Sales Success Vs Sales Productivity – Are They the Same?

Sales Success Vs Sales Productivity – Are They the Same?


The sales force is super busy, they’re meeting their numbers, and the company reaches a ten-year high. Is this a successful sales force? Maybe yes – but maybe no. Here’s another one: the sales person gets the biggest commission check every month, and has more deals on her record than anyone else in the team. Is she a successful sales person? Maybe yes – but maybe no.

Here’s what we didn’t tell you about the first anecdote. That busy sales force? They’re working 90 hour weeks, taking lots of sick time, and creating more headaches for management. Worse, they sign up customers who disappear after six months. That sales superstar? She treats co-workers and support staff so badly they won’t work with her if they can avoid it, but she just can’t do enough for her customers. By now, the customers love her but distrust your company and will probably follow her to the competition if she leaves. Worse yet, these customers’ deals are not as profitable as they could be.

When the only metrics are deals and dollars, then “success” can obscure things. We forgive the rogue superstar, or avoid disciplining her. We overlook the low conversion ratios, missed work days, and overtime hours of the high producing team. Why? We’re afraid to disrupt the flow of income. But what about profit, retention, efficiency?

Success and productivity are not the same. PRODUCTIVE sales teams bring in lots of profitable business and maintain long-term high-value relationships with customers at less cost and with better teamwork in-house. A sales team can be successful without being productive, if you’re only measuring dollars.

Productivity doesn’t just happen. It requires serious attention to the way you manage and deploy the sales effort in your company. Use the following checklist to assess your team’s sales productivity:

Tip #1: Customer Retention is High. The sales force concentrates on its best customers. Customer defection is measured and kept at a low. The team works hard to optimize these customers and keep them on the “A” list.

Productivity Insight: It costs more to bring in new customers than it does to keep old ones. If you must constantly replace your customer base, productivity is low.

Tip #2: New Accounts Resemble the Ideal Customer Profile. The sales force chooses new accounts based on the profile of past successful customers. Most new-account acquisition time is devoted to prospects that resemble your best customers. The team has a documented method of comparing new prospects to the Ideal Customer.

Productivity Insight: Your best customers produce maximum repeat business, profit, testimonials, and sources of referral, at the lowest cost to you. Why seek accounts that don’t?

Tip #3: New-Account Acquisition is Consistent. The sales force is tasked to bring in new accounts and does so consistently. Sales management encourages predictability and consistency over the big hit.



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