Sales Force Optimisation
The external sales function of a large UK based B2B company was challenged on its effectiveness as it was seen to be focused on too small of a group of customers. The project was designed to understand the current working practices of the sales force, identify and implement any suitable efficiencies while building the business case for extending the reach of the sales force.
There was a perception that while the external sales force generated a significant amount of revenue, their practices didn’t support a long term growth strategy. One of the reasons for this was the high level of autonomy used in the business. While this generates accountability, it comes at a cost to the overall control of the sales force and led to differing approaches across the country.
The project was led by a consultant with a specialism in developing the sales function. Their analysis of the sales force led to the creation of an efficiency model for the existing sales force and a test for a new call centre type approach.
Through the use of data and analytics several significant insights were highlighted:
A reduction in resource could ‘protect’ the same revenue through improved customer management
Retaining the same level of resource, up to 88% of the business could be ‘protected’ through adopting the project’s principles
Having more control over the sales ledger could increase revenue from existing resource by 8-12%
The high sales potential model was used alongside the appropriate level of management model to create sales ledgers for a pilot call centre. This data driven ledger was compared to a ledger created by an experienced sales representative and an overlap of over 80% was found, adding credence to the data driven methodology, which was then adopted.
The result of the pilot call centre and testing of data driven external representative ledgers was a year on year increase in sales of 37%.
A wider trial was commissioned to last 6 months and resulted in circa 30% of the national sales force being redeployed according to the principles of the project:
New customer contact targets based on the efficiency model
Adoption of data driven sales ledgers
Use of the high sales potential model
Following the 6 month trial the approach designed by the project was rolled out across the rest of the national sales force. This resulted in a net increase in the amount of sales force resource in the business and increased the number of customers that received sales force management.
At this stage specialist expertise was needed to understand the shape of the customer base and how the proposed models could be effectively deployed.
In depth analysis of the customer base was used to understand the current contribution of the customer base and how this might change with the proposed models. As the project developed the analysis grew to support an improvement in efficiency and a model was created to give customers the appropriate level of management.
To support the objective of long term growth a high sales potential model was created to identify the customers with the potential to significantly increase sales, meeting the long term growth objective.