article | November 26, 2011
Sales Performance Management: Getting A Fighting Chance
Sales Performance Management can be a task full of nuance. Are you looking at the data wrong? Did you jump to an inappropriate conclusion? Maybe. But maybe you never had a fighting chance.
On my last blog an observant commenter pointed out that the improvements and insights afforded by BI software integrated with the CRM is essentially of no value if the data that is in the system is not correct. While I’ve been blogging, there has been a presupposition that the inputs to any SPM solution are correct, but how does this align with the real world? From my experiences, not that well. While there are sophisticated sales forces out there that have great processes and users that follow them faithfully, it remains very common for less mature organizations to treat the CRM as a necessary evil.
There are two common places where issues will occur:
Both of these, though, start with having an established process (even if that process is flexible). This applies from inquiry to close. SPM relies upon data to provide insight into something. If that something (i.e. the sales process) is a hodge-podge of individual practices, assembling comprehensive data about it as though it were uniform doesn’t make sense.
An analogy might one of your reps driving from point A to point B on a roadmap. Each driver leaves from the same places, and ultimately tries to get to the same place, but they are taking completely different routes as they see fit every time. You are looking for information on how long each leg of the journey took in order to improve it. Sure, we can look at the overall time to get from A to B, but gaining insight from a series of random patterns is a difficult task. The system must be set up around the intended “path” and must be in a useable format.
Now let’s take what was a difficult task and add on the prospect of the data not being consistently entered. If a sales process is not established or enforced, there is a good chance that sales reps will be spotty at best when entering their information. Tracking is not their priority, making the sale is, so this makes perfect sense in their minds. Meanwhile, though, the visibility into the results gets cloudier, hindering the job of management to effectively identify areas for improvement.
What does this all come down to? Garbage in, garbage out. So, when you are trying to determine what is hindering your progress at Sales Performance Management, consider that finding new ways to look at the data may not be the most important thing until you get the inputs right. Addressing the Sales Process or other items upstream might not only bring its own inherent benefits, but might also open up a whole new world of insight for you and allow you to land the hits you are seeking.
If you are looking to explore your options for SPM, Sales Process, or other sales force effectiveness drivers, SBI can help shed light on the situation.