a bunch of paper pushing glory boys that are vastly overpaid for what (he perceives) they do.

    [edit – and how long will it take to fix this chuffing quote function]

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Full Member

    Even if we order online the company rep still gets his comission

    Premier Icon Denis99
    Free Member

    Never worked as a salesman, but knew quite a few , if not all, in the last company I worked for.

    They work really hard for their salaries, and I wouldn’t begrudge them their hard earned pay.

    I could never do their job, it takes a special type of person in my opinion, usually very driven.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    I forgot to add, I’m a 20 year professional services consultant manager converted to Sales 4 years ago and in my 3rd year of field sales this year.  I too saw the shiny suits, alledged commission cheques and flash cars and formed a similar opinion.  I’ve learned a lot on this side of the fence, and those before me I sneered at are still here as very successful UK Sales directors – one is my manager.  Clever people who know how to drive and create business.

    Premier Icon trailwagger
    Free Member

    Ok, so I`ve calmed down a bit now and have to admit that I don’t hate salesmen (well not all of them) and actually appreciate what a good one does.

    A new salesmen joined our company today and before he has sold a single item he gets a huge salary, a brand new jag and all expenses paid. It just made me jealous that’s all.

    Premier Icon andyrm
    Free Member

    <span style=”color: #444444; font-size: 16px; background-color: #eeeeee;”>Now, I get that a good salesmen can really make a difference in certain situations but most of our sales are to existing customers with repeat orders. You could stick a snot nosed teenager in front of them with zero experience and still generate the same amount of sales.</span>

    That’s often a common misconception – what’s the rest of the market sector doing? Are competitors stealing market share? Is the end consumer sector in revenue decline? It could be that retaining those orders from repeat clients is actually a bloody big ask and not something someone less skilled could do.

    As always, there’s usually lots more considerations when you look deeper….

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    A new salesmen joined our company today and before he has sold a single item he gets a huge salary, a brand new jag and all expenses paid. It just made me jealous

    He won’t get all that salary up front, but might get fired before he’s had a chance to, but it does sound like your organisation is a bit messed up.  I’m my world you have to demonstrate success before you get reward AND they ask for a P60 at interview to avoid overselling a salary requirement.

    Think about it a different way – for example I’m getting all my expenses paid this week, but I won’t see my kids until Saturday morning.  And the first post I posted I was in Starbucks shivering with a cup of tea and banana loaf cake as my late lunch.  I’ll arrive in Edinburgh at 10:21, and be rising at 5:00am to ensure I get to Melrose where I am working for 9am.   Oh and by the way, in between posts here I’m communicating with customers, building a business plan for my Q3/Q4 pipeline, doing my admin all on a 2 carriage Arriva Wales train – oh the glory!

    Premier Icon hugo
    Free Member

    Sales is not the easy option.  Seeing successful sales people in the account management stage can be envy inducing, but getting there is often anywhere from quite tricky to brutal.  The sector I started out in had an attrition rate of 80-90% in the first 18 months.  Sink or swim.

    Been there, done that, did it well, realised I didn’t want to do it outside my 20s, and changed from poacher to gamekeeper.  Now I teach.  Enjoyed all of it.

    The film Glengarry Glen Ross is a wonderful study of the pressures, often, involved in sales.  Jack Lemmon’s character in it was the inspiration for the desperate salesman in The Simpsons.

    Premier Icon MTB-Idle
    Free Member

    trailwagger

    <snip>

    It feels like they are getting paid huge sums, just for completing paperwork!

    Salesmen should be selling not completing paperwork

    Premier Icon MTB-Idle
    Free Member

    theotherjonv

    don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

    Then say whatever you want. You are a mile away; and you’ve got their shoes!

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    doing my admin all on a 2 carriage Arriva Wales train 

    You need to get yourself a swanky car.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”>”Hi P-Jay,</span>

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”> </span>

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”>Very insightful look into your world and thank you for sharing. I have a question and I’m not trying to offend so don’t bite my head off in way of reply.</span>

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”> </span>

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”>So for the second place you worked, where you said they were losing clients almost as fast as you got them. How do you sell and keep selling when you know effectively the product is crap (whether that’s a service or whatever)? Doesn’t that hurt a little inside or are you able to switch that off? I remember when I used to work for Halfords and it almost physically pained me to sell a BSO trax or shockwave full aspension bike, I would try and steer the customer towards something less rubbish.”</span>

    Hi, nah I’m not offended.

    Couple of things at play I supposed.

    We gained clients at about a rate of 15 a week and lost about 5, so bad, but still growing.

    I’ve never, not once, ever sold anything I don’t believe in. I’ve never ripped anyone off, never lied, never told a lie of omission.  There’s no point in what I do – I’m Technical B2B sales, we need lots of low-hassle repeat business, not a quick buck.

    The ‘second place’ – their product was brilliant and it was fairly unique at the time – it’s been superseded by Xero and Quickbooks now, but it was pretty special back then. I thought it was brilliant, it was one of those ‘Better AND cheaper’ things that should have changed the industry, but it didn’t.

    It was the execution that lacked. I think probably caused by the bad days before I started the directors wouldn’t or couldn’t invest in staff either numbers or quality and the service suffered, by the time I realised (I took the role of Head of Customer Service in additional to Sales Manager towards the end of my time there) the rot was well set-in. I was told that if I increased revenue we could recruit more staff and the service would improve as the economy of scale improved with more clients (they’d over invested in a massive office before I started – we used approximately a 3rd of the available space and even that space was half empty) but they lied, they were greedy and hell-bent on making the place seem as profitable as possible short-term to sell up.

    It all fell apart not long after over some money owed and promises not fulfilled about improving the business and they cooked up a plot to make me redundant.

    I supposed I was knowingly selling a crap service for about 6-9 months, but was working my arse off to make it good – but it was never going to be.

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