Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are Your Sales Practices Up To Snuff?

Most companies have a set of Sales Practices that are essentially composed of three primary elements: sales forecasts, key performance indicators, and CRM management software. Ironically, how companies use these three elements often result in impairing and alienating their sales staff, rather than achieving their sales goals. So how do companies avoid this alienation and achieve their sales goals? Check your sales practices against the following questions:

Who Determines your KPI's, Metrics, and Sales Forecasts?
A company's metrics and KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) should be determined by the Sales Director, the Financial Director and the Managing Director. These KPI's tell the sales teams what they should be doing. An example of a KPI would be "Our pipeline is four times of our annual sales target" or "Our conversion ratio of opportunities to closed orders is seventy-five percent." The key here is that the sales director takes the point in the determination of these standards, making the final decision as to what's realistic. This includes your Sales Forecasts. If Finance or any other department determines these standards, you're ultimately setting yourself up to fail.

Who Determined your CRM Solution?
Were your sales teams ever consulted when your company chose your CRM solution or asked about their requirements? If your team was left out of the loop, you can bet they view your CRM software as a hindrance and not a valuable sales tool. Your sales management will also find it difficult to get the sales team to provide information about the status of their opportunities and the evolving needs of your customers.

How are your Sales Processes messaged?
How have your processes been communicated to your sales staff? Your sales staff is the vehicle for your company's products and services. Do they really know why your sales processes even exist? Do they agree with these processes? Has the value of the process been communicated to the sales teams?
Do they know why other departments may need the information and how will it help them to increase sales? If the answer to any of these is no, you have to improve your messaging.

Do Your Performance Reviews Encourage Better Performance?
Without a doubt, an inadequate performance system will result in reduced productivity, low morale, cynicism and high staff turnover. What you need is a process that cultivates creativity and encourages individuality through constant improvement and regular feedback. The problem with giving feedback according to the fiscal quarterly is that it suggests that your processes are all about bean counting, rather than people. This feedback loop will ensure that everyone participates in the sales process. Finally, you need to regularly rewarding team successes in order to increase morale and promotes high levels of staff retention.

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