Re-Setting Your Customer Facing Strategy
Few subjects prompt more discussion, dialogue, and debate than sales compensation. Commission, bonus, draw against future earnings, salary (salary?!) bonus, new accounts, prospecting, hunter vs. farmer. Most of the time, this boils down to no more than a circular conversation. It seems that hardly anyone is completely satisfied with their sales compensation system, but what are the viable alternatives and how do we get there?
Maybe the issue of sales compensation is symptomatic of a greater organizational challenge. Instead of drilling down on the sales comp issue alone, it may make more sense to take a step back and take a more holistic view of your organization’s customer facing strategy. This will likely include a comprehensive review of the customers with whom we enjoy the greatest mutual success, what they require of us and how best to accommodate them. And, determining the best way to identify and reach potential clients who have similar needs, challenges and opportunities. Doing this requires a willingness to let go of our traditional ways of thinking about sales, selling, prospecting, customer service, and production/technology.
Imagine your organization five years into the future. Maybe longer. Will the structure or your business look pretty much the same? If not, what will be different and how? Or, asked another way, is your organization set up for future success given it’s current structure and focus, particularly the way in which you attract and retain high value customers?
Some years ago, Strategy & Business magazine published an article titled “Strategic Sales Management: A Boardroom Issue by Benson P. Shapiro, Adrian Slywotzky and Stephen X. Doyle. As the title suggests, the authors argue that a strategic selling approach should not be delegated to the sales team but rises as a responsibility to the highest level of leadership. Consistent with that theme, the same is true of your customer-facing strategy. The symptom of “sales compensation” is worthy of review but is best done as part of a comprehensive strategic review and analysis. And that process may well lead to a re-designed organizational structure focused on bringing the highest level of value to the clients who matter most.
For details on how to get started with your strategic organizational review, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.