There’s no denying it. An organization’s success rate is linked to efficiency. Efficiency, by definition, is the ratio of effective or useful output to the total input in any system.
Let’s not kid ourselves; sales are generally the least efficient part of any organization. Most of you are well aware that such inefficiency exists… How could you not be? After all, I would assume that consistent underperformance in a specific area would attract some degree of attention. Then again, I would also assume that such areas of underperformance would be subject to an increase in evaluation metrics or measurement. So why aren’t they?
What Sets Sales Performance Apart?
Performance, in terms of sales efficiency, is unlike any other business operation. It isn’t measured the same way that others, such as manufacturing, supply chain, distribution or accounting, are measured. As a matter of fact, there are no performance standards in place. Consider lean principles for optimal production in manufacturing, Six Sigma for process improvement and variation reduction, GAAP, etc. What is the equivalent in terms of sales efficiency? There is none. Sale efficiency is lacking; not only in performance, but in effective ways to measure and control that performance.
There are severe consequences to the lack of performance standards in sales:
- No common process
- Poor forecasting
- Low performance metrics, low conversion, high turn over
- No accountability
Many do not understand good metrics. The use of scorecards and forecasting are great, but how do we know what a truly optimized sales operation looks like? To further complicate things, the concept of human nature must be accounted for. This is one intangible aspect of the sales process that is not incorporated into traditional forecasting.
In terms of human nature, productivity doesn’t always register as a top priority. Do you find that to be true in your organization? What’s driving performance productivity? Do you battle to keep a consistent pipeline and are you continually filling the pipeline?
Remember, one success shouldn’t mean a temporary snooze until the next ‘goal’ needs to be accomplished. After all, true, lasting success is a matter of efficiency.