Sharon, a sales associate for a high-end furniture store, recently spent an entire day stressed and overworked. According to the store’s corporate sales cycle, having everything completed before the first of the month is highly encouraged and frankly, expected.
A conversation with Sharon revealed some major challenges with this philosophy:
Sharon: “Yesterday, for example, I had to drive all the way across town just to pick up a check from a customer.”
“Really? Why not have the customer mail it in?”
Sharon: “Because then it might arrive after the 1st of the month, which essentially wouldn’t count towards my current goals. Plus, I wouldn’t get paid on that check until the following month!”
Sharon: “On top of that, I had to call another customer, who is still making some final selections, to ask if I could charge their credit card for part of the estimated balance.”
“That sounds like it would be a difficult conversation.”
Sharon: “Yeah, I hate to pressure the customer in order to fit my schedule. Unfortunately, I just don’t have much of a choice!”
Some might argue that salespeople thrive on stress and deadlines. Yet, even if Sharon enjoyed the thrill of meeting an objective, in the end she wasted valuable time and gasoline on an unnecessary trip. Plus, she was forced to threaten a developing customer relationship by asking for an advance payment. Clearly, this is not a good business proecss.
Not only are these actions unpleasant for the stakeholders, they limit overall productivity. Instead of spending her day driving and pleading, Sharon could have concentrated more of her energy on helping customers and making sales.
Workflow is often constrained by arbitrary rules. Although there might be some benefit to creating incentives for closing deals, they must be weighed against potential drawbacks. Corporate programs for rewarding employees are generally not strategic, but tactical. If anyone knows the best way to generate leads, work with customers, deliver results and provide exceptional support, it is not the sales program but the sales people who will do so. The best business processes are ones that are carried about by individuals who see them as valuable for everyone involved.
Empowering individuals with the responsibility and authority to handle such tactical issues will avoid stressful events like those outlined above. AccelaWork’s Indianapolis consultants help organizations review current workflow, redesign business processes and implement key changes. If you are ready to talk about working smarter, reach out and contact us today!