Nick Carter, owner of AddressTwo, points out that there’s an easy way to destroy productivity: destroy morale. Today’s blog is a guest editorial.
I considered titling this post Call Reports and Other Ways to Demoralize a Salesperson, but while the point may be punchy, I’m afraid the problem goes far deeper than a poor method of reporting.
For many business owners, no expense weighs more heavily on one’s mind than the payroll overhead of non-production staff. It’s simple economics to hire talent which produces profit, but the salary of the accountant, the attorney, and even the maintenance and cleaning crew—while undeniably vital—can still gnaw at the mind of any sole proprietor. But few people realize, until it’s too late, that sales staff are the double edged sword—they can be the greatest producers, yet strike the greatest fear of lost productivity.
Root fears, unfortunately, are difficult to detect. Instead, it’s the symptoms which we see so clearly. Call reports, demands for ad-hoc forecasts, and the frequent “what’s closing this week” questions are all the tells of a worried manager. The irony, however, is that the symptoms of such worry—the call reports and other administrative tasks placed on a salesperson—actually serve to decrease productivity, increase non-production salary, and propagate greater fear.
So how can you break this vicious cycle? Consider a solution which would not only calm your fears, but actually improve productivity.
Since call reports are such a prevalent practice, I’ll use that as an example. In most scenarios, the required weekly call report creates an extra administrative task for the salesperson producing it. That means, the more time spent writing out a list of calls, the less time spent dialing. And, while this should be obvious, I’ll state the bottom line: sales people get paid to sell, not report. I could argue that a commissioned salesperson is equally as troubled over non-productive time as the owner is with the corresponding payroll impact. Moreover, as many salespeople could attest, the end result is an environment of mistrust and “big brother” mentality which ultimately diminishes productivity.
But reporting doesn’t have to be counter-productive. What if reporting actually improved a salesperson’s productivity? What if the act of reporting were coupled within an organizational tool which expedited follow-up and made quick work of a salesperson’s most tedious responsibilities?
Productivity-enhancing software known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems does just that. A well-designed CRM will allow salespeople to interact with their customers in an intuitive way. And, in the process, data is stored surrounding these interactions which provide management the reporting required to calm their fears.
Whether it is CRM or some other form of technology, the principal is simple. Look for a win-win with your sales staff. Realize that a commissioned salesperson is probably as interested in his or her productivity as you are. Partner with your team. Empower them to succeed. Your peace of mind should be the pleasant byproduct of any solution that moves your company forward.
Nick Carter is the founder and CEO of AddressTwo, a CRM solution for small business. Visit them online at www.addresstwo.com.
We think the points Nick brings up are very important. While the productivity cost with an inefficient process can directly hurt the bottom line, the impact it can have over time is just as important. If employees are engaged, they should be as worried about unproductive time as you are. If things are implemented that take away from productivity, they can become disengaged, discouraged, and ultimately, demoralized. For more information on how to implement these positive changes in your workplace, contact the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today!