Notice lately that the word “optimisation” seems to be creeping into Corporate jargon more and more?  I have – or at least I think I have.  Bit hard for me to tell, because I am heavily biased toward the word.  I am hearing it being used across multiple functions…optimise the collections process; optimising plant resources; I even heard a lawyer talking about optimising the Precedents Library.  But what about optimising the sales team?

Optimising the sales team is a real “bitter sweet”.  Not easy to do, but the rewards are almost always huge.  Smart organisations that undertake this sort of exercise annually find it gets progressively easier and semi-automated.  So, what is it…what does “good” look like?  There are 4 phases relating to strategic sales team optimisation.

Diagnose & define          –   snapshot assessment

Prepare & streamline     –   sales team time/activity refocus

Design & develop            –   sales team optimisation

Implement & measure   –   sales exec effectiveness

Let’s take a quick look “under the bonnet” into each phase.

Diagnose & define –   snapshot assessment

Call the doctor in!  Get a second opinion.  We all know the dangers of assumed diagnosis of any problem without some rigour in investigation, interrogation and prosecution.  Good sales team optimisation includes the discipline of taking a snapshot assessment to see how well the sales and service processes are interfacing with the most important judge of all…the customers!

Prepare & streamline     –   sales team time/activity refocus

With the findings, interpretations and recommendations of the snapshot assessment to hand, a sales organisation can then streamline the product or service delivery process, to minimise time for the Sales Execs on the back foot fire fighting (either on behalf of the customers or the company)   and to maximise time to front foot proactive sales activity.  This will nearly always require some degree of process re-engineering, involving the Customer Service Team, the Sales Team and…the customers!

Design & develop    –   sales team optimisation

The preceding phases are both means and ends in themselves.  They are good business practices full stop.  But they also serve to position for maximum value for the sales team optimisation phase.   Sales team optimisation is directed at the system, environment and process in which all members of the sales team operate.  It is comprehensive and holistic and is borne of the notion that a dynamic, cutting edge sales system should direct members of the team in terms of how they divide up their time and effort and who to allocate it to.

Implement & measure   –   sales exec effectiveness

“The perfect beast”…the optimised Sales System needs to go into implementation, and now this is where measurement and reward systems kick in, along with the more individually tailored elements of Sales Exec effectiveness…training, coaching, mentoring for maximum skill and knowledge.