SDM/U3 Topic 7 Sales Force Productivity, Sales Force Appraisal
Sales Force Productivity
When it comes to your sales force, productivity is all about making sure you keep your agents engaged in activities that lead to sales outcomes. It’s up to you to remove as many of the obstacles that prevent sales professionals from selling as is possible and that you keep your team motivated and determined to surpass the sales targets that have been established.
It’s All About Attitude
If your sales force is deflated, it’s almost a given that sales revenue will be as well. The members of your sales team have to be motivated to perform above expectations for you to stand any chance of improving productivity. Make sure you’re aware of whether morale is running high or low within your organization and that you understand why. Keeping your eye on the corporate culture is every bit as important as watching the bottom line. Address any concerns your sales team may have about issues that detract from the generation of sales revenue.
Tools and Support Are Important
The more your sales force is bogged down by administrative and clerical activities, the less time they have to interface with customers and prospects. It may be a good idea to call a meeting with your IT, marketing and sales managers to discuss what tools can be implemented to make your sales force more efficient and keep them focused on winning business for the company. For example, as a best practice, most sales organizations use some type of customer relationship management software to give sales agents the ability to keep track of vital customer data and milestones. This can help agents better keep track of opportunities as they progress through the sales pipeline.
Smart Account Management
The most productive companies make sure that high-priority accounts are managed by the most seasoned and skilled sales professionals. Give less-seasoned or -skilled sales representatives the training and coaching they need with the ultimate goal of getting them to manage key accounts once they achieve mastery of specific skills. Re-evaluate the personalities and skill sets of members of your sales force to determine which representatives are most capable of handling a particular verticals, such as legal services, real estate or manufacturing companies. When you match the right account executive with the right territory, you should see productivity gains along with increased sales revenue.
Reward and Recognition
Research firm Gallup conducted a study that found retention and productivity were directly tied to the rewards and recognition that employees receive. Sales professionals relish in being victorious and enjoy it when their accomplishments are praised and incentives awarded for exemplary performance. The most productive companies provide regular and ongoing feedback to employees and make rewards and recognition an integral part of their sales culture.
Sales force Appraisal
Every sales manager and sales supervisor appraises the performance of the salesmen under his charge. It is unfortunate that the importance of organized appraisal is not recognised by many sales executives; some believe in accurate appraisal as it is not possible because of the nature of sales job and good many variables influence his performance; still, there are others who dismiss the idea on the count that such an appraisal is purely subjective and superficial and unsupported by facts and coloured by personal whims and fancies of the appraiser.
However, in spite of these problems of judging the salesman’s performance, reliable methods of evaluation can be developed to provide sound appraisal of salesman’s work. The principal methods of evaluating such performance can be of two types namely, qualitative and quantitative.
These reasons can be.
1. To bring about improvement in selling methods
Sales-force appraisal enables the managers and the sales supervisors to determine whether the salesmen are performing effectively so that necessary steps can be taken to improve their sales methods.
2. Appraisal answers such questions as
Is salesman getting right type of prospective customer?
Is he getting enough sales interviews?
Are sales presentations planned properly?
Are demonstrations effective?
How are they overcoming the customer objections?
Are they utilizing their time productively?
Are the sales efforts balanced between the high and low profit products? And so on.
3. To determine salesman’s worth
Sales-force appraisal enables the sales manager or the supervisor to determine objectively the real worth of the salesman so as to take definite decisions regarding his promotion, increments, transfer or even demotion or discharge.
Such an appraisal provides factual analysis of what salesman attained or failed to attain during a given period the reasons for success or failure. These provide impartial basis for concrete line of thinking and solid action.
4. To operate effectively compensation plans
An appraisal of sales- force performance is unavoidable for the operation of compensation plans which are to be based on his ability to sell a satisfactory sales volume or high profit goods or to operate at low selling costs. It may suggest changes in applying a particular plan of compensation to a given salesman or a group.
5. To improve sales performance
Salesmen are motivated to improve their performance over the past records because; the best can be further improved.
Recognition by management of the outstanding performance raises the morale of sales-force. A good salesman is interested in periodic self- evaluation for further improvement.
6. To improve the quality of supervision
Periodic measurement of sales-performance improves the quality of supervision work by providing supervisors with the facts and more complete information on the causes of poor sales-performance so that definite measures can be taken to correct the gaps.
7. To sweeten the relations at higher level:
Appraisal of sales-force performance makes available the people at the top such as sales manager, sales supervisors, branch managers and other administrative higher-ups to discuss, deliberate over the sales problems to chalk-out satisfactory solution.