How can executives improve sales, especially in new and emerging market segments with big potential?

It’s about the biggest question the suits confront every day.

If you are among them, Sidney Hinton, chief executive officer at PowerSecure (Nasdaq: POWR) since 2007 and a veteran executive in the power industry with experience in private equity, has some advice for you:

“There is nothing second tier, there is nothing – you’ve got to go after the very best people.”

And be willing to pay the price – “hundreds of thousands of dollars” – to recruit them.

Seek out powerful, top-tier sales people with track records who also have existing customers – even if they are already making big, big money – who might be interested in your services.

But Hinton also points out that executives need to be able to offer these top-tier sellers more than just a compensation package. Capitalize on the value that your company can provide, he says.

How to Drive New Business in Emerging Market

Some background: Revenues have soared 67 percent at Wake Forest-based PowerSecure over the past year, and its order backlog is at a record $248 million.

One reason: An emerging data center power services segment, which he says could have a “transformative” impact on the firm.

So how does he attempt to cash in on data centers, Hinton was asked during a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the company’s latest earnings?

“First we would acknowledge that we’ve said it before but we’ve stumbled at again the data centers relative to our – when we went out, we hired – we tried to hire industry experts. We’ve got a great one in the hospital market,” Hinton began.

“Candidly, we were after a really top tier person, he ended up as Senior Head of Sales for a publicly traded company, just to give you a feel for the caliber of person we were after. We didn’t get that person – we ended – we just stumbled …

“It got us off to a slow start at the data center but what we learned in the hospital market was – there is nothing second tier, there is nothing – you’ve got to go after the very best people, the people with the proven track record, the people that bring, they’re already selling their products and solutions and that’s what we’ve done.

“We’ve gone and acquired a really high end sales talent and candidly we won’t hesitate to acquire more in that data center and hospital market, it’s just incredibly beneficial.

“And the interesting thing is … when they see the value proposition that we can bring to their customer base, that’s what drives them to leave the company [they are] with.”

While not making “seven figures,” Hinton noted that they were “already making hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

More than Money …

They gave up “existing compensation packages” and “come to us because they know there is that much more value that we can bring to their customers and thus that they can deliver to their customers.”

Another benefit of hiring sales people with customers who would already be interested in the PowerSecure product suite adds another benefit: A shorter sales cycle.

“I would tell you we’ve cut the sales cycle down probably six to 12 months in many cases because of their familiarity with the customers, the customers’ trust in them and us just having to win the trust of the sales executive himself or herself,” Hinton explained.

For more insight from Hinton, read the conference call transcript online.

It just might pay off with insight that leads to better sales.