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Sales effectiveness: a key concern for executives today

At the end of 2015, we completed some research on growth and what executives were thinking about. Our research said that sales effectiveness is one of the other key levers, aside from customer experience and product innovation, that our customers are struggling with. Interestingly enough, one of the areas within sales effectiveness that they didn’t consider a concern was sales methodologies.

Sales methodologies have been out there for years and years and years. It’s a 4.2 billion dollar industry. What we know is that sales retention after training, is actually pretty low. Only about ten percent, if that, within 90 days is retained. The other 90 percent after 90 days is lost. So whatever money you spent has a shelf life of 90 days. I think there’s better, and quite frankly, cheaper, ways to improve sales effectiveness than sales training.

The three things or areas that our research showed that executives were concerned about was one, “Do we have the right set of competencies within our sales organization to be effective?” The second one was customer experience – “How do we successfully step into this area of customer experience and truly make that a market differentiator in the markets that we choose to choose to play in?” And third, “is our structure and compensation helping us be effective?” Many times we’re organizing the sales force from an internal perspective. We organize them by product competency. Or maybe we organize them by geographical structures. We don’t really look at how the customer is organized, and should we be organizing ourselves around the customer?

What we do is, we come in and we help the organization align their structure so that it has the right kinds of span control, it has the right alignment to the marketplace and how the customers want to buy, and the third one was “are we getting the most out of our sales managers?” Most sales managers are promoted to sales managers or regional managers not because they’re great coaches, but because they’re awesome sales people. And we want to keep them in the organization so we give them a career path. But we don’t give them the tools to effectively coach those that are within their region or underneath them. And we do that fairly quickly. There’s not a single sales organization that wants to wait for a six month project to be done. We do these things in nice bite sized, very quick projects so that they can have immediate results on our client’s sales effectiveness.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.

Todd D. Wilkerson
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