When Big is Bad

A recent discussion with a top executive from a Fortune 1000 company provided some great insight – for him – as to the difficulties that large companies face when attempting to optimize their sales organizations.

For the most part, the top executives are too far removed from the front lines to know what’s really going on. They rely on spreadsheets that report results, an exercise that is a lot like reading yesterday’s news. They may even see the names of salespeople who were responsible for the most business, even though it may have been previously booked, residual or repeat business and often not representative at all of the efforts for which this and the other salespeople (who might not have closed their opportunities yet) may be responsible.

Top executives are unable to judge whether the sales force is executing the company’s most recent strategies for going to market or whether sales management has bought into those strategies and effectively communicates them to the sales force.

Top executives rarely see the development process in action. They may see numbers like 125 salespeople hired and 75 salespeople departed but don’t know whether the 75 came from the group of 125 hired or the 450 that were already part of the sales force. They don’t know whether HR, sales management, recruiting and training are guilty of poor selection, poor screening, poor candidate pool, ineffective advertising, ineffective training and development or ineffective coaching and accountability.

Top executives often lack the detail behind the company’s sales pipeline. They know how big it is and the potential revenue it represents but, without more intelligence, have no clue as to how many opportunities are being mishandled, misquoted and lost to competitors. They don’t know about the quality of the opportunities in the pipeline and they don’t know about the value of the opportunities lost.

Top executives are really in the dark! Even when not shielded from this information, the information is rarely available because sales management often fails to understand these issues in a way that provides meaningful intelligence. And it’s very difficult to fix a problem when you don’t know what the problem is or you can’t identify the reasons for the problem.

Objective Management Group’s Sales Force Evaluation allows top executives to understand their sales force in new ways. Not only can they provide that previously difficult to amass intelligence, but they can provide it in such a way that it has an immediate impact on the organization. Strategy, pipeline, recruiting and development are the top-level ABC’s of going to market. However, when recruiting efforts yield salespeople that fail to execute the company’s strategies, fail to develop strong pipelines, fail to significantly improve from training and development efforts, resign as a result of discouragement or face termination as a result of poor performance, the ABC’s need the once over from OMG.