Sales Force Insights

Sales Data Only Matters If It Helps You Take Action

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Mon, Oct 27, 2014

In sales, as everywhere else in business, there is a buzz about big data and analytics. Vendors hype tools and mobile applications to help sales forces make sense of it all, while touting case studies that generated impressive improvements in sales force effectiveness.
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Topics: big data, sales force effectiveness (SFE), ZS Associates, Sales Managers, territory design, ZS, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, salespeople, Analytics, performance management, Sales data, data, performance, sales force data, Sales force decisions

Does Your Company Have Enough Sales Managers?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Aug 20, 2014

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?

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Topics: ZS Associates, Sales Managers, ZS, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, Customer Management, People Management, Business Management

Why Sales and Marketing Don’t Get Along

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Nov 13, 2013

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.

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Topics: sales and marketing alignment, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer

The Growing Power of Inside Sales

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Tue, Jul 30, 2013

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.

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Topics: sales force effectiveness, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, sales force structure and organization, insides sales, Mike Moorman

The Sales Force Turnover Challenge

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Jun 12, 2013

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?

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Topics: sales force effectiveness (SFE), Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, sales force structure and organization, sales force turnover

Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Sales Force?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Mon, Apr 15, 2013

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.

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Topics: sales management, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, sales force structure and organization

Does Your Company Have the Right Number of Salespeople?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Feb 27, 2013

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.

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Topics: sales management, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, sales force structure and organization

Want Success In Your Sales Org? Look to the Middle

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Thu, Jan 17, 2013

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."

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Topics: Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, first-line sales manager (FLM)

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

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Dec 19, 2012

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".

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Topics: sales management, Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, sales profession

Improving Your Sales Force: Fine-tune or Transform?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Tue, Nov 13, 2012

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.

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Topics: Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha, Sally Lorimer, sales force structure and organization, sales strategy, sales force transformation