Sales Effectiveness

Highly effective sales forces or teams are focused, engaged, and enabled. In practice, few manage to perform really well across all three dimensions. We share some of the most important attributes below. We use these to inform our assessments of sales force effectiveness and support subsequent improvements:

FOCUSED

The right customers / prospects

  • Customer and prospect profitability fully transparent and understood, with sales attention prioritised accordingly (e.g. by industry, organisation size, growth, or other attributes)
  • Appropriate attention split between hunting and farming

The right channels

  • Cost to serve fully transparent and understood – by customer and channel
  • Continuous initiatives to shift customers to lower-cost sales channels without compromising effectiveness

The right products or services and value

  • The ‘right’ products and services are promoted to customers and prospects, informed by current and likely future customer preferences and the competitive landscape
  • Solutions shaped against customer needs, with pricing protected by value
  • Formal feedback loops in place between the  ‘front-line’ and product/service development

Performance management

  • Sales performance visible and understood by all through regular tracking, reporting, and management against (just a few) KPIs
  • Performance variances are acted on immediately

ENGAGED

Culture

  • Culture is informed by an organisation’s values and reinforces high performance
  • Sales team performance managed on the ‘how’ as well as ‘what’

Leadership

  • Leaders are successful role models and effective coaches
  • Leaders strike the right balance between support and assurance
  • Leaders interface successfully with peers across functions

Incentives

  • Incentives are fully aligned with expected performance and periodically reviewed
  • Incentives are fair, stretching, appropriate basic vs bonus split (no caps)

ENABLED

Competencies

  • The whole force scores well on technical (e.g. product / service knowledge) and sales (e.g. how to negotiate) skills
  • Development plans in place with allocated budget

Processes

  • The end-end sales process (find, win, set-up, grow, retain, lose and win back) streamlined and consistently adopted, supported by the right systems (e.g. CRM)
  • Processes continuously reviewed and improved to maximize value-adding sales time

Organisation

  • The sales force has the right structure (hunting, farming, inside, field etc.) and is appropriately sized (size informed by goals, no. of accounts etc.), with wide spans of control