Research from CSO Insights dated February 2015 uncovered an alarming trend: only 58.1% of salespeople are meeting quota. Aside from making sales leaders squirm, it’s apparent that despite a robust economy, sales effectiveness seems to be declining.
Fact or fear? We took this question to Jeremy Ginsberg, a leader in sales compensation and sales operations whose impressive career spans a variety of sales models in the healthcare, B2B wholesale, and retail sectors. He thinks that sales operations optimization is the solution to increasing sales effectiveness and operational efficiency. People manage what they can measure. And they can only measure what they can see.
Bringing the data-powered details needed to do their job is often overlooked on the sales rep level. “The sales rep is the primary point of contact – whether inside sales, entry level, global or national accounts – they’re all focused on growing their accounts and growing the business. They need visibility moment to moment; not month to month,” said Ginsberg.
Ginsberg acknowledges the importance of arming management with the right performance tools. This is a priority requirement, in his estimation, and historically where much investment has been made. Sales managers need to know how their sales reps are performing on the bell curve: Who are the top performers? Where are they on the curve? Who are the bottom players who need more training or redirecting? Having this degree of transparency is crucial not only from a business standpoint; it enables management to have individual performance conversations when they’re needed most instead of waiting for an annual review to course-correct.
According to him, the real win is when reps and their managers are given the tools that enable them to talk directly, using tangible information that supports meaningful conversations. This is where the Optymyze solution adds significant value, Ginsberg says. There are a lot of twists and turns in the typical enterprise sales operation; for example, he’s managed more than 100 sales roles that utilize 30+ different sales incentives. Solutions sales vs. product sales. Mergers & acquisitions that bring massive change management. Expectations of precision and dashboards fed by real-time data. None of it easy and none of it manageable using spreadsheets and earlier-generation technologies.
It’s exceptional visibility that drives exceptional results. Bringing everything together on the sales rep level means they can see how they’re performing against goals. It means they know which accounts in their territory to target more intensely, how seasonality – such as holidays or even tax season – impact purchasing, and market disruptions that might be related to competitive pressures.
“We get real-time feedback in almost every aspect of our lives,” he concluded. “I can use my smartphone to find out if my flight is delayed and why, view the weather conditions at my destination, and request a car service on-demand. Given how important the sales rep role is to the health of any organization, arming them with the same visibility to understand where they’re at and where they need to go is now a business requirement, not an option.”