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Does Your Company Have Enough Sales Managers?


A healthcare industry sales executive recently told us that as part of a continued effort to cut costs, her company had reduced the number of first-line sales managers from 66 down to 30 over a period of several years. This meant that management span of control had more than doubled from an average of 5-6 salespeople per manager up to 12-15 per manager. Certainly, the move saved costs, but was it a good idea?

Why Sales and Marketing Don’t Get Along


Sales teams and marketing teams pursue a common objective: create customer value and drive company results. But sales and marketing don’t always get along. Certainly, all-out war between the two teams drains productivity. Yet having the two teams work in perfect harmony and reach an easy consensus on every decision is a pipedream, and in fact, is not the best answer either.

The Growing Power of Inside Sales


The number of inside sales jobs has increased dramatically in recent years, far outpacing the growth in jobs for field salespeople. We spoke with Mike Moorman, a senior leader in ZS Associates' B2B sales and marketing practice and a leading authority on sales management, about how inside sales (which refers to sales positions done remotely from headquarters, without face-to-face meetings with clients) is transforming the way that B2B companies interact with their customers.

The Sales Force Turnover Challenge

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A sales leader confronts the following statistics listing the top three reasons behind the high number of salesperson departures last year.

1. 32% of departing salespeople left primarily because of their relationship with their first line manager

2. 27% of departing salespeople left primarily because of inadequate pay

3. 21% of departing salespeople left primarily because of the lack of promotion opportunities

Is it time to upgrade the first line managers, enhance pay, and revisit promotion opportunities?

Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Sales Force?


There's a question all top managers should ask: "How can I make my sales force, which is one of the biggest and most important investments my company makes, perform more effectively?"

There are several reasons that question is so important.

Does Your Company Have the Right Number of Salespeople?


For sales managers, this is not an easy question to answer. The number of salespeople affects profitability by impacting both revenues and costs. It's easy to estimate costs by looking at historical compensation, benefits, field support, and travel costs per salesperson. But it's much more difficult to predict revenues, as it requires understanding how complexities such as customer needs, the economy, and the effectiveness of your and your competitor's salespeople, influence a sales force's ability to generate sales.

Want Success In Your Sales Org? Look to the Middle


To build a great company, it's important to have strong executives leading the sales organization. But just as in the military, talented top officers can't make up for weakness in the ranks of frontline leaders, the mid-level managers who are vital in driving day-to-day sales performance. "In any sales force, you can get along without the vice president of sales, the regional sales directors, and the training manager," a sales leader once told us. "But you cannot get along without first-line sales managers."

In Sales Management, the Waning Power of "Push" and "Pull"


Salespeople generally have a great deal of autonomy in deciding which customers and products to focus on, how hard to work, and who to collaborate with. At the same time, sales leaders and managers try to affect the choices salespeople make using two predominant forms of influence—"push" and "pull".

Improving Your Sales Force: Fine-tune or Transform?


In the continuous hunt for profitable growth, silver bullets won't fix your sales force. The solutions to most sales force challenges are multi-dimensional. Especially when things are not going well (and sometimes even when they are), sales leaders need to know when evolutionary sales force improvements are enough to drive profitable growth, and when it's necessary to implement a wholesale sales force transformation.

Silver Bullets Won't Fix Your Sales Force


When it comes to enhancing sales force productivity and performance, it's tempting to look for silver bullets. Is customer retention declining? Okay, let's roll out a new sales training program that teaches salespeople how to be more customer-focused. Is sales growth lagging? Let's implement a more aggressive incentive plan to motivate the sales force. Is sales productivity decreasing? Let's build a Big Data solution that enables salespeople to glean insights so they can sell smarter.

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Building a Winning Sales Management Team

  Building a Winning Sales Management Team

ZS Co-founders Andy Zoltners and Prabha Sinha and former principal Sally Lorimer offer pragmatic insights and examples on how sales organizations can leverage the power of their first-line sales managers. Learn More