Sales force effectiveness is a key lever to driving business performance. An inefficient sales force can destroy value within an organisation, however, if you can get it right you can drive improvements in revenue whilst managing costs.
In a recent project, we worked with a sales team to significantly improve their overall performance by asking how the sales team are spending their day. We looked at what they were doing, who they were seeing and what processes they are following.
What they were doing – by looking at detailed data on client visits and working with the teams we found that the sales force was spending their time on service rather than sales. Visits with clients were all about service fixing issues and answering questions rather than focusing on sales. This was despite the business having a dedicated sales support team.
Who were they seeing – the data also revealed that the sales team weren’t spending their time with clients that drive the most value. Visitation schedules were unstructured. Client ownership was not clearly defined resulting in multiple sales staff visiting clients and client segmentation not aligned to value.
What processes are they following – we found that the sales team weren’t following a structured process when they were visiting clients.
These factors resulted in a high cost base and limited the sales force ability to drive revenue. To address the issues the team was restructured to segment the customer base, define client ownership, clearly define what the sales staff do and what the service team does and establish structured sales disciplines. The changes resulted in a 5% uplift in sales in first 30 days, a 50% improvement in sales per FTE and a 13% improvement in cost to revenue ratio.
By asking key questions about what the sales force were doing and the clients they are seeing and introducing changes to lift their effectiveness the business significantly improved performance.