Evaluating the Sales Force – Reasonable Expectations

In most companies where we evaluate a sales force, executives seriously dislike hearing about the salespeople who should be considered for different roles, those who don’t have the incentive to improve, and those who can’t prospect or hunt.  Most executives would prefer that we kept that little bit of information to ourselves.  I think they’re more than happy with the rest of the information they take away from this process.

With that said, it makes this next scenario even more surprising.  The HR director at one large company is insisting that we provide enough information in our evaluation of his sales force to indicate whether or not the people should have been hired in the first place.  Of course, that’s like saying to the photographer, take their picture, but make sure you show them as they were six years ago.

The point of evaluating a sales force is to see what you have today and determine what you can do to make it better. It’s to learn how management impacts the sales force and what needs to change.  It’s to see if today’s group can execute the strategies and, if not, what has to change.  It’s to determine what realistic expectations should be.  It’s to determine how much better they can become and how to accomplish that.  It’s to determine whether the existing systems and processes can support the sales effort.  It’s to take a real look under the hood of the sales pipeline and determine its quality.  It’s to uncover hidden problems that prevent the sales force from achieving its potential and so much more.  It’s to provide more important, relevant information than “did we screw up five years ago?”