Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Measure Sales Performance with More Than Numbers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Measure Sales Performance with More Than Numbers

Article excerpt

How often have you heard comments like, "John is the greatest salesman we have ever had," or "I have the best-trained sales staff in our business?" Just as common as careless comments like these are the informal and subjective methods that most businesses use to measure the performance of their sales force.

Management misses a great deal of valuable information when it does not have objective performance measures and comprehensive reports that show how their salespeople are performing. Many companies use quantitative measures to evaluate all kinds of financial and operational data but resist using quantitative measures to evaluate a salesperson's performance level.

At Tipton Centers, the St. Louis retail chain where I was president, we initiated formal appraisal procedures that allowed our sales managers to move away from the personal judgment used by most sales managers to evaluate their salespeople, and follow more comprehensive and objective evaluation methods.

In many businesses it is important to track how many prospects each salesperson contacts per day, how many sales presentations involve the salesperson physically meeting with a prospect and how much time is spent for each so called "field" sales call. It is also often important to measure how many calls the salesperson makes to each of his or her current customers. Some companies have found it helpful to track detailed information relating to the sale calls themselves, including how many of the company's products were mentioned during each sales call, how many attempts were made to close (ask for the sale), and how many attempts were made to find out the customer's interest in the company's products.

This type of monitoring can improve sales effectiveness because it makes the salespeople more aware of how well they follow through with the company's approved sales technique, and helps to keep them focused on these other important aspects of the sales process. But be sensitive to the need to compare similar factors, so that you don't compare a salesperson with a poor territory to one with an affluent territory.

Have the sales manager and the salesperson sit down and agree to the quantitative measures being used. …

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