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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Tracking Sales Activities Can Help Build Up Your Sales Force

 
Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed how determining lifetime value of a customer can help their business arrive at its ROI. This week, the tribe gathers to discover how tracking sales activities can help FEI’s salesforce prosper. Remember, fire = print.

“Seems like we’re tracking everything,” Zoot said skeptically. “Let me guess: my staff’s sales efforts are next.”

“Our tracking efforts can provide you and your sales staff with lots of useful data on your activities,” Numo explained to Zoot. “For instance, tracking sales data will allow us to figure out the cost of a sales hour:

Sales force salary
+ Benefits
+ Reimbursed sales expenses
÷ Total # of hours in direct contact with prospects and customers
= Total cost per sales hour

“Or the value of each sales call made by one of your reps:

Expected annual sales volume
÷ Total number of annual sales calls made by sales rep
= Value of an individual’s sales rep’s sales call

“What’s the point of tracking all these calls?” Zoot asked.

“When individual sales reps find out the precise value of their actions, they’re usually amazed at how much they contribute to the company,” Marka said. “This can be a powerful motivator to avoid procrastination and laziness.”

“I’m concerned with overburdening my sales force with paperwork requirements,” Zoot remarked. “The sales staff is good at meeting and influencing people, not crunching numbers.”

“A properly managed tracking system will help provide monetary justification for hiring more sales reps,” Marka pointed out. 

“That’s right,” Numo added. “Another important tracking metric will be revenue per direct production man-hour worked. When we start approaching an unsustainable number, we’ll use this as a guideline to expand our production capabilities in manufacturing, engineering or sales. The result will be more leadership opportunities for high-achieving reps. Sales reps who care about FEI’s success and their own careers shouldn’t mind contributing to the data collection process, which is critical to making sales investment decisions.”

“Creating a formula for when to hire sales people has its merits,” Zoot agreed. “I’m in.”

“I don’t think it will take much of your reps’ time,” Numo noted. “In general, our metrics should adhere to the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle and be easy to record and calculate.”

“Count me in as well,” Org said emphatically. “Where do we start?”

Today’s FIRE! Point
Tracking your printing company’s sales efforts can provide you with lots of useful data, including total cost per sales hour and value of each rep’s sales call. This data then can be used to motivate your salesforce and to justify hiring new employees in appropriate areas.

FIRE! in Action
NEC Uses Sales Tracking to Improve Salesforce Efficiency

NEC implemented a strategic program for tracking direct and indirect sales. With the help of the program, the technology company was able to greatly improve the efficiency of its sales activities.

Next week: The FEI tribe discusses the importance of list and database marketing.

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