Sales force automation not giving the results

Sales Force Automation software, sales tracking tools have been some of the latest technology trends to help companies improve field sales effectiveness, sales efficiency resulting in overall sales productivity improvements.

Any organization which relies on field sales force would love to have a dashboard of what is happening on sales from prospecting to the closing of sales for each of sales rep.

Sales leaders never had the luxury of having near real-time data sitting in the office of field sales. Provided the accurate data is available, it gives a great advantage to know what is happening on the field and take proactive actions.

Using sales data analytics, companies can benchmark best practices, analyze what steps in the sales process need more improvement, which products sales reps are able to sell and sales managers can coach sales reps on specific improvement areas.

Rightly so, most companies have realized this importance of sales force automation and accompanying advantage of sales analytics. Companies have invested significant money, resource and time to adopt new technologies to capture sales data to monitor the performance.

Though the intent is right, our studies show, the results of adopting technologies such as sales CRM, Sales Force Automation (SFA) to capture field force sales data is not really not giving the desired sales results.

We are talking to many companies and what we hear is, they realize in theory using technology such as Sales Force Automation is necessary, but they are not able to see the promised results.

The  ROI is not noteworthy and few companies we talked to are even thinking of reverting to old excel form as they see challenges adoption from the sales team.

What is preventing the sales teams to leverage technology?

From our experience in sales delivery, sales management, we understand the reasons for this. The 3 key issues which generally gets reported from management and team members are,

  1. Compliance issues of the collection of data,
  2. Lack of understanding of how the data can be used to provide actionable insights
  3. Everything is driven from top management, resulting in a feeling among team members of being overburdened with a new process to already existing process.

The critical reason for the lack of any transformation among the sales team is, the whole activity of sales analytics is driven with intent from the top.

The sales team who are asked to collect, submit their sales data are not made aware of how doing this activity helps them? A basic question of “What is in it for me”? for salespeople is not answered.

Trying to operationalize the sales process is not yielding results. Most sales managers or field force member language remains the same of talking about sales numbers and sales results which are assigned to him.

He doesn’t understand clearly how capturing the data of say, How many follow-ups he made, What time he visited the customer, How many customers he met in a day will help him improve his sales.

He thinks it is more of monitoring his performance than enabling him to do a better performance. This makes the whole program ineffective.

What is required to change?

Sales teams must become aware that, sales performance is due to a combination of many factors such as market trends, customer buying process, competition in the market, product benefits etc.

Though salesperson has no control over many factors, with his efforts, competency, and skills he can influence the sales results in his organization favor. But the fact is not all effort or activities gives equal results. Some actions give better results over other actions.

Example,  an activity of follow up of customer gives different results if the follow-up is done for high potential customers vs follow up of low potential customers. Similarly getting new leads with cold calling vs getting new leads with referrals has different results.

So, it is critical to know that what actions give the best results and how to monitor and improve those.

In the article, Key Data Analysis Skills for Sales Managers we covered 7 data analysis every sales manager and sales executive must focus and plan their efforts towards that.

To leverage technology, the key skill and knowledge required are of the understanding that monitoring the efforts gives insights on what efforts can give us the best sales results.

The GrowthAspire custom workshop

At GrowthAspire, we have designed and developed a custom workshop to address this very issue of helping sales managers become more data-driven and leverage technology to drive sales.

“Data Insights for Sales Managers to Maximize Field Sales Productivity

The objective of the workshop is to make the sales team instead of being averse to data, we want them to love the sales data they capture. The program equips manager with necessary tools, techniques to derive meaningful results and actionable insights from the data their team is generating.

The team’s need not wait for top management to communicate what change required. It is being done at the lowest level itself. This fundamental belief change of how capturing data can help his own performance will make a huge difference to sales team success.

The result of this program will be better relationship b/w manager & field force, increase productivity and revenue growth. More than 300 managers have taken this program from pharmaceuticals and financial services company.

Their feedback is of better engagement skills, more interest in using data and are talking to teams and management with data insights. If you are keen to more, please contact us to discuss further. For program details, click here

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