When Is It Time to Optimize Sales Resources?

By Michael Perla

“History is filled with brilliant people who wanted to fix things and just made them worse.” – Chuck Palahniuk.

If you've ever been into jogging, you know that you usually get injured if you violate one of the three “too’s” – too much, too soon, too fast. It’s easy to get carried away when you first start an exercise program. Similarly, in managing sales, if you don’t take a good assessment of where you currently are, you are bound to miss something and spend more time, resources, and effort than necessary.

I’m not talking about months-and-months of research, but it’s never a waste of time to ask yourself some key questions before you start most endeavors, especially since it’s easy for us to ‘lock-in’ on a single alternative or fool ourselves into thinking we are in a better state than we are.

What are the key questions to ask to determine if you need to optimize sales resources?

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The Sales Resource Challenge -- How Many, How to Align?

By Michael Perla

According to Harvard Business Review, companies spent $800B on sales force compensation and another $15B on sales training in 2015.  If you add in another $15B investment in CRM according to Gartner, companies spent $830B on people, people development and enabling technologies, which is roughly 5% of total US Gross Domestic Product.  This is a staggering amount of money invested to deliver revenue growth. 

Contrast this figure to the investment we make annually in optimizing the return on that investment.  Once a year, typically during the budget process, we sit down and think through how many sales people we need in the organization.  We may base our sizing assumptions on how we performed this year, our revenue targets for the upcoming year, or a financial analysis of the costs (e.g., recruiting, on-boarding) versus the benefits (revenue ramp-up time). 

More often than not, we devote too little time prioritizing our customers, determining our coverage model, and sizing our sales teams. Our need to reassess our go-to-market strategy is magnified when there have been major market or competitive shifts or if our company has grown through acquisition.

We all know the value of rebalancing our 401K to drive greater returns on our investment portfolio.  Yet, as collective stewards of nearly $1 trillion in sales investment, the question remains – why do we place so little time and effort in driving a greater return on our investment in sales? 

To answer that question, we developed an in-depth guide around the components of Sales Resource Optimization (SRO), including the 4 C’s of customers, coverage, capacity and capabilities. More and more of our clients are annually re-assessing how they organize and deploy sales resources to ensure they are keeping up with market/customer changes, which are happening at an accelerated pace today.

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Does Your Go-to-Market Strategy Make Sense

By Michael Perla

Over the last few years, one of the most popular content assets on the Symmetrics Group website has been this our Go-to-Market Strategy Primer. It’s a topic that many companies struggle with, and it requires both quantitative justification and qualitative ‘color’ to be actionable.

When it comes to go-to-market related questions, we often hear the following:

  • Should I start up or expand my inside sales team?
  • Does my indirect sales channel actually cost less than my direct team?
  • How do our customers want to interact with us – through which channel, device, etc.?
  • Overall, how can I increase my sales productivity, while also lowering my cost of sales?

These questions and many more point to the challenges of developing a go-to-market strategy.

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Why Your Go-To-Market Strategy is Probably Wrong

By Michael Taylor

Is your go-to-market strategy really a go-to-market tragedy? Here are 5 common pitfalls.

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Highlights from the Changing Role of Sales, Compliments of Big Pharma

By Warren Shiver

A great article in the WSJ (“Drug Firms Divert Pitch to Hospitals”) outlines how pharmaceutical sales reps are increasingly calling on hospital administrators as opposed to Doctors. The following graphic nicely summarizes this trend:

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How Do We Improve Our Go-to-Market Model And Strategy?

By Michael Perla

The title of this blog is a question I often hear from clients … and unfortunately, the answer is usually an “it depends.” The next reasonable question to ask is, “What does it depend on?”

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