|Sales performance management (SPM) has taken the turn into mainstream business. Like ERP in the late 1980s/mid 90's and CRM in the late 1990's/early 00's, SPM's day has come.
Contributor: Patrick Stakenas, President and CEO, ForceLogix
Like ERP in the late 1980's and CRM in the late 1990's, sales performance management's (SPM) day has come. Just hiring more salespeople or trying to acquire one's way to growth is not the way, understanding SPM and treating it with the same respect that you give ERP and CRM will provide significantly better results.
For years, managing back end financial and operational processes was done with one-off tools or spreadsheets. In the late 80's and early 90's it was recognized by businesses of all sizes that they needed specific applications to manage these processes, as the function was too critical to leave alone. The same thing happened with sales and marketing in the late 1990's - businesses of all sizes again recognized that they must better track their customers, leads, prospects, marketing campaigns etc., and the birth of main stream sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications occurred.
SFA and CRM brought considerable efficiency to the sales process in managing and tracking customer-related activities and contact management. Still, to date, little attention has been given to truly understand the strengths and weaknesses of every sales player every day and to focus on the leading indicators that can make a salesperson more effective.
Companies in all industries have realized that they must keep focus on what they have. They must give more attention to who is driving revenue and model those behaviors to top-line and bottom-line growth. Using technology to enable SPM is the key to managing this process. Just like ERP and CRM, businesses can no longer just get by as the function or process of managing selling is too important and training alone has not been the answer.
Just like having effective tools to manage customers, marketing and finance, it is equally important to have a process and supporting technology to manage the sales person, to manage sales effectiveness, and here is where you will have the biggest impact on revenue: sales effectiveness that drives organic growth.
SPM has become the next critical process that needs overhauling. Business has begun to recognize this but are way behind with their focus on process and tools that actually manage the sales rep.
For years companies have thought that just training the sales person, or applying a better compensation plan would drive the necessary revenue; it has not happened. Managing a sales person and understanding what drives that person, understanding their strengths, where there is opportunity for selling improvement, figuring out what the true leading indicators are to revenue and focusing on coaching to better the person's skill, method and attitude are the revelations companies are now having.
Some companies are trying to get at this through repurposing reporting systems, dash-boarding tools, business intelligence tools or building super Excel reports to try to better leverage data from tools such as CRM, ERP or HR systems. Other companies are investing in compensation systems or annual review systems, all of which provide a service to make the process of sales management more efficient, but they do not make the sales person more effective.
Gartner, Ventana, Sirius, The Conference Board of Sales Executives and many other analysts and research firms have been talking about this now for several years and companies that have come to this same conclusion are those that will be seeing a greater impact on results, even during times of a confusing economy.
Companies that have a consistent, measurable process around sales management and understand and see the future in managing sales management know that they must provide information, process and tools that are usable at the field manager's level, with a method to coach on the material, are far out ahead of their contemporaries.
Managing sales rep. information, and coaching on the true leading indicators to revenue will drive more revenue and the sales manager will know what to coach on to get more results.
It is time to wake up and stop relying solely on the sales person or manager to figure it out on their own. It is time to take SPM as serious as you have taken ERP and CRM!
The Management Curve is a blog dedicated to discussion and debate about the impact sales metrics programs such as CRM, Sales Performance Management and Sales Force Automation Programs are having and will have on how the sales function is managed. Hosted by Paul McCord, the blog also features articles and commentary by other sales trainers, consultants, product developers, and the sales managers and salespeople who actually use the products.