“You are no longer good at what you do once you have stopped improving.” This observation by engineer and inventor Robert Bosch has lost nothing of its truth. The key to continuous improvement is the simplification of complex structures and measures.
Have you structured and standardised your sales activities? Have you found a sales tool that automates and organises all sales processes? Were the right KPIs collected during sales controlling? Excellent! By taking these initial steps you have laid the foundations to optimise your sales in a well informed and qualified way. Continuous analysis of sales performance allows you to measure the value of individual processes and resources throughout the value chain. Therefore, this enables reevaluation of how important individual contributors are to the business as a whole.
Sales optimisation: a constant task carried out in small steps
The process of improvement can be repeated and refined time and again in ever higher levels of quality once all sales processes have been thoroughly revised. Sales optimisation is a permanent task: All current processes and resources need to be appraised regularly. New measures can also be tested. Small steps instead of hectic leaps make the whole process smooth and harmonious.
Jettison unnecessary ballast: have the courage to strip things down to the bare essentials
But long-term improvement will not be possible without the courage to eliminate unsuccessful sales methods and to concentrate on key strengths. Unclear, inconsistent and complicated processes waste energy that could otherwise be used for actual business. A sales management team that is increasingly busy managing the repercussions of an overloaded structure will be unable to focus on introducing strategically important sales measures.
Reducing complexity can help to remove excess structural ballast. Less is more: Prestigious companies in a variety of sectors have impressively demonstrated the truth of this statement. Whether it is the discounter Aldi and its limited range, Apple with purist design and functional products, or Google that disposes of unsuccessful business divisions rather than dragging them along.
Quick Check: Are you focusing on the measures that are actually important to your business?
Sales managers and others who are responsible for the business should be able to answer a raft of questions on sales performance, including:
- What is the decision-making process for investments in sales optimisation measures?
- Which previous measures have been most successful – and why?
- Were follow-up measures taken as a result?
- In what way are your sales contributing to the overall success of the business?
- Which factors makes your sales successful?
- What is holding back your operative sales activities?
- Who are the best performers in your sales department? Why are they so successful?
- Which sensible options are there to reduce complexity in sales?