Over the past 20 years I have continuously developed and improved a sales planning, productivity and performance management system which started off as an Excel solution and is today commercially available both as a stand-alone web-based solution, or embedded in the IT-environment of the customer.
The objective was to create a hardcore sales tool for sales managers and sales consultants with which they can plan and steer sales results and hence exclusively focuses on driving sales planning, efficiency, effectiveness and performance.
A tool that:
- Can be applied at all levels in the distribution channel and provide the same benefits.
- Propagates the KPIs up the organisational tree/distribution channel, e.g. a cluster manager sees the sales all relevant trends, analyses, KPIs and sales plans of the countries the manager is responsible for etc.
- Can handle most organisation typologies and sizes, no matter how big or complex. SalesDriver customers today range from a smaller sales organisation with 3 sales consultants to larger structures within a country and approx. 2’500 sales consultants.
- Forces all levels in the distribution channel to use the same definitions, i.e. the definitions that are applicable at transaction level. Too often we see different definitions with different stakeholders in the distribution channel, e.g. a «sales» can be a B2C order, transaction etc., or a B2B wholesale order/invoice raised/delivery etc. Comparing apples with apples is fundamental if planning and steering sales is the objective. In its extended form, the sales pipeline should be linked up with the product-/service pipeline and form one unit.
- Shows why the organisation’s sales performance is the way it is, i.e. transparency in process and results.
As so often is the case, I spent the first years to investigate what components I can add to the system. After quite a few implementations and years in the field, I arrived at the conclusion that the real value of the concept is to keep it as simple as possible and allow focus on what is really important.
We have therefore deliberately refrained from including any CRM, remuneration and HR related functionality as most customers already have this in place.
SalesDriver works perfect in isolation and is simultaneously an application that adds the missing sales management component of really driving sales performance to any reputable software solution you may have today, or not.
Yet, we have kept it open enough to be able to configure it to interact with many commercially available systems.
The key question behind the SalesDriver philosophy
«How much, of what specific activities, does it take to sell one more?»
In this context, a «one more» depends on what business you are in and how you measure sales results, e.g. a medical electronics device, an average order size (advertising, consulting, pharmaceutical, etc.), a CRM package, a compressor, a car, a truck, a bus, a life insurance, a high end capital good etc.
«One more» refers to filling the gap between sales trend and sales target, i.e. if the gap is 30 units, SalesDriver focuses on what it takes to sell the 30 units over and above the sales trend.
Before the key question can be answered, the relevant milestones in the sales process must be measured and understood.
The consequences of having too tight or too vague definitions of what to measure, and what not, are substantial. As relevant is how things are measured and the quality in the measurement process. The measured numbers must be sufficiently robust for further processing. 20 years experience in area with a multitude of industries can provide valuable support on this topic.
When you know «how much, of what» it took to achieve past results, you have the relevant KPIs and use this information to establish a KPI based Sales & Marketing Activity Plan to deliver tomorrow’s results. Of course, if you can include compensation for expected changes in the market, seasonal flow etc. At the end of the days, sales management is about managing the quality and quantity of what sales consultants do.
Sometimes this new transparency may be a bit uncomfortable for the sales consultants, but when they learn to use SalesDriver to improve their own sales performance and know exactly what is required to achieve sales targets, steer their income, plan annual leave etc. they do not want to miss the tool.
Sales Managers must be able to lead their teams to success
Sales Managers need the SalesDriver functionality to lead their teams to success. The job of the sales manager with regard to SalesDriver is to:
- Define the overall sales objectives and sales plan for the team
- Cascade the sales plan top-down to the individual sales consultants and build robust individual sales plans focusing on the quality and quantity of activities required to achieve the results, with each of their sales consultants
- Ensure the aggregated individual sales plans match the overall sales plan
- Work with the sales consultants on finetuning the quality and quantity of what they do to identify coaching needs early
- Focus on the drivers leading to the sales results and at the same time keep an eye on the results to enable timely correction.
An aggregation of the individual sales plans lead to the team sales plan, an aggregation of the team sales plans lead to the company sales plan etc. SalesDriver allows you to aggregate the KPIs at all levels in the distribution channel, i.e. Salesperson -> Sales Team -> Company -> Company Group -> District -> Region -> Country -> etc. At all levels you get the same benefits.
Sales Managers must have the right KPIs at the right time and know how to act upon these
Professionally analysing KPIs in the sales process at individual and team level is an important part of SalesDriver, but it is only important if you do something with the analysis. Therefore the sales plan is the key component of SalesDriver. With a sales plan we do not mean planning vague activities or goals, e.g. «Spring Exhibition», «Frankfurt Trade Fair participation», «Exhaust sales potential in the customer base» or «Increase prospecting», but getting to the hard facts and clearly defining exactly «how much, of what» you want to achieve with these activities, based on the individual sales process KPIs.
Implementing SalesDriver means creating transparency in sales and tactical marketing. Therefore, one should not underestimate the change management component, which in turn requires thoughtful leadership.
In SalesDriver we are also conscious of data protection issues. You do not record any of your customer names or any other information that may be sensible in the application. You can even replace the names of your sales consultants with a simple code, e.g. SC1, SC2, SC3 etc. and only you know who they are.
An additional benefit of SalesDriver is that it shows you if there is a direct correlation between marketing activity, sales activity and results. Hence it permits you to measure your marketing effectiveness and avoids what Henry Ford is attributed of saying:
«Half of my marketing budget is wasted money, I just don’t know which half».
Please contact me for further information or for a demo account.