THE BOTTOM LINE
Sales managers have faced the same challenges since long before CRM applications were
invented. However, new tools and technologies are making their jobs easier. The future
of sales performance management is integrated with CRM and social collaboration. It
helps managers provide real-time coaching and motivation in context to drive better sales
behaviors and, ultimately, better sales results.
Since the first inside sales team was built, sales managers have had the same challenges:
how to find and train sales people, reinforce good sales practices, reward top performers,
and correct bad behaviors. Today, with many companies now on their second or third
generation of CRM applications, the same challenges exist:
At a very basic level, companies need to drive effective adoption of SFA applications
so reps are entering the information they need to accurately forecast pipelines.
On an ongoing tactical basis, they need to be able to identify coaching opportunities
and performance problems so they can take corrective action and provide ongoing
coaching when it is most appropriate.
On a strategic basis, they need to be able to identify top performers and their best
practices and determine how to make more of their “B players” into top performers.
Because average performers often make up the lion’s share of the sales team, the
ability to improve their performance – even by increasing their close rates by a few
percentage points – can have a significant impact on the top line.
Traditionally, sales performance management (SPM), sales training, and coaching were
three separate activities, with SPM focused mostly on incentive compensation, quota
planning, and territory management.
Sales training was typically handled once or twice a year through sales kickoffs and
structured training sessions, and coaching was handled on an ad-hoc basis. Without
coaching on a continuous basis to reinforce what was learned in training, the typical sales
person retains fewer than 20 percent of what was taught. In most sales organizations
today, if coaching does happen it’s typically undertaken by individual managers, without a
system to scale coaching throughout a sales organization.