August 2017

Design Your Capability Scorecard – Improve Sales by 20-30%

Measuring Capability

Two weeks ago, we started exploring a key topic for all organisations: How to improve sales?

We talked about a simple calculation to understand whether or not our sales force is shooting the lights out. Typically, we could all improve. Maybe a lot.

The question is how?

Last week, I suggested a bunch of questions that sales and HR managers could ask of their sales people.

This week, let’s begin designing a scorecard to enable a somewhat objective scoring of capability.

Taking the same questions: Let’s create 5 categories:

  1. Education and Knowledge
  2. Experience
  3. Technical Competencies
  4. Behavioural Competencies
  5. Track Record
# Category Same Questions from last week A Capability Measure for each Question
1 Education and Knowledge Do they have a certain level of education? Matric, Certificate, Diploma, Degree or Post Grad? Level of education achieved
2 Education and Knowledge Have they attended specific certificated non-sales training that you think makes a difference to their performance? Relevant non-sales training certificates achieved
3 Education and Knowledge Have they attended specific certificated sales training that you think makes a difference to their performance? Relevant sales training certificates achieved
4 Experience How many years of experience do they have in your industry or in a similar industry? Years of experience in your industry or in a similar industry
5 Experience How many years of experience do they have in sales? Years of experience in sales
6 Experience How many years of experience do they have in your company? Years of experience in your company
7 Experience How many prospecting call sessions do they attend monthly? Number of prospecting call sessions attended monthly
8 Experience How many sales appointments do they complete monthly? Number of sales appointments completed monthly
9 Experience How many proposals do they write monthly? Number of proposals written and submitted monthly
10 Technical Competency How well do they present to an audience of a few people or more? Presentation Simulation Score
11 Technical Competency Are they particularly professional in their approach to work? 360 Feedback Score: Professionalism
12 Technical Competency Do they keep their promises and deliver OTIF (on time, in full) most of the time? 360 Feedback Score: Delivery: On time, in full.
13 Technical Competency What technical competencies do they have? Internal Company Sales System Score / Product Knowledge Test Score / Various sales simulation scores etc
14 Technical Competency What software tools are they proficient in using? MS Excel, Word and Powerpoint / PipeDrive / SAP CRM / Fusion CRM / MS Dynamics / FreshSales / Insightly / SugarCRM / amoCRM / Zoho etc competency scores
15 Behavioural Competency Do they adhere to company systems, processes and values? 360 Feedback Score: Company systems, processes and values compliance
16 Behavioural Competency Are they confident, outgoing, impatient, target oriented, happy to ask for the business, not scared of rejection? Job / Person Fit Score for tools like the PPA, PDA and PI
17 Behavioural Competency Do they lead, own their work, handle conflict and frustration, solve problems, build relationships and solve problems? Benchmarking tools like Shadowmatch and ThinkSales
18 Behavioural Competency Are they quick, resilient, responsive, disciplined, altruistic and self-confident?
19 Behavioural Competency Are they co-operatively or assertively involved at work?
20 Track Record Do they have a track record of prior performance? Proof of historical performance
21 Track Record What did previous employers say about them? Ref Check
22 Track Record What do colleagues in the sales team say about them? 360 Score: Colleagues (Sales)
23 Track Record What do staff from other departments say about them? 360 Score: Colleagues (Other departments)
24 Track Record What do clients say about them? Client Survey Feedback Score
25 Track Record What does the boss say about them? 360 Score: My boss

What you’ll also notice is that we’re at the beginning of a process of building data. To collect 25 sets of data multiplied by 50 sales people is hard work! So, next week, let’s finish the scorecard and limit the data overload to create a simple scorecard that measures the capability of sales people and enables the development of a customised training strategy focused on results.

Thanks again. I always enjoy writing the weekly blog. A little late this week as I was preparing for, and interviewing, candidates this week. Have a great weekend! I’m off to the bush for some R&R tomorrow.

