“Stressing output is the key to improving productivity,
while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.”
–Paul Gauguin

“Where have you or do you plan to invest to improve sales productivity?”
That’s the question we asked the participants of our 2014 MHI Research Institute Sales Performance and Productivity Study.
In Part 2 of this series, we continue with the investments in changing the coverage model (62%), the compensation and quota strategies (60%), deploying new CRM systems (48%) and new sales productivity applications (54%).


Coverage model – foundational business management element

Investments regarding coverage model, compensation and quota strategy have to be derived from the business and sales strategy and then adjusted to the sales execution plan to create tangible value for the sales force. Adjusting the coverage model often goes hand in hand with strategic and organizational changes. It is a core design element of an organization’s sales system and one of the most foundational business management elements. Sales operations have to make sure that the coverage model follows and enables the sales strategy and the sales execution plan – how an organization wants to connect and engage with prospects and customers.

Compensation and quota strategy – How should your performance culture look like?

Also here, there is an ongoing need to adjust these strategies based on changing business strategies. But often, it doesn’t happen as it should, and both elements do not support the business strategy well. Compensation and quota strategies are areas where cultural differences come into play – more or less competitive cultures. The strategic versus the tactical focus has also to be considered. When quotas are adjusted several times a year, the tactical focus is the main trigger. That sheds light on what needs to be decided by the sales leadership team beforehand: How should our sales performance culture look? What is it we want to measure, to recognize and to reward?

CRM systems and sales productivity applications

Implementing CRM systems isn’t about technology. It’s always about people, change, adoption and communication. And it’s about sales leadership. All this requires a broad alignment across the entire salesforce: what a CRM system’s value will be for salespeople and how the future workflow will look. Never forget to show which elements will be replaced by the CRM. One of the most critical issues is not creating real value and productivity gains for salespeople. Answers must be more specific than “increase productivity.” In addition, wrong assumptions about CRM systems are out there. Without mentioning all of them, just consider this:

Technology does not replace selling.
Technology does not replace leadership.

Sales leadership is the key ingredient for successful CRM implementations. Change processes have to be led and orchestrated – but not by change management, but by sales leaders! Leading by example.


Related blog posts:

What Are the Main Investments in Sales Productivity? Part 1: Sales Enablement

What Are The Leading Investments In Sales Productivity?