Every sales executive is focused on how they can make their sales organization more effective. After all, we would all like to sell more, reduce our sales cycles, improve win ratios, and have more productive sales teams. The problem, of course, is that the concept of sales force effectiveness is so broad that it makes it difficult for sales executives to figure out what needs fixing.
To eliminate this ambiguity and improve sales performance, I would encourage sales executives to assess their sales organizations on the following five key sales effectiveness areas:
1. Sales Process:
- Do you have one?
- Does everyone understand the process?
- How well does it align with the way your customer’s purchase?
- Does the sales force consistently use the process?
- Has it proven to be effective?
2. Opportunity Management
- How do you currently manage sales opportunities?
- Do you have a sales pipeline with clearly defined stages?
- Are there objective criteria associated with each stage?
- What percentage of deals in the pipeline are dormant?
- How accurate are your sales forecasts?
3. Sales Efficiency
- Is your sales cycle reasonable given your average transaction size?
- How many calls/meetings does it take to win a deal?
- How much time is taken up by sales opportunities that do not result in wins?
- Is there any common characteristics among “deals won” or “deals lost” that you can learn from?
- What percentage of your proposals result in closed deals?
4. Sales Performance
- How long does it take a sales rep to become productive (i.e. ramp up)?
- Do all sales reps understand the key activities that lead to success?
- Are sales reps being held accountable for their sales activity levels?
- What percentage of your sales reps achieve quota?
- Your top 20% produces what percentage of your sales?
5. Sales Skills
- Do your reps have good prospecting skills? If so, are they prospecting on an ongoing basis?
- How effective are your reps at call planning?
- Are they proficient at identifying priorities?
- Do they present benefits (not features) that address their customers’ priorities?
- Can they effectively overcome objections?
- Do they have good closing skills?
This may seem like a long list, but as sales leaders these are the type of questions we should be asking and answering about our sales organizations. By identifying areas for improvement, we can develop targeted sales effectiveness initiatives and measure their impact across the sales organization.
About Norman Behar