To help illustrate the application of resource planning science and best practices, the following real case study offers a holistic glimpse into both the art and science of the depth of strategic planning required to propel your sales organization forward in 2012.
A leading Information technology consulting firm faced shortfalls in customer retention as well as a decrease in new business acquisition. The situation was dire and the CEO appointed a new head of sales and provided an 18-month window to turn around the performance.
Initially plans were developed with three core tactics put into place to stem the downward trend:
- Increased accountability to metrics was needed, but the result was doubling the sales manager and reps reporting time resulting in less selling time.
- Phone time monitoring software was installed to assess cold call count/length.
- Marketing developed personas and content for key customer decision makers.
The initial efforts had unintended consequences in selling time, and while the phone monitoring and marketing support were beneficial, they did not address the root cause.
Resource Planning and Sales Force Sizing Analysis
Analysis of the sales force was performed through the use of multiple tests selected from core resource planning tests performed by world-class companies:
- Activities Test
- Competitive Test
- Customer Test
- Financial Test
- Morale Test
- Pipeline Test
- Sales Response
The resource planning included sales force sizing tests, SPM (Sales Performance Management) analysis, and structure analysis. The study revealed the following insights:
- Sales force sizing identified too few sales people in hunter roles in New Business as well as too few reps selling to the Mid-Market.
- The Activity Test provided one of many insights that revealed the lack of sales staff in New Business and Mid-Market.
- Role analysis determined the need for specialists involved in pre-sales support.
- The specialization impact was mapped by product and sales phase
- Gaps were identified and addressed
- Sales structure analysis indicated the need for a Global Account Management team.
- Global Accounts require and benefit from a single contact (Global Account Manager)
- Role Experts gain scale by supporting the Global Account Manager
- Performance management analysis highlighted the need to focus on quality appointments vs. call volume.
The following strategic activities were implemented:
- Resource planning resulted in adding 12 sales reps to the Mid-Market and 4 hunter sales reps to New Business team.
- Accountability was enhanced through scorecards Introduced to all sales reps with expectations for appointment and opportunities per week.
- Global Account Management program was initiated for the top 20 accounts.
The resource planning and strategic analysis resulted in a plan of action to stem the decline and completely reverse course. New sales reps were added, increased accountability was implemented through the scorecard, and the Global Account Management program secured the top 20 accounts.
In summary, investment in resource planning and analysis involved structure, sales force sizing and overall SPM resulted in a winning formula for success.
For your convenience, an executive summary of this example has been documented in a deck posted on the Sales Benchmark Index Slideshare area below:
Sales force sizing and structure – Are You Ready To Be World Class View more presentations from Sales Benchmark Index