The field of sales management is quite a bit different than it appears to have been in decades past. Declining revenues does not immediately mean that the product is no longer fit for the market, it probably means that sales management is measuring the wrong things.
Sales Forecasting and Reality
Quite normal is the assumptions that are made that “all is well” when sales performance is at or above goal. When sales seem to be below or declining steadily, another belief system takes hold, and no one in the organization is at ease.
Sales revenues only tell a small part of the story. Sure, sales is a great barometer for checking productivity in terms of revenues to support the operational goals, but there’s much more to think about. When forecasting sales the belief is that the goal might be aggressive but achievable. Factors outside the market and within the sales organization need examination.
A manufacturing company utilizes a set of protocols produced by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards are based on best practices to measure incoming quantity and quality of inspecting the manufacturing and production of finished goods.
Not every business is a manufacturing entity, so these standards are not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that not setting standards is acceptable. Standards beyond revenues generated and deals closed, as well as understanding the importance of quality and output meet or exceed your standards set.
Often these questions come up when evaluating the sales team that is under-performing. They are:
- How much of my team is truly performing?
- How will I be able to determine that factually?
- How good is my sales force anyway?
- What do I do if I can find out?
- How long will this decline in revenues last if I don’t take independent action to correct matters?
- Who is the most qualified to undertake this examination and correction of findings?
Building a World-Class Sales Organization
Sales organizations are complex beings. At the end of the day, building a sales organization that can compete with the world’s best is no easy or quick feat. Thus, the value of a competent sales consultant.
These individuals have the ability (or should have) to understand not only the math, but the behavioral and psychologic sciences that comprise an effective sales team.
Left to themselves, sales managers will try what they are knowledgeable of, which may not include all of the “tools and nuances” that should be utilized to change and grow a world-class sales team.
Unfortunately, many sales managers experience fits and starts when attempting to change behaviors and performance using the old approaches, which, for the most part, don’t work:
- Utilizing specialized pricing; last-minute discounting, purchase incentives only diminish price elasticity
- Assigning increased quotas to existing sales professionals
- Shifting to a sales specialist overlay model – which results in too much conflict between sales and management
- Trying an integrated sales model – which can fall apart as the conflict with co-sales attempting to sell high end and low end at the same sales call befuddles the consumer