Next week: A scorecard with standards and weights to score your people. There’ll be a downloadable excel version for you to try out too. Until next week: Cheers!

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The Key Questions You Need To Ask To Improve Sales By 20 – 30%

Who’s up for the Pot of Gold?

Last week we started exploring a key topic for all organisations:

For Companies: How to improve sales?

For NGOs: How to improve fund raising?

We talked about a simple calculation:

  1. Order the sales force by performance from top to bottom
  2. Call the top third: 100%
  3. Divide the middle third into the top third and the bottom third into the top third.
  4. This creates a team sales productivity curve (SPC)

We suggested that an ideal curve looks like the green one below and a less ideal curve, like the red one.Improving Sales

The difference between the two curves is anything from 20-30%. A pot of gold for any sales manager.

If you do the calculations or think your team might be on the red line, here’s the next step:

Define the capability of your top people: What makes them capable of good performance?

If you want to improve sales, think about some or all of the following questions:

  1. Do they have a certain level of education? Matric, Certificate, Diploma, Degree or Post Grad?
  2. Have they attended specific certificated non-sales training that you think makes a difference to their performance?
  3. Have they attended specific certificated sales training that you think makes a difference to their performance?
  4. How many years of experience do they have in your industry or in a similar industry?
  5. How many years of experience do they have in sales?
  6. How many years of experience do they have in your company?
  7. How many prospecting call sessions do they attend monthly?
  8. How many sales appointments do they complete monthly?
  9. How many proposals do they write monthly?
  10. How well do they present to an audience of a few people or more?
  11. Are they particularly professional in their approach to work?
  12. Do they keep their promises and deliver OTIF (on time, in full) most of the time?
  13. What technical competencies do they have?
  14. What software tools are they proficient in using?
  15. Do they adhere to company systems, processes, and values?
  16. Are they confident, outgoing, impatient, target oriented, happy to ask for the business, not scared of rejection?
  17. Do they lead, own their work, handle conflict and frustration, solve problems and build relationships?
  18. Are they quick, resilient, responsive, disciplined, altruistic and self-confident?
  19. Are they co-operatively or assertively involved at work?
  20. Do they have a track record of prior performance?
  21. What did previous employers say about them?
  22. What do colleagues in the sales team say about them?
  23. What do staff from other departments say about them?
  24. What do clients say about them?
  25. What do you say about them?

If you struggle to answer all of these questions, ask HR for help. They have access to the tools, assessments, surveys, and methods to answer all of these questions.

A strategic partnership with internal or external HR Business Partners has a big impact on performance.

You can improve sales by 20-30%. That’s appealing. Isn’t it?

Thanks for reading this. If you have time to comment, please do. I value all comments and feedback.

Next week: An example of a scorecard that summarises many of the questions above into one scorecard on one page.

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Measuring Management: Tools to Improve Performance

% Sales Target Achieved or % Monthly Improvement in Ave Sales Performance Per Sales Person?

Last week I wrote that Sales is the most important function in any business: No Sales No Business.

I also wrote that HR is the second most important function. Some of you laughed! Fair enough.

Let’s combine their importance this week.

Sales managers know about sales. They know about their products and services, their customers, their lost and new customers, their competitive strengths and weaknesses and most importantly how to close the deal.

But what do sales managers know about people?

According to sales managers: a lot.

According to the data: not such a lot.

Take a simple thing I learnt a long time ago from my boss at the time, Ben Venter. He asked some of his clients to rank their sales people from best to worst. Then he calculated the average sales performance of the top, middle and bottom thirds.

Then, he divided the top third into the top third to get 100% as a base measurement point, the middle third into the top third and the bottom third into the top third. This created a curve that showed the drop in performance from top to bottom. Let’s call the curve a Sales Productivity Curve (SPC) (I can’t remember if we called it that then).

