How to Audit Your Sales Force

Published: 08th September 2009
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The sales force audit is a procedure for diagnosing a sales organisation. It shows management the weak points and areas for development to improve business performance. A good sales management training course covers the keys aspects of how to conduct an audit. A sales force audit has three main aims. The first aim of a sales force audit is to discover existing problems in the sales organisation. The second aim is to examine the relationships between the sales force and other areas in the process. The third aim is to recognise the factors influencing the success of the sales force.

The Sales Manager can conduct the audit themselves, or if time and know how are limited then an outside consultancy can be used. it can often be preferable to commission a critical, impartial and knowledgable third party to carry out the audit.

The following is a summary of the most important areas to be examined in a sales force audit.

The first set of factors to be audited should be the external influences on the salesforce organization. These would include factors external to the operation such as economic, demographic, political and legal developments; technological trends; competitors (strengths, weaknesses, business policy); markets (chance, risks); customers (the buying decision process, service expectations). Also included in this first phase of the audit would be factors within the operation, such as organisation (company targets, organisation structure); relationship between sales and marketing management, relationship with other parts of the undertaking.

The second part of the audit should examine factors relating to sales planning. These fall into three areas: aims (aptitude, measure ability; whether realistic); strategy (measures employed to reach targets; distribution of these measures across the parts of the market) and operation (information system for planning and control).

The final part of the audit would look at sales force organisation factors. These can be subdivided into eleven key areas, detailed below as covered in sales management training:

1. Organisation structure: product, client or area-oriented division applicability with regard to the fulfilment of customer wishes.

2. Recruitment and selection of sales executives: Personnel selection procedures (sources, costs, test procedures); job descriptions; definition of requirements; number of salesforce; rate of fluctuation.

3. Leadership and motivation: leadership techniques; control measures; incentives.

4. Training and instruction: training objectives; education programme; methods of instruction; training efficiency.

5. Remuneration: Planning salaries; relationship between variable and fixed incomes, fairness of the system; comprehensibility of the system; satisfaction of the employees; regulating expenses.

6. Assessing sales representatives: assessment procedures and criteria; setting targets as a result of the assessment.

7. Procedures: cover charge or business orientation; nearness to reality; flexibility; fairness; achievability; attention paid to individual, area, product and client related qualities.

8. Budgeting: accuracy of budget; fitness for meeting targets and controlling staff.

9. Analysis of target or actual turnover: procedure (product; client; area orientated; time span).

10. Sales areas: criteria for division; potential; fairness of appointment areas.

11. Journey planning and visits: scale of planning; procedures; efficiency with respect to punctuality and accuracy.

The output of a properly conducted sales force audit can be used to identify actions that will improve sales efficiency and effectiveness. To learn more about ways to improve business performance, attend a good sales management training course.

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