A methodology to identify key performance indicators and to implement a long term development strategy.
Many sales managers, with a direct sales force that is geographically dispersed, find it difficult to manage their team. Indeed many commentators on management theory suggest that this is the most difficult management position of them all. Can a sales manager truthfully answer these questions in the positive?
“Do you know who your best sales people are and why?”
“Do you know how to take the skills of your best sales person and map them to your less well performing sales people?”
“Do you know how to develop a consistent, measurable approach to converting prospects to orders?”
To identify the key areas that make top sales people successful requires that each aspect of what they actually do is identified and the outcome of each action measured against results and targets. For instance there is no point to setting targets of 6 visits a day if the sales person is working on a Key Account and selling say capital goods where one or two visits are the norm. It is also necessary to measure the quality of each aspect as well as the quantity. There is no point in carrying out 6 visits a day when the quality of the visits is poor. It is also important that company targets or goals for products, customer types or even segments are taken into account, so that any targeting is consistent with the efforts that are required of the sales person.
In order to achieve RESULTS that the company requires, EFFORTS need to be expended by the sales person on the group of CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS that are often referred to as the pipeline or funnel. It is this group of customers and prospects that is the raw material for the ‘order factory’. By identifying each area in terms of quantity, quality and results an internal benchmarking process has been achieved.
A spreadsheet summarizing these figures was produced for each sales person. From this the cause and effect relationships as well as short and long-term trends were analysed. This analysis was carried out by the field sales manager, who then produced an action plan for remedial action. The action plan was developed each month with the sales person concerned to obtain commitment to the process and to ensure the timescales on each action plan were sufficient and adhered to.