In MYPRODUCT7 I outlined the importance of implementing a performing sales team evaluation system, which in my opinion should be transparent, open, periodically, constant, based on clear and measurable criteria, should include agent’s self-evaluation and manager’s assessment, deficiencies, decisions to reward or impose and should define a plan of actions, activities, professionalization with assumed terms and objectives.
In MYPRODUCT28 I explored the target-bonus system, which should be transparent, based on achievable targets and measurable, fair criteria and calibrated to the company’s short goals, to allow the sales agent to calculate his own bonus at any time and the individual bonus to be awarded no matter the overall performance of the company as long as the target-bonus system does not include any correlation between individual activity / performance and general company performances of at local / regional level.
Sales agent’s work involves immense responsibilities because the sales team generates the company’s revenue from which the salaries and benefits of all employees are paid, no matter the department or position.
Sales agent is constantly subject to the pressure of visits and sales, reason why I have often wondered how well his work is understood by colleagues from other departments.
This is the subject I’m addressing in today’s article.
As sales manager I can say that sales agent’s work is by far the most programmatic and controlled activity in a company.
When I make this statement, I rely on the type and complexity of the tools that the salesperson interferes with, which allow the company / commercial manager to constantly monitor the agent’s activity:
-system gsp installed on agents’ vehicles indicating agent location, routes, visit time, km, consumption
– palm / tablet system that besides facilitating quick take-off of customer orders also introduces control keys which limits the level of discounts, bonuses an agent can give, affecting his / her freedom / responsibility decision in front of the client
-professional excellence program targeting customer segmentation, portfolio allocations, routes, visit plan, targets
–financial system that generates daily / weekly payment schedules due, the agent having direct responsibility to ensure the payments from clients
– access cards in the company
– target-bonus system
-performance assessment system that is often done quarterly
-marketing plan with specific activities that agents must to implement / potentiate in the market
-activity reports (daily / weekly / monthly)
-expenses for travel, meetings, etc.
Beyond these monitoring tools we must not forget that for a salesperson the daily routine includes:
-many hours in the car, in traffic, long business trips
-visits to customers no matter is heat, storm or snow
-professional presentation and representation to clients, context in which any personal problem should be left at the door
-negotiations with clients for sales, cash in
-delivering orders if there are no dedicated delivery teams
-permanent protection of the cash and payment docs, car
-permanent positive attitude towards clients
-availability for extended working program.
And there are more but I prefer to stop here.
In the context of all above, I define the agent’s activity as a great magnifier in which different people / different functions from the company are looking in: general manager, commercial director, financial director, logistics director, marketing manager, human resources manager, etc.
Everyone’s expectations are that the agents must do perfectly their jobs, no matter the conditions. And when results are not in line, the commercial team is the first target.
It is good that you can track through the gsp system the route that an agent follows. But it is not productive at all to act as “police” on this subject. Better to monitor only exceptional cases.
It is known that the program in the company starts at 9, but you have to manifest understanding when agents do not come at the fixed time as long as they are on the field / at clients at 18-19-20, long after the time you usually arrived the home.
It is healthy for the company to have commercial conditioning in relation to clients at the level of discounts, payment terms, cash in etc. But if a good client delayed you the payment for several days, do not let the system automatically cancel his commercial conditions because the agent may miss future sales to that customer.
I quickly understood the particularities of salesperson’s work, I appreciated the complexity of this activity and as commercial manager I always acted to protect the commercial teams.
Who does not understand that the sales agent does not have a standard job 09-17, I invite him to spend a working day with an agent. Perhaps then he will be aware that the salesperson’s benefits (salary, bonuses, car, trainings, etc.) come with pressure, run, stress, customers who want more, prolonged time working etc.
And I invite him to ask himself if he can do the salesperson’s work. Because in many cases the vice-versa is valid.
Notification: MYPRODUCT reflects my real professional experience and expertise as well as my subjectivity. I do have a profound respect for all the companies I collaborated to and for all the people I worked with. It is not my intention to approach any sensitive, confidential or offending information related to companies, projects or people. If you the reader deduct or recognise companies, projects or people in my examples, I kindly ask you to respect MYPRODUCT and my professional and ethic approach and to not share any detail, information, situation, name, company.