JCL Blog

Capacity of a Salesperson

How many salespeople does a country need in order to achieve its GDP growth? Can salespeople increase GPD (pull us out of a recession)? If we only had enough salespeople, we could put the whole country back to work. Clearly the world is not this simple, but hidden in a ridiculous argument like this may be a few interesting things to think about.

Every industry has its key metrics and just about every industry has salespeople.  From what I can tell the mid point in salesperson production is about $1 Million in revenue and $100,000 in compensation.  A Starbucks Barista would generate much less and get paid much less, and a bond salesperson on Wall Street -- well much more on the pay part anyway!

So I know this number is weak, but let's just go with it for this discussion.  One salesperson = $1M in Revenue.

The other day I analyzed 8 tech companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM....  Together those companies generate $400 Billion in revenues.  Using our little formula above, they collectively would need to have 400,000 salespeople to generate this amount of business.  Even though they collectively employ 900,000 people, clearly half of their employees are not in sales.

So where do all of those other sales come from?  Some from automation (Google's service apparently sells itself), but most comes from channel partners.  Partners ranging from the distributors, to the retailers, to the four person computer consulting company in Everytown, USA.

Despite what has been happening on the NYSE the last few days, the economy is showing signs of life.  Our President is looking for ways to get more jobs into the recovery.  Many economists are pointing towards small business as the place where the hiring is going to happen.  Well the President should be proud because this is exactly what we are seeing happen right now.  

The large technology companies are ramping their channel partner programs up in a big way.  This is presenting many opportunities for growth in their channel partners, and those channel partners are hiring.  And for every 100,000 new salespeople we will grow a whole IBM ($100B) worth of new GDP.