Rightsizing Your Sales Force

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16 Dec Rightsizing Your Sales Force

With a difficult year almost over, and another one on the horizon, now may be a good time to assess the size of your sales force. Maybe the economic changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic led you to downsize earlier in the year, or perhaps you have added to your sales team to seize opportunities. In either case, every business owner should know whether his or her sales team is the right size.

Various KPIs
To determine your optimal sales staffing level, there are several steps you can take. A good place to start is with various key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable you to quantify performance in dollars and cents.

The KPIs you choose to calculate and evaluate need to be specific to your industry and appropriate to the size of your company and the state of the market in which you operate. If you are comparing your sales numbers to those of other businesses, make sure it is an apples-to-apples comparison.

In addition, you will need to pick KPIs that are appropriate to whether you are assessing the performance of a sales manager or that of a sales representative. For a sales manager, you could look at average annual sales volume to determine whether his or her team is contributing adequately to your target revenue goals. Ideal KPIs for sales representatives are generally more granular; examples include sales by representative and lead-to-sale percentage.

More than Math
Rightsizing your sales staff, however, is not only a mathematical equation. To customize your approach, think about the specific needs of your company.

Consider, for example, how you handle staffing when sales employees take vacations or call in sick. If you frequently find yourself coming up short on revenue projections because of a lack of boots on the ground, you may want to expand your sales staff to cover territories and serve customers more consistently.

Then again, financial problems that arise from carrying too many sales employees can creep up on you. Be careful not to hire at a rate faster than your sales and gross profits are increasing. If you are looking to make aggressive moves in your market, be sure you have done the due diligence to ensure that the hiring and training costs will likely pay off.

Last, but not least, think about your customers. Are they largely satisfied? If so, the size of your sales force might be just fine. However, salespeople saying that they are overworked or customers complaining about a lack of responsiveness could mean your staff is too small. Conversely, if you have market segments that just are not yielding revenue or salespeople who are continually underperforming, it might be time to downsize.

Reasonable Objectives
By regularly monitoring the headcount of your sales staff with an eye on fulfilling reasonable revenue goals, you will stand a better chance of increasing profitability during good times and maintaining it during more challenging periods. Contact us for help choosing the right KPIs and cost-effectively managing your business.