Comprehensive Sales Assessment Yields New Sales Processes and Improved Performance

The Challenge We Identified

With the completion of a market research initiative for a client in technical manufacturing, we learned that the company’s growth significantly trailed others in its industry. In turn, the company’s annual sales were tracking well below annual goals. Given these challenges, the company engaged Decision Associates to conduct a comprehensive assessment of its sales team and processes – from sales forecasting, reporting and evaluation to monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals to sales team and supporting resources to sales compensation and incentive programs.

Our assessment included a series of meetings with the company’s leadership team as well as individual discussion with the president, the vice president of sales and marketing and the engineering manager. From these discussions, we identified several critical shortcomings in the company’s sales function:

  • Recent elimination of third-party representatives, leaving sales leader as sole salesperson
  • Sales leader’s involvement in customer quote time and delivery time issues
  • Lack of sales pipeline management and reporting processes
  • Focused pursuit of markets with very high barriers to entry
  • Absence of an incentive-based sales compensation program
  • No marketing plan or dedicated marketing staff/resources

Our Approach To The Problem

Upon completion of the sales assessment, we developed strategies to support the following recommendations:

  • Focus the sales leaders’ time 100 percent on sales
  • Establish a sales culture of accountability with weekly/monthly/quarterly sales goals and reporting from the sales leader to the company president
  • Transition sales compensation from year-end bonus to an incentive-based model based on achievement of annual sales plan number
  • Keep sales reporting simple, limited to prospecting activity, pipeline projects and monthly/quarterly/annual performance to plan
  • Purchase a basic CRM (customer relationship management) platform to actively manage and grow the sales pipeline
  • Devote resources to clear the bottlenecks in quote process time and on-time delivery identified by sales leader and company president
  • Integrate company president in relationships with key customers
  • Invest in sales management coaching for company president to integrate best practices

What Has Happened Since

Initially, the sales leader challenged our sales assessment and subsequent recommendations. However, by involving the company president in the transition to new sales processes and procedures, we were able to implement all the initiatives. The company adopted new sales tools and metrics, committed to a regular cadence of weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting sessions and established performance-based expectations for the sales leader. Over time, the company reversed its sales decline and with a few years doubled sales revenues. During this transition period, the underperforming sales leader left the company while new sales hires embraced the company’s revised sales culture.