The basic hypothesis was that a sales team staffed with people with optimal sales capability would enjoy a strong SPC. A curve like this one:

Sales Team Management

So, HR business partner or sales manager: what’s your curve? It shouldn’t take you longer than 15 minutes to calculate it. If you’re on or about these numbers, great job: your sales team is doing well!

But in our experience then and since, a typical sales force generates an SPC somewhere in the region of 100%, 50% and 25%: The red SPC below compared to the ideal blue SPC.

Sales Productivity Curve

If those numbers are closer to your SPC, then you have some work to do. The good news is that it might be possible to improve the performance of the team by 20-30%. Which under-budget sales director or MD would like that? Duh! as my daughter would say.

So back to last week’s blog and strategic HR.

I wrote that strategic HR people assist their line managers to ensure that:
• the right people are in the right jobs
• jobs are structured correctly
• recruitment and selection policy and practices allow only the best people to join
• training and development policy and practices ensure only the most functional, relevant and measurable training and development is implemented
• performance management tracks and drives performance rewards the best performers and isn’t a tick box compliance exercise
• retention and succession policy and practices engage and keep/promote the best people

A strategic partnership between HR and Sales has a big impact on performance.

Sales management knows about sales. HR knows about people and jobs.

Put the two sets of talent together and set targets to improve the capability and performance of the sales people.

If you’d like some help to tackle this, please contact me. I can work remotely anywhere in the world.

Thanks for reading this. If you have time to comment, please do. It’s the comments each week that lead my direction with the blogs in order to add as much value as I can.

Next week: What to do if your SPC ain’t lookin’ good.

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HR: Tedious Bureaucracy Or Amazing Advantage?

HR should have a permanent seat at exco’s table. (And it shouldn’t report to finance!)

Sales is the most important function in any business: No Sales No Business.

Human Resources is the second most important function.

I can hear you laughing.

But why? Without people, no sales. Without sales, no business.

This is easy stuff.

Ah, but you don’t need Human Resources to get people?

Herein lies the rub.

You don’t need HR Administrators, but you do need HR Strategists.

They’re gold if they’re good.

“If they’re good …”

Why do CEOs allow HR to be a second class function? Whose fault is that? Why do HR professionals allow themselves to become administrators, running after managers and staff with compliance forms and other exciting pieces of paper, like mothers after babies?

HR is a second class citizen because HR allows themselves to be cast as such and line managers accept it.

So what is strategic Human Resources?

Strategic HR is (among other things) ensuring that:

  • the right people are in the right jobs
  • jobs are structured correctly to support the achievement of performance required by the departmental business plan
  • departments and their processes are defined and structured correctly to support the achievement of the company’s business plan
  • being in the room when a strategy is developed and a new business plan written
  • recruitment and selection policy and practices allow only the best people to join
  • training and development policy and practices ensure only the most functional, relevant and measurable training and development is implemented
  • performance management tracks and drives performance, rewards the best performers and isn’t a tick box compliance exercise
  • retention and succession policy and practices engage and keep the best people

Does your HR team provide this for you? Or do you, HR professional, offer that service?

If so, great. But it’s not what I hear in the corridors of business.

I’d love to hear your comments. If I’m being unfair, shoot me down. If not, let’s fix it. We spend a fortune on people. Our HR functions should be brilliant and more important than finance and ops. Because without people, what is the organisation?

Empty and pointless real estate.

I assist clients to put the right people into the right jobs. From recruitment to transfers to promotions and internal job/person fit analysis.

Thanks for reading this. It’s always appreciated.

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Cooperation vs Assertiveness At Work

Over the last four weeks, I’ve written about Type 1 vs Type 2 jobs, tasks versus peoplepatience and paying attention to detail.

In the last of five blog posts, let’s talk about cooperation.

Do you cooperate with, or assert yourself on, your environment?

It’s often assumed that people should get on with each other for the sake of unity, team work, common purpose, tolerance, good manners and plain old happiness. But that’s often suggested by people who seek cooperation as a modus operandum.

What if you don’t?

