Navigating Sales Force Effectiveness: A Strategic Approach

"In today's competitive business landscape, organisations strive for growth, enhanced customer value, and a competitive edge. Despite strategic visions and innovation drives, execution often falls short. Our immersive field visits with sales teams revealed critical weaknesses contributing to high churn and low sales effectiveness.

Sales Employee Life Cycle:

We identified nine key parameters for analysing and enhancing sales force effectiveness, illustrated in the life cycle of a sales employee:

1. Right Profile:

  • Avoid recruiting leaders from competitors.
  • Steer clear of sales-at-any-cost cultures.
  • Engage local recruiters for better alignment with specific requirements.

2. Interviewing Skills:

  • Provide field managers with training on interviewing skills.
  • Implement structured and uniform interview questions.
  • Introduce a process for local-level reference checks.

3. Expectation Setting:

  • Avoid overselling the job; be transparent about job realities.
  • Showcase job, culture, growth prospects, challenges, and opportunities.

4. On-Boarding:

  • Assign a process owner at the head office for onboarding compliance.
  • Invest in e-learning for self-paced learning and periodic assessments.

5. Training:

  • Prioritise skill-based training over product-led programs.
  • Support classroom training with on-the-job coaching.
  • Ensure managers track changes in working post-training.

6. Target Setting:

  • Set KPIs promptly; provide within 15 days of assignment start.
  • Invest time in educating and reviewing KPIs.
  • Avoid adding past deficits to new joiners' targets.

7. Performance Reviews:

  • Focus on lead indicators in reviews.
  • Use dashboards for in-depth analysis.
  • Embrace IT automation for effective decision-making.

8. Coaching vs. Telling:

  • Recognise the value of coaching for frontline managers.
  • Measure coaching impact on team performance.

9. Rewards and Recognition:

  • Monitor incentives to drive performance.
  • Share success stories to build conviction in pursuing ambitious goals.

Investing in sales force effectiveness yields a multiplier effect, influencing business outcomes, sales teams, channel partners, and competitors. It should be a strategic intervention for superior execution."

Author: Sushil Luniya, Partner at X-PM India, leaders in Transition Management.

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