Isn’t it frustrating when a word or phrase is carelessly thrown around? All too often, language is used in this way because meaning is assumed. Take ‘sales force effectiveness’ for example. It seems relatively self-explanatory; the effectiveness of your sales force. But what does that mean exactly?
The Lack of Definition Makes Things Pretty Complicated
First of all, it is always easiest to criticize that which we don’t understand. In this case, ambiguities allow for blame to be misplaced. Citing sales force effectiveness as the reason for non-performance is simple. Given the fact that the definition of ‘sales force effectiveness’ is unclear, it remains susceptible to challenge. The bottom line is that it’s hard to make a stand against accusations in favor of the sales force when there really is no baseline for what ‘effectiveness’ truly means.
This Brings Us to the Second Problem…
The definition of sales force effectiveness depends on who you are talking to. Talk to finance and you will find that effectiveness is always correlated to the numbers. Marketing’s connection to sales will center on their messaging and sales support and how these elements are tied to effectiveness. Talk to HR and you will undoubtedly hear about morale. Maybe you’ll also hear about the compensation plans that are available and how important the proper incentive is to producing motivation and subsequently, effectiveness. The reps themselves will agree, but surely their focus will be on the actual day to day work. They’d tell you performance is dependent on the number of calls they are making, the quality of the leads they are getting and the resources that are available to them. Sales managers may cite recruiting, hiring, and training as a major matter that affects their sales force.
At the end of the day, the sales force can only begin being effective once an expectation is established of what exactly that will entail. That means it’s time to start defining things. You can begin by setting clear, actionable and measurable goals for your sales force; goals they must meet in order to be effective.