Resource Planning - Art or Science


Step #1 – Assess

The five classical teststoevaluate the current size of a sales force are listed below.  Completing all five, allows youtoquickly and accurately decide whether your sales team is sized correctly.  Each test is different and provides insightsto multiple stakeholders: sales, marketing and finance.



We’ve already covered the first two; let’s discuss the last three.


Selling Activities Test – How are your salespeople spending their time?  A simple wayto assess your sales force size isto track how time your reps are spending on selling and non-selling activities.  Surveys and call activity logs as well as sales manager reports can be leveragedto benchmark selling activities.


Competitive Position Test – What’s your competition doing?  Another wayto evaluate the size of your sales force isto compare itto your competitors.  Good competitive intel ensure that you are not outshouted by your rivals.  For example, if your competitors are increasing their sales staff, you should seriously evaluate the same so notto lose any “share of voice” in the market.


Financial Test – What’s the ROI on incremental sales force investment? A breakeven analysis provides great insight into proper Sales Force Sizing.   Check out a previous post for a detailed look at the financial test: Adding Reps to Meet Revenue Objectives – The Financial Test


This closes the loop on Step #1 – Assessing the existing size of your sales force.  The next step is to determine the right size.  How may heads to add or cut?  When attempting to resize their number of reps, most sales leaders don’t take the time to methodically analyze and compare market demand to the current capacity and bandwidth of their sales team.  To be effective, the best Resource Planning techniques incorporate market dynamics in the analysis.  Unfortunately, most sales leaders ignore market needs and follow a few common approaches that focus primarily on cost and affordability.  Next time will cover some of these popular but incomplete techniques.




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