Sales performance down? Maybe you’re assigning the wrong tasks
Your sales team is under a lot of pressure because it has the primary responsibility for generating revenue and bringing in new business. However, you may notice that performance is slipping over time. This can be the result of a variety of factors. Your sales representatives may be spread too thin or your compensation plan may not be in line with the amount of work they do. However, it may also be as simple as the wrong tasks are being assigned to certain salespeople. Reconfiguring workloads could eliminate some of the lackluster performance because representatives will be able to focus on the things they do best.
With the start of the new year, you may be assessing your sales team and trying to determine what it could do better in 2014. However, you can’t expect change to happen overnight, according to The Globe and Mail. If it turns out that some management practices or assignments need to adapt, it can take some time for the effects to be felt throughout your organization.
The problem may be your sales management procedures
The issues at the core of insufficient sales performance may not be that you have a team of people who aren’t right for the job. Inc. Magazine suggested it may be the result of not having the right management processes in place to set the team up for success. Here are some problems that could be impacting sales effectiveness:
1. Sales managers overstep their boundaries
If a manager makes a surprise visit to a representative’s client, it can be frustrating for your team and confusing for the customer, Inc. said. Your salespeople may not be as motivated to try, and clients could lose confidence in the capabilities of your company.
2. Too much paperwork
No one wants to spend the whole day generating reports or filing papers. Inc. gave the example of a company that had salespeople who spend 10 percent of their time requesting approvals for sales quotes. Not only does this decrease productivity for a sales team, but it can also delay the buying cycle if clients are waiting around for this type of information. Reporting should always be focused on generating more sales, otherwise it’s detracting productive time away from your reps.
3. Setting unrealistic goals
If you’re expecting your sales team members to double their revenues in a short period of time, you may be dooming them to failure. Skilled sales professionals are typically extremely goal-oriented, but they have to believe their objectives are realistic to give them their full effort.
4. Assigning the wrong tasks
Each member of your team is different, which means some people are naturally inclined to perform certain tasks better than others. It may be an effective strategy to ask your team members about their personal skills and what they consider their best qualities during their performance reviews. It can help you assign duties based on some of their preferences. Certain reps may be better at closing deals than others who are best at pitching. An online marketing system can help you assign tasks based on capabilities to ensure you aren’t losing revenue.
Once you’re playing to your sales team’s strengths, you can start to see better results. Refining your processes and changing how tasks are assigned can make a big difference in how effective your employees are at achieving their goals. Instead of cracking down on your team to improve performance, small changes may be the way to go.
Eric Murphy is the Digital Marketing Manager at ActiveDEMAND. He is responsible for driving the marketing strategy for the ActiveDEMAND integrated marketing platform. He has a strong background in online marketing, communications and working closely with sales teams. For many years Eric was an evangelist and marketer for the industrial communications community through guest articles, maintaining industry blogs and speaking at conferences and other events.