In a successful organization, sales is part of everybody’s job. Most firms have only a few persons who are actively engaged in generating revenue. There is often tension over being billable and helping to secure the next project. This is not limited to management. Staff at all levels feels this tension, so the action of least resistance is to limit selling activities to a few senior staff. The result is a firm who’s financial and staff health is at the whim of the economy. Hiring followed by layoffs. Profits followed by losses.

Sales is part of everyone's job

Sales is part of everyone’s job

What does selling by just a few staff have to do with the attachment to an economic cycle? You are right, there are many factors that influence financial and staff health. Regarding the breadth of involvement in sales, my observation is this is one of the largest factors. There are only so many hours a person can work in a week, and it varies based on each person’s capacity. Those few persons involved with selling also have only so much capacity to focus on cultivating relationships, identify opportunities and close new contracts. If ten other persons each generated 10% of the revenue the senior person achieved, the revenue of the group doubles. I supported several firms who implemented programs to foster company-wide participation in sales. Growth exceeding 15% a year was achieved for over ten years. One firm exceeded this growth throughout the recent recession.

There are several barriers that must be overcome to obtain broad participation in generating revenue. What are they? Are they intuitive or are some counter-intuitive? Can they be overcome? Share you experiences here or on Twitter or LinkedIn.