Are Your Sales Teams Effective?

Measuring the effectiveness of your sales team is a challenge, because it isn’t always quantitative, especially as it relates to the day-to-day operations. This, admittedly, seems rather counterintuitive in such a numbers-driven area of your business. It’s sales! Where an increase in sales is good, and a decrease in sales is bad. Quantitative.

So, if your sales are increasing, that surely means your sales team is effective. Right?

Does Correlation Imply Causation?

Let’s look at it from the opposite side of the spectrum. If your sales are decreasing, is your sales team suddenly becoming less efficient? As the saying goes (and as any data analyst knows), correlation doesn’t imply causation. And if sales status doesn’t necessarily decide effectiveness, how do you determine if the teams are being effective?

There are a few questions you can ask yourself that will help you determine the answer.

Examining Processes

First, are your sales teams gathering the right information? Do you have a standardized process or roadmap that team members can follow to support their business intelligence efforts? Although more seasoned business development personnel may not need a detailed checklist, it can be helpful to have job aids available for reference when needed.

How do you, from a management perspective, determine if they’re gathering the right information without a point of reference? Ensuring that all parties are on the same page can mitigate issues with the quantity, focus, and level of detail of the information being gathered.

Asking the Right Questions

Secondly, do they understand what to ask the government, and when to ask questions? Strategies around this can be learned through periodic training and hands-on exercises. And, as your personnel gain experience in networking with government customers, their abilities in this area will continue to improve.

Having the Right Tools

Is your company using a software system for capture management? Software systems can be invaluable in streamlining processes and helping sales teams improve their effectiveness. Consistency is key! Although excellent tools, software systems are just that – tools. They won’t do all of the work for you, so periodic audits or spot-checks of the content are needed to ensure uniformity.

Grading and Evaluation

Lastly, have you implemented a method to grade (measure) efforts – defining a systematic way to assess how much relevant data has been collected and how well the customer knows you? Are the captures being graded honestly for the benefit of the company? Is senior management actively involved in periodically reviewing the grades to identify trends? Accurate self-evaluation is difficult to come by. Some personnel are overly critical, others are more…ostentatious. Knowing the personalities of your sales team members will help as you review graded capture efforts.

Final Thought

Remember, even the most seasoned and productive sales teams will experience cycles in their sales numbers. Ensuring consistency in processes, conducting periodic check-ins, and communicating expectations will help with monitoring effectiveness of your sales teams throughout your organization.

About Skip Blackburn