Focus on Sales Goals, Not Company’s!
With each passing day, besides the strategic goals of the enterprises, the expectations of the customers are also growing and developing. However, this situation is even more vital for businesses trying to survive with field sales teams. In this case, these teams should focus on the performance in the sales activity rather than the target they will reach at the end of the month or the year.
The term sales control contains all measures that aim to ensure that a company achieves its qualitative and quantitative sales targets in the short, medium and long term.
Even if the sales department works successfully, processes and objectives should be critically analysed and optimized at times. Targets may be redefined as part of sales management or the sales force may be motivated and supported.
Sales control is the engine of sales, because it is here that your company’s strategic goals are converted into concrete, operational plans.
In practical terms, this means observing whether the salespeople, sales engineers and customer advisors are using the right methods and tools to find, support and retain the right customers and achieve the best possible results. Specifications are checked by sales control and any deviations are analysed. Today, modern sales management requires a combination of marketing, sales and using IT.
Sales management is an optimal indicator for the success of your sales. Depending on the method, different focuses are set – it is up to you whether you decide to control sales figures, tasks and functions of employees. In any case, your control should be secured by sales figures, because this is the only way to gain comprehensive insights.
All sales are controlled in some way – therefore the question does not arise whether a company needs sales control. Rather, the question is whether the existing sales management is good enough to make the company competitive and fit for the future. The question is, what additional benefits can be achieved by improving sales management?
The answer will be different for each company: More growth through more targeted acquisition, cost reduction in production and purchasing through better forecasts, better perception of sales opportunities through timely capacity planning, more focus on more profitable product segments, cost reduction in sales through optimized personnel deployment …
Using of technical systems for sales control
Control systems for sales are helpful if-in addition to optimizing sales activities- they quickly enable a higher quality of control and planning. Therefore, suitable systems for recording, measuring, evaluating, and processing the information are required. In this way, you can achieve a permanent lead over your competitors, and sales can live up to its responsibility for long-term corporate success.
Sales planning – sales controlling – sales management
Depending on the structure and size of the respective company, sales control is either the responsibility of the sales manager or a staff.
As a rule, executives would decide too much on their gut feeling and plan too little. If the planning generally shows weak points in practice, then it is to be feared that the sales department will not harmonize optimally with it. Often the sales department works according to principles of experience and rules of thumb. The planning of contribution margin and turnover in particular often shows weak points in practice.
Management are concerned with the highest possible returns. On behalf of the management, the controlling departments are anxious to use new methods and the data force of the ERP systems to push sales to be more efficient and cost-conscious.
Computerized sales management
Computerized control of sales gives sales more control and information skills. The sales data initially run on the operational level and can be viewed there before they reach the higher-level analysis level of controlling. Sales can act against central controlling. This only works if the sales department also uses the new possibilities of sales automation. In this regard, you can support the sales department by assigning them their own sales controlling.
Sales management planning
Sales controlling consists of several components. Planning means setting goals or accepting given goals and thereby determining systemic measures to achieve a goal and control parameters for measuring goal achievement.
Business planning means systematically shaping the future of the company. PLANNING means predicting developments, setting goals, developing ways to achieve them, and making decisions. Planning also means weighing up opportunities and risks and ultimately taking responsibility. Without planning, there is no control, no optimization.
The heart of the planning is the sales planning, with the sales conditions and sales quantities to be achieved. The company lives from the utilization of services. There can only be one sales plan.
Operational sales planning is short-term (up to 1 year) and medium-term (max. 2 to 3 years). It defines the sales volumes, price and discount frameworks, sales measures and the necessary use of resources in such a way that the market goals developed in the context of strategic planning are achieved. The strategic goals and measures of the management should be determined in agreement with the sales department.
Who is responsible for what and what the respective responsibilities mean must clearly be defined, and:
Who is allowed to make decisions, who needs to be asked or informed and when in critical situations decisions need to be escalated to a higher management level? This also relates to the processes of sales control as well as to the underlying sales processes.
If a pilot of a plane wants to get his/her passengers to the destination, then s/he must think carefully, what might happen to the plane on the course. S/He must also take into account external factors (turbulence, weather conditions), and equip the aircraft with necessary materials accordingly.
In a company, part of this planning includes predicting the development of internal and external influencing factors: How will demand develop, how competition will develop, which technologies will gain in importance, how will the market and customers develop? But also: what capacity will we have available, how much raw material will we be able to procure, when will the new product be available, what service level will we be able to maintain?
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