What if you see budgets, resources, job titles, status and rank as something to be owned and used? What if you see people as resources to be applied, pressured, directed, managed and disciplined?

If you’re cooperative and agreeable, you may be a little irritated, even disgusted that people could see people like that.

If you’re confident and assertive, you’re thinking “Duh! Obviously. What’s your point?!”

Especially if you’re impatient too!

Why?

cooperation vs assertivenessCooperation vs Assertiveness

Last week I wrote “When young people are told “you have the gift of the gab, you can do anything”, they’re being lied to.

I’ll write it again this week. When young people are told “you’re so talented you can do anything”, they’re being lied to. Again!

Why?

Because a lot of what we do as people on this planet is based upon our confidence. Our confidence in ourselves. If we have confidence in ourselves, we reach out for challenges, we seek to achieve. But when we don’t have confidence in ourselves, we, first of all, seek permission.

When we say “I can’t …” or “I don’t think I can …” or “I’m not qualified …”, what we’re really saying most of the time is “I don’t have confidence in myself”. To which we all bark “Why!? You’re so good, fast, beautiful, fit, clever, talented, handsome, bright …” and the victim just shrugs.

We’re all expected to be brave, to be confident, to not let people mess us around, to take charge, to go for broke, to win and millions of posters exist to confirm this societal expectation.

But if you’re not confident, these words of encouragement, posters and workshops don’t help much.

Why?

The 3 Types of Confidence

There are 3 types of confidence and only one of them is likely to respond to “Go on, you can do it”.

The first is my confidence derived from my knowledge, competencies, experience, education and track record. I don’t feel confident if I haven’t done it before, had 10 years of experience, passed the degree/diploma/course/test or been certified as competent. My confidence is based on my perception of my capability. So when I try something new, I go back to zero, my confidence is low.

The second type is social confidence, easily mistaken for natural confidence. The person who can stand up and make a speech without total embarrassment, the joke teller who always nails it, the person who engages easily in conversation, seems to make friends, is never embarrassed to walk into a room full of strangers.

But confront him about something directly, criticise his knowledge, experience or competency or start an argument and you’ll soon find out if he’s naturally or socially confident.

The third type is the naturally confident person who has a natural need to lead or manage people or functions or run their own organisation/write their own book/expound their own views. When challenged, naturally confident people don’t perceive a threat, they perceive a discussion and respond in kind, unflustered. If someone asks them to do something new, they may respond with “sure” even though they may fail at that ‘something new’. Failure is less daunting for confident people. Failure is an event on a journey to success, not a destination that once reached is final.

Best Jobs For Cooperative People

If you’re cooperative AND patient AND detail oriented AND task focused, what jobs make sense for you?

Jobs that require a focus on cooperation, quality, accuracy, perfection, standards and compliance.

Jobs such as an accountant, auditor, engineer, security guard, software programmer, machine minder, driver, technician, administrator, gardener, surgeon, dentist, scientist, mortician … You get the idea.

Best Jobs For Assertive People

And if you’re assertive AND impatient AND not detail oriented AND people focused, what jobs make sense for you?

Jobs such as sales person, manager, entrepreneur, event organiser, service rep, supervisor, foreman, director and head chef.

So if you’re a great accountant, auditor, engineer, security guard, software programmer, machine minder, driver, technician, administrator, gardener, surgeon, dentist, scientist or mortician, make sure you have the basic behavioural traits that will be necessary at management level.

That promotion might not be worth it and could destroy your sanity, create intolerable stress and kill your career.

How many of your people are in the right jobs? How much better could performance be with the right people in the right jobs?

Contact me to find out.

The tools and methods to understand these issues are readily available. They’re not expensive, but they’re definitely underutilised or misunderstood across the board.

Have you noticed that some of your staff just don’t fit? Or do you wonder why you’ve chosen your career? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading this. I really enjoy solving people puzzles and assisting people to find their ideal role.

Next Week: Behaviour in Action – Building a Capable Sales Force

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