article | July 5, 2012
Is My Sales Force Size Optimized? Five Simple Tests
Successful sales leaders understand the dynamics between proper sales force size and performance. Deploy the right amount of resources into the marketplace to meet demand and you are on the right path to hitting your revenue goals.
So how does a sales leader know if they have a headcount issue? There are five straightforward tests to determine if you have a sizing issue.
A company’s sales force morale is impacted by improper headcount. High turnover in the sales force may indicate issues with sales force size. Widespread complaints of lack of opportunity or an unsustainable workload are indicators of a resource imbalance. An employee survey or a simple assessment from front line managers can provide good insight into the morale of the sales force.
Selling Activities Test
A simple way to assess your sales force size is to track how much time your reps are spending on selling and non-selling activities. Surveys and call activity logs as well as sales manager reports can be leveraged to benchmark selling activities. Your target should be 75/25 on selling vs. non-selling activities.
Market share depends in part, on the “share of voice” that a company enjoys through its sales force size. Large sales forces maintain a high level of visibility within customer accounts and thus participate in more sales opportunities as a result. Sales force size can be optimized to maintain market share even in a period of sales force size reductions. An understanding of competitor sales force size and their resulting market share are key elements to this sizing test.
A company’s customers can provide valuable insight into whether the sales force size requires adjustment. Your sales force may be too small if your customers complain that they are not sure who their salesperson is or they do not see them enough. A customer survey can be used to measure the current customer point of view.
What’s the ROI on incremental sales force investment? The cost of a sales force should not exceed the value it produces for the company. A break-even analysis can identify whether your sales force is too large or too small.
Driving revenue and containing costs are every sales leader’s priorities. The size of your sales force is directly tied to these two goals, so take the above tests here to determine whether you have a headcount issue. If you need help before or after the tests, please feel free to reach out to me.