The "Business Value" of a Great Sales Team by Marty O'Neill

In 2012, 15% of accredited business graduate schools offered a curriculum in sales.  In 2016, the probability that a college graduate, regardless of their major, would work in sales at some point in their careers, was greater than 50%.  In 2016, less than 100 of the roughly 4,000 US colleges had sales programs or even sales courses.  So, we are left to ponder the impact on business when only a small fraction of the 170,000 yearly MBA grads or the approximately two million undergrads know anything about sales.  It simply can’t be good!

Middle market companies are constantly on the hunt for great sales managers and productive sales professionals.  They are continually experimenting with new sales assessment tools, making changes to their sales management processes and buying into new and improved sales training.  Sales competency is critical to their survival and essential if they plan to thrive.

The business value created by a repeatable sales process manifests itself in consistent sales and revenue projections.  Companies able to forecast with accuracy and consistency provide their stakeholders with confidence in the future health and well being of the enterprise.  Stakeholders such as investors, bankers or shareholders, look for consistent sales forecasts which are supported by historical results. Consistent, repeatable and forecastable sales create business value in the organization by delivering a repeatable revenue stream.

Some may argue that the traditional sales roles have disappeared or changed dramatically given the shifting nature of buying patterns.  There is certainly no doubt that each industry has its own unique set of “selling parameters”, but the profession is far from dead. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of sales and related occupations is projected to show a slight rise from 2018 to 2028. 

Value is also created in consistency within your sales operation.  Hubspot suggests the average turnover in sales teams is around 25%, meaning that if you have 8 reps, you’ll lose two of them within the year.  It is a rare accomplishment for any business to deliver consistent sales with high turnover.  

Great sales teams deliver consistent sales. Consistent sales leads to monthly and quarterly revenue results that meet forecasts.   Forecasts that are met leave a value creating smile on the faces of investors, bankers, and shareholders. So, the next time you see a smiling stakeholder … thank the sales team!

Marty O’Neill is a Managing Partner at Chesapeake Corporate Advisors. CCA is a boutique corporate advisory firm that has been successfully serving investor-owned and closely held emerging growth and middle market companies since 2005. Headquartered in the iconic Natty Boh Tower within historic Baltimore, Maryland, our team of managing directors each brings 30 years of experience. Together we provide a collaborative, holistic approach to serving clients in the Mid-Atlantic region. For middle market companies looking to create business value with the help of our strategy services, and/or realize value through a merger, acquisition or other transaction, CCA is ready to stand with you, guide you through the process, and help you achieve your goals.