Analytics-based sales transformation

An effective sales force is an essential contributor to the sustained profitability associated with high performance.

Overview

An effective sales force is an essential contributor to the sustained profitability associated with high performance. And yet a high proportion of sales forces are ineffective.

And yet a high proportion of sales forces are ineffective. The problem is twofold:

  • Too many sales people do not pull their weight: on average, the top 20 percent of company sales forces account for 62 percent of a company’s revenue.

  • Sales force turnover is too high, with nearly one in four having left their employers within the last year. Training new employees and getting them productive is hugely expensive in terms of money and time. It takes three to four times the headcount cost to train a new rep, and eight months to get him or her productive.

Attempts to improve sales force performance frequently fail because companies fail to integrate all three legs of the sales performance: competencies, behaviors and personality.

Accenture has created a four-phase integrated approach to sales force transformation that differs from conventional models in three critical ways:

  • It relies on rigorous meta-analysis of more than a century of research plus its own primary research.

  • It integrates all three of the critical determinants of sales success into a single model, tying together the competencies, personality traits and behaviors of top performers as the basis for improving sales effectiveness.

  • It is designed to be tailored to specific situations and roles to accommodate company-specific drivers of success.

Why Accenture

At the heart of Accenture’s approach is a proprietary methodology that enables us to measure the competencies, behaviors and personality traits of a company’s highest sales performers—and then use this analysis to create a program that will elevate the rest of the sales force to the same level. This analytics-based approach allows sales management to gain actionable insights into sales performance, develop workforce improvement initiatives, improve the effectiveness of the recruitment process, and make corporate training much more effective while reducing costs by up to 50 percent. The analysis also assists individual sales people in measuring their performance against top achievers and, using a recommendation engine, make necessary changes.

Another vital component of Accenture’s sales transformation offering is an extensive database of proven sales practices to help the sales force shift to new business or sales strategies.

For one client, Accenture reduced annual involuntary attrition by 30 percent (annual savings of $80 million by year five) and increased the ratio of high performers in the sales force from 10 percent to 12 percent. We also increased sales quota attainment by top performers from 110 percent to 120 percent, core performers from 80 percent to 90 percent, and low performers from 50 percent to 65 percent.

When working with a client to transform its workforce, Accenture typically adopts a four-phase process: planning and enablement roll out, analysis and road map.

Contact us to find out how Accenture can help your sales organization use analytics to transform itself and power the company toward high performance.

Specific Services

Accenture typically follows a four-phase process when helping a client transform its sales force:

Planning and enablement. We work with the company to assess its current state and sales activities, and define appropriate tiers of sales performance. We also build a plan to communicate with sales people regarding the goals of the initiative and how it can benefit them, and create a Web-based portal that will collect—and ultimately give sales people access to—appropriate sales performance and development insights.

Analysis. Accenture analyzes these performance maps to determine which personality traits, competencies and activities drive and predict sales success within that company for each of its individual sales roles. We then generate comprehensive, personalized reports for each sales person, manager and executive, which highlight key gaps between them and high performers, as well as pinpoint coaching and development programs that can help close those gaps. We also create an easy-to-use portal with which sales executives can generate their own customized reports—for example for example, to see the sales performance differences between geographies, markets and roles.

Roll out. We roll out our analytics tool across all target sales roles and collect and analyze financial and HR data, working closely with sales leadership to ensure that this data accurately reflects the company’s current state and/or desired future state. At the end of this phase, the company will have the performance of its sales force accurately mapped, and will have customized dashboards in place for sales people, managers and executives to access performance insights.

Road map. The fourth and final phase translates these gaps and programs into actionable recommendations and a detailed road map for the implementation of targeted improvement programs across the organization. While the specific activities of this final phase vary by company, they always include detailed development plans with robust business cases; coaching guides for managers to use with their direct reports and teams; and an online portal to support ongoing coaching and development, pre-hire and succession management, and the continual refinement of sales-related HR processes.