Scaling a growing company and a Medicare sales department is a tricky thing to do. Scale too soon, and you run into funding problems. Scale too much and you wind up with layoffs for your sales team. Scale too slowly, and the competition may beat you to your market share. It is a battlefield that waits for no one, with very little room for error.
Of course, scaling your Medicare sales team effectively can result in long term growth and production, with the sustainability of loyal customers and reliable staff. To achieve this, companies must avoid common challenges and ensure the focus of building long term demand within a strong market is maintained, rather than focusing on short term, tactical measures that invariably come with an expiration date.
Many companies that start to expand their growing sales department face similar challenges, such as:
- Starting with competing on price
- Failing to change management structures accordingly
- Ignoring early warning signs of impending issues
- Forgetting to trim while things grow up and out
- Choosing the wrong people to add to the team
As a sales executive tasked with scaling an entire sales department the with longevity in mind, there are a lot of things you have to look out for and be accountable for. We designed this newsletter to help you stay focused on the right aspects of your team, and to avoid some common mistakes made when scaling sales departments.
5 Tips to Scale Your Medicare Sales Department Effectively
Tip #1: Forget Price Competition
It can be tempting to compete on price alone. When companies scale and increase their production, it is easy to look for ways to cut prices to remain competitive. This might very well include reduced break times for sales reps, lowered salaries, caps on commissions, or other decisions that can cut prices overall but won’t sustain department growth overall.
Competing for best price seems easy enough, but in the end it will push your department toward a race to the bottom, not just for profits, but for quality of service provided to leads/customers and service to your employees. Focus instead on maintaining quality and customer service as your points of interest. Selling on value with reasonable prices, all things considered, is more profitable long term.
Tip #2: Help & Support Your Management Structure
One of the worst mistakes companies make when it comes time to scale their sales efforts is that they neglect to change their management structures accordingly. This isn’t to say that you should get rid of previous managers who have done well in the past, but it does mean that you should equip them with the right resources to succeed.
Don’t force existing management or leadership who once worked with 50 employees to now take on 300+ employees without the right tools. Scaling your sales department will naturally bring challenges and in order to adapt, leadership needs to have a support structure in place to do so properly. Small businesses can deal with a flat management structure, but burgeoning sales departments for large companies need more defined leadership trees.
Proportionately distributing the sales roles and goals within your internal teams will take a lot of weight off of management’s backs, allowing them to focus on the future, and will also give the individual sales teams themselves more time with their management, which leads to more effective management and group success.
Tip #3: Refocus Efforts On Internal Training
Expanding upward and outward will always bring challenges to any company. Many of these manifest early on, so don’t ignore the warning signs. Sales departments cannot afford to turn a blind eye to issues pertaining to personnel or productivity.
When growth occurs, especially if it happens rapidly, every staff member will be pushed out of their comfort zone sooner or later. So, confront issues as soon as they arise rather than allowing them to compound, resulting in long term damage to the important growth.
Taking a week or two to focus on internal training and honing your processes as best as possible to align with your future goals is a necessary step before onboarding a massive influx of sales employees who will undoubtedly suck up a lot of managerial resources during their training period.
Put simply, if the ship is not tidy before bringing in a ton of new help, small problems that would usually be caught and fixed easily may fly by the wayside while all of this large scale change is happening rapidly. It is best to make sure everyone is on the same page before and during onboarding in order to make the scaling process as smooth as possible.
Tip #4: Trim the Fat, Make Room for the Hungry Mouths
When companies scale quickly, they tend to add a ton of employees in small periods of time, but rarely focus on removing some of the weaker links from their chain. Many companies fail to sustain their scale because they don’t trim the fat, so to speak.
Company growth might mean that members of your sales staff are no longer needed, or can be replaced by more efficient methods/employees. Trimming back on departments and staff when they are not working is an integral component in avoiding failure. Your sales department can only grow well if you trim fat where you see it.
While this can be one of the hardest things to do as a manager or executive, letting people go who you have developed a relationship with over years, sometimes it is the best thing you can do for the continued growth of your company.
At the end of the day, a chain is only as good as the weakest link, and no matter how much young blood you get into your sales department, if you have people weighing it down, you will never reach your full potential. It is better to look internally to promote from within, and remove people who are not performing well before looking outside of your company to bring in new talent.
Tip #5: Growing Too Quickly Kills the Pine Tree
Have you ever noticed the sheer stupidity of pine trees in terms of the way they grow? While they may be some of the tallest trees in your local forest, you will note that not many of them can live nearly as long as oaks or maple trees. The reason is, they grow so tall to feed just the branches on the top of the tree, neglecting the ones all the way up each side. This eventually causes them to have difficulty growing taller and getting the nutrients needed to support their massive height, and they quickly die off, while smarter trees with better instincts for scaling remain for hundreds of years.
This analogy is absolutely perfect for businesses trying to grow their sales department. You hear about it all the time in the headlines, “Salesforce lays off 1,000 sales employes this week”, and dozens of other lines clamoring about the rapid scaling and descaling of publicly-traded tech companies that revolve around rapid growth to satisfy investors.
And while your company may not be public (yet), you can learn a thing or two from our friends the pine tree and Salesforce. While you may need to beat the competition to market, and grow your business rapidly, there is no substitute for steady, compound growth.
Sure, it’s great to grow your company 200% in a single year, but not so much if it means that for the next decade you will barely grow at all because you have reached full market penetration. While this can open up lots of revenue to pursue other avenues of service offerings, it is generally not sustainable, and usually leads to a lot of the problems we have already listed above.
Put simply, don’t scale too fast. There is such a thing. Make sure your roots are strong, and your main branches stay healthy, with stable growth rates. You want to remain competitive and set your sites on bold goals, but you also want to remain realistic, focused, and obsessed with performance. As long as scaling does not get in the way of overall performance, and long term goals, you have nothing to worry about.
What Are Some Problems Sales Team is Facing?
Every week, the team at Digital Market Media releases these posts to help our audience continue to dominate sales in their industry, and grow with us.
But we want to hear from you now. What are some things that your team has been struggling with? What have you been doing well?
Let us know by adding a comment below! We would love to hear from you, and help your team to achieve your sales goals.
As always, thank you from the entire DMM team.
For more information on growing your Medicare insurance sales, please read this article Medicare Supplement Live Transfer Leads: A Buyer's Guide