barry somervell kindred vp salesKindred Healthcare, Inc. is a multi-billion dollar healthcare services company that operates hospitals, nursing centers and a contract rehabilitation services business across the United States.

 

We caught up with Barry the other day. He took some time to share with us his how he uses sales data to make informed decisions – an important dimension of Sales Performance Management.

 

Here is a recap of our questions and Barry’s answers. Enjoy!

 

Q: How has the discipline of sales performance management helped you manage the sales function?

Barry: We are still evolving but the Sales Performance Management Approach is allowing us to manage people vs. using our managers to micromanage task accomplishment.  Dedication to hiring and training to our ‘A’ player expectations provides a strong framework upon which we can have greater confidence in execution and some innovative thinking.

 

Q: How have you used sales performance management to connect the corporate and sales strategies to front line sales execution?

Barry: Transparency of the strategies, role clarity and team expectations provide a view to all of our stakeholders that did not always exist prior .  When all parties clearly understand the expectation more focus can be placed on execution of the plan.

 

Q: What role have dashboards played in helping you provide timely, relevant, and decisive information to the sales managers and executives?

Barry:  Our dashboards are still evolving but the pipeline reports have been extremely helpful in understanding the expected benefit from the efforts and allowing us to better resource each salesperson to close their deals.  Additionally, daily push feeds on progress against targets has heightened awareness and drive by our sales team.

 

Q: How have you connected the access to data and the reports you generate to decision-making at the executive level?

Barry: We recently went through a difficult expense reduction process and were able to make clear decisions regarding impact and alignment of resources to opportunities.  Without the data it would have been a less effective “gut feel” decision making process.

 

Q: What role do leading indicators play in your sales performance management approach?

Barry: This area has been more difficult to get our arms wrapped around.  Generally speaking we are making process changes to address our conversion rates from referral to admission.  Our Opportunity Pipeline tracking that is just beginning should give us a clearer picture of what might be on the horizon.

 

Q: What type of trending, scenario analysis, or modeling techniques have you employed to support the sales reporting function?

Barry: Customer trending and measuring our customer share has provided significant insight to our salespeople around where to focus .  Sometimes just showing someone how it’s possible is half the battle.

 

Q: What role has benchmarking played in helping you assess internal performance and compare yourself to external peer groups?

Barry: This is a future area of opportunity for us.  We are currently spending more time measuring progress from our starting point and against our internal performance goals.  We got some guidance early on in our process around where we were performing against “world class” that set in motion some of our process change so in that sense it’s been valuable to know what we needed to improve.

 

Q: What has been your greatest challenge in improving sales performance management?

Barry: Bringing consistency to the data aggregation has provided us the most challenge. We want to be a consistent contributor and having the baseline and improvement data to show that has been difficult to wrap our arms around.

 

Thank you Barry for your insights into the dimensions of Sales Performance Management. 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.

Once the leader of SBI Delivery, Mike is now head of the firm’s internal talent development, so he has had the fortune to help some amazing sales and marketing leaders. He starts by earning their trust. Much of this comes from his deep base of experience. With more than 25 years in sales, sales management, pre-sales and sales operations, he’s never met a challenge he didn’t like. And with backgrounds in sales leadership, marketing, and sales operations, he shuns the idea of being a desk jockey and relishes the idea of living in the field.

 

Mike maintains, develops, and leverages SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Maniacally focused on execution, Mike does not believe in giving clients fancy deliverables with no operational details. He knows that field adoption is key. After all, if behavior doesn’t change, the lift doesn’t come. Likewise, if those closest to the field adopt the solution, the client wins.

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