Here are five common mistakes that companies are making in designing your sales force.
1. Role pollution.
When salespeople are involved in customer service and support work, they’re not selling. Yet too often, salespeople spend too much time on activities that are not core to selling, such as chasing down information for customers, implementing installations or addressing technical issues.
While these activities are critical, the reality is that the company can and should have other, more appropriate resources to address these issues.
2. Chasing limited opportunities.
Many field salespeople spend too much time on customers that have limited sales potential. Often salespeople lack insight into the addressable opportunity at the customer level, but even with good information, they may gravitate toward smaller customers for a variety of reasons.
Allow inside sales that can provide much more cost-effective coverage of smaller customers and prospects, which in turn allows field sales personnel to focus on more valuable opportunities.
3. Fragmented key account management.
When a company is undisciplined in its key account management approach, it is essentially walking away from growth opportunities with its most valuable customers. One issue might be trying to treat too many customers as key or strategic, resulting in inflated cost of sales or diluted impact, as expensive strategic programs and resources are spread too thin or misdirected.
4. Flawed sales resource decisions.
Companies can leverage a wealth of data and sophisticated analytical techniques to optimize sales resource decisions, but many rely on intuition or simplistic financial ratios that ignore critical information. Such approaches generally fail to assess and consider sales potential at the account level or the effort required to execute the sales process for different customer segments.
5. Poorly designed sales territories.
The amount of work needed to cover target customers and prospects in a territory is often far more than one salesperson can accomplish. While it may look like these customers are covered on paper, they are not really covered appropriately, resulting in poor penetration, untapped customer opportunities and lost growth.
Getting sales force design right is complex and while critical, it may not by itself be sufficient to drive organic growth. In addition to sales force redesign, this company’s transformation included reassessment of its value proposition, revaluation of its sales talent, deployment of new value-based selling tools and processes, changes to its incentive plan and disciplined performance management.
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