In the previous post, we discussed the number of new challenges companies face today that hinder their attempts to reach sales growth expectations. These challenges mean that companies must shift their focus to improving their sales performance if they want to survive in the market place. In order for companies to boost their sales performance, they must track their sales force efficiency (SFE) and their return on investment (ROI). The question then remains; how?
Improving ROI and SFE does not come without challenges. Companies have to examine what is causing poor sales ROI and SFE. Often times, resource constraints can prevent this process from happening. Each company also has its own unique set of influences that causes poor ROI and SFE, which means different strategies are necessary to suit each individual situation. In terms of improving sales ROI, misalignments of company strategies, marketing & sales strategies, and sales force strategies can also prove to be a major issue.
Although these issues can pose quite a challenge, there are still a few general suggestions that can be utilized to improve ROI and SFE.
- On the macro-level, avoid sole focus on good products and strategies. Consider also the close alignments of company, marketing & sales, and sales force strategies.
- On the micro-level, pay attention to these variables: clear understanding of external environment, effective product/service value proposition, consistent business development and sales processes, well‐sequenced activities along the business calendar, interaction between relevant people to make high‐quality go‐to‐market decisions, leading‐edge tools and frameworks to guide decisions, clear employee responsibilities and skill requirements, talent development for sales and business development professionals, reliable metrics and performance‐management systems.
- For a quick fix (Not a long term solution), identify what differentiates the company’s top performing salespeople from the low performing salespeople and then encourage the low performing salespeople to model the behavior of the top performing salespeople.
- Companies should ask themselves the following questions:
- Are the salespeople targeting the right market segments?
- Are the salespeople knowledgeable about the targeted markets and customers?
- Are the salespeople well‐trained to sell the product/service?
- Are the salespeople equipped with effective sales tools?
- Are the salespeople ramped up efficiently?
- Are the salespeople conveying the accurate product/service’s value proposition?
- Are the salespeople offered with the right opportunities (leads)?
- Are the salespeople managing their time efficiently?
- Are the salespeople utilizing a lean selling process?
- Are the salespeople motivated to achieve good performance?
- Are the salespeople turn‐over rates fairly high?
Unfortunately, improving sales ROI and SFE is a complicated task. There is no secret solution to this problem. However, if you take into consideration the above suggestions, you can develop a strategic plan that will aid in this process.