Improving Sales Performance
For every complex problem there is always a solution, that’s simple, neat, plausible and wrong.
In this rapidly changing world even the most progressive organisations find it difficult to produce consistent sales results. Responsibility for inconsistent results can be attributed to market conditions, competition from low-cost regions, the movement of the dollar (ours and theirs), rapidly changing technology, consumer confidence and a host of other reasons.
Valid as they may be the business environment is unforgiving. Though we can cut and reshape our organisations to make them slimmer and more cost efficient, it’s not enough. Particularly in the sales environment. But there is only so much that can be gained from liposuction in the ‘Asian Decade’. We are now only provided with an assured future if we continue to manufacture, source, distribute and sell our products and services at a profit.
Introduction to Sales Performance Auditing
At a time when we are trying to improve our results, it seems that we managers are often guilty of looking for a straightforward solution to invigorate our business, as if there was a single major cause of our problems.
Sometimes, we tend to over-emphasise people as the cause of our problems and to underestimate the role that the work environment plays. This results in our applying a fix to individuals in the workplace, rather than working to influence performance by addressing the environmental issues. For example, when the problem is in Sales, we change the commission structure, or sales territory strategy, we conduct sales training, do some team building or even recruit more sales staff.
Sometimes we consider that work demands are the cause of our lack of sales activity. Thus, we address work practices, we demand more information from our sales staff and we demand that they use systems and processes that are designed to make the supply of goods and services to the market more cost effective. In so doing, we underemphasise the importance of people to the performance equation.
The model that we have chosen derives from the work done by members of the International Society for Performance Improvement. This is a holistic model of Human Performance in Business (HPB) that forms the basis of the Sales Performance Audit. HPB is a management discipline with a weight of theory and casework. Human resource personnel have embraced it, as have corporate trainers, as it is they who have seen that change management and training, even applied professionally, with impact and in concert, do not consistently produce the results that management expect.
Harold D Stolovitch, HPT Institute 1999 offers the following comments on performance gaps.
- Lack of performance in the workplace is far more frequently caused by environmental 75% rather that individual factors – 25%.
- Nevertheless, we continue trying to fix the individual rather than the environment.
- It is cheaper and more effective to fix the environment.
Information 35% Consequences 14% Design 26% Capability 25%
The methodology developed by Ron Pollak to give management the best possible view of all of the strategies available to meet the needs of their changing organisation is a Sales Performance Audit. Sales Performance Auditing is designed to observe, analyse, assess, recommend and report.