Saturday 28 March 2015

How Do You Measure Your Sales Force After Training?

It is this exercise – to measure the sales force appropriately – that has the potential to break or make an organization. There are a few aspects of business that is standard regardless of size and revenue of the company and the industry it belongs – one of them is the measurement system for sales team. The sales lead has a huge pressure to explain and justify costs involved in sales if the revenue is not generated as expected, deals not won as assured.

Image Credit: LinkedIn Web

Measuring Outcomes

This huge dependency on the sales team to actually bring in the revenue makes this measurement exercise all the more crucial – This in turn brings the eternal question regarding what should be truly measured – Is it their efforts or results? There are unforeseen factors in sales, unpredictable situations depending upon client’s eco system and their priorities that can lead to orders slipping to the next quarter or getting cancelled or lost to competition. Is it fair to question a sales person’s efficiency in such cases where the effort was more than hundred percent and track record of the sales person only substantiates this was one off case.

To avoid attrition, it is important to measure efforts along with outcomes.  However, having said that, check credibility of the sales resource first – how often is it the same reason for an order loss? He either needs to have a plan B for revenue or another job every quarter. Did the sales training module address that?

Measuring Efforts

The flip side of measuring only efforts – how many leads created, how many proposals sent, how many client relationships built, how many conversions to next level – None of this brings in the real cash home – just a lengthy pipeline and a future of prospects with nothing concrete in hand at the moment. 
Measuring results counts. Again, if a sales resource picks three orders from different accounts worth a million dollar and another closes just one deal for approximately two million dollars – is it fair to measure just revenue (outcome) and not efforts? Stakeholder and expectation management in case of the former order must have been ten times more difficult. Did  you sales training take into account how to precisely measure efforts?

Key Result Area

Ideally sales people’s key result areas should be a combination of several factors. Target revenue every quarter, new client acquisition, efforts put in to create new opportunities and leads. Most sales people do not have a plan B pipeline for every month. The old saying POP: Perform or Perish still holds true. A sales professional’s daily activities are categorized – efforts for today’s order, tomorrow’s order and day after tomorrow’s order – In this manner an order can slip to next week, not next quarter. Yes, I am aware of the rationale and logic behind orders that take months to convert, get the drive – the shift can be from this week to next week, not next year. Expecting last minute changes should be accommodated in sales training

Measuring Achievements

If the sales team is gauged based on short term and long-term achievements – keeping a balance of efforts and outcomes, it will be fair to both the sales professional and the sales lead – to justify cost on sales and the flow of revenue without rigorous vigilance. As the sales resource cannot be singing the past glory always – his action plan automatically gets aligned to the measurement criteria – to address both outcomes achieved and efforts put in. A robust reporting system should capture all of this for MIS and measurement.

Reports carrying time spent with client, writing mails to build client relationship or introducing company, making those important sales calls, wait time before the meeting, traveling to client’s location, preparing reports etc should be discouraged, as if there is no revenue after all this, all of this is child’s play- a very expensive child’s play.

Sales training based on BECKON Model is a thorough assessment of your resources first, before we sign up to change their future in sales. 

This is an edited version of what was originally published by Triond

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