What do your sales effectiveness drivers say about your sales organisation?

mr krabs.001

I was busy and skipped my usual Sunday post; but in response to those special people who contacted me today I’m submitting this, my final in the five-part series on the dimensions and drivers of a winning sales organisation. Today’s discussion is on the subject of sales effectiveness drivers-a subject of much debate.

As Zoltners et al put it, sales effectiveness drivers are about the decisions, processes, systems and programmes that sales leaders are responsible for.

Popular sales effectiveness drivers

So what are perceived to be the main drivers of sales effectiveness? Here’s their list of the most common. Did you think of all of them, or do have something to add to the following?

  • Sales strategy (market segmentation, value proposition and selling process)
  • Sales force size
  • Sales force structure and roles
  • Sales territory design
  • Recruiting
  • Learning and development
  • Culture
  • The sales management team
  • Leveraging information
  • Compensation and incentives
  • Goal setting and forecasting
  • Performance management

Theory X and Theory Y

One size fits one, and we can never be sure exactly what’s on the minds of our salespeople. Do we really know what precisely what they want, and what will motivate them? Should we even consider McGregor’s motivational Theory X which essentially assumes that people work only for money and security? Or how about his Theory Y which, if implemented, could result in a high level of motivation as employees work to satisfy their higher-level personal needs through their jobs. Or is it a combination of both? And are these models still useful nearly 60 years later?

Culture, motivation, and productivity in two competing firms

While I have no scientific basis for making definitive conclusions, in my travels I have noticed that too many managers have taken the position that the key to sales force productivity is compensation. If they pay their sales teams high rates of commissions that’s it. They can now demand blood! Which brings to mind two direct competitors that supply a range of edible products to hotels, restaurants and the retail trade. Both are very aggressive. But one has a Market culture-a focus on competition, achievement and “getting the job done.” And they have one strict rule for their salespeople. Your week-ends are for you and your family. They work hard and play hard, and while not earning top dollar, morale is relatively high.

The other has a rigid hierarchical culture. They are highly structured and controlled. Fear of making an error is never too far away. Nobody breaks the rules. Further, the sales force is required to work six days per week to ensure that their customers are never out of product. As for the delivery crew! They all hate it; but the money is good.

But there’s another side to the story. Although they employ different sales effectiveness drivers they are the leaders in their industry, but one by a wide margin. Now, can you guess which of the two sales forces has higher productivity and which company has higher profitability? And can you guess which has the better corporate image?

Herman D. Alvaranga is president of the Caribbean School of Sales Management. Shrewd managers call him instead of looking outside the region for world-class sales and marketing consulting and sales force transformation.

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