5 Surprising Discoveries We Learned from Sales Assessments with Prodoscore™

Prodoscore has conducted many sales assessments for companies across the globe. The goal is always to gain better perspective on how sales teams operate. The knowledge gained has helped leadership teams improve employee productivity and efficiency, and better understand engagement overall.

Here are some of the things we learned:

  • Business Owners Work Harder
  • CRM & Business Phone Systems are Not Being Used Effectively
  • Salespeople Are Frequently Off Message
  • There Is A Lot Of “Dead Activity” During The Day
  • Some Gaming of Business Reporting Systems Exists

As a general observation, we found that every company that participated in an assessment ALWAYS learned something new. Sometimes that revelation was further clarification on what activities were being performed or how time was spent. But most of the time, a “new” truth was revealed, which was best described by numerous participants as an “eyeopening” experience.

Business owner with group of employees in background

Business Owners Work Harder!

While this is a conclusion you would expect, what was interesting and quite revealing is how pronounced this behavior was. And, how consistently it occurred. The work ethic of a business owner at one compared to that of other employees at the company had almost a 20% improvement in productivity. Owners really do work harder, put in more time, and are a big driving force as to the level of success a business achieves. As a takeaway, if you can find a way to work with a business owner – do it!

Sales employee using personal cell phone to call a customer

CRM & Office Phone System Have Very Low Adoption Rates

Another observation that came through loud and clear is that, while every salesperson complains at some level about time wasted inputting data into CRM systems, most executives and sales leaders believe their teams are doing it. The overall consensus is that CRM provides a reasonably accurate picture of the current sales pipeline.

Unfortunately, after completing many assessments, it became clear that CRM systems are vastly underutilized. Many activities never get tracked, the sales status of specific deals is often out-of-date, and key new opportunities are seldom entered until quite late in the process. Part of these findings can be attributed to the uncertain nature of sales – no one wants to look bad for losing a deal. However, another key factor is the time and effort required to update a CRM. Those organizations that automated this activity were found to have a much higher quantity and quality of sales opportunity updates.

Another revelation was associated with organizations that had invested in a comprehensive office VOIP system. These typically included integrated messaging and mobile capabilities. The common theme we observed was that all this investment seldom resulted in productivity or usage improvement.

As validated by a research report by Jon Arnold & Associates, less than 10% of the companies that deployed a business phone system with mobile support actually saw utilization, let alone productivity gains. Integration between communication systems is often challenging – it also requires changing how people work and possibly learning a new application. As a result, usage rarely led to increased adoption, despite the best intentions.

Sales person writing an email to prospect

Sales People are Frequently Off Message

This was probably one of the most concerning points exposed as part of the sales assessment process. The product and service mix is an important part of executing a sales strategy. Product mix matters – it can mean the difference between achieving margin goals or not. Yet, when it comes down to what was actually presented during a sales call or an email exchange, messaging didn’t always align with the leadership team’s direction.

We suspect there are a few reasons for this behavior. Perhaps adequate sales training wasn’t provided, or maybe there was a lack of understanding by the salesperson? Legitimate concerns about promoting a product or service that wasn’t working were also noticeable. These shortcomings came up too often to dismiss as a random issue or one that could easily be fixed. Sales teams are often reluctant to shift gears and push new products or services. Especially if the new offerings extend beyond their comfort zone. This insight was highly valuable to the assessment participants and we’re told was incorporated into sales training programs.

Laptop turned off on a desk

Surprising Level of “DEAD” Activity During the Day

No one expects employees to perform like robots, being productive every hour of the work day. In fact, studies suggest that a “burst” strategy of working 90 to 120 minutes at a time followed by a 10- or 15-minute break is the optimal way to maximize output for most jobs.

What we observed, however, is that some members of the sales team had an OPPOSITE interpretation of this productivity research. These employees only put in about 10-15 minutes of high-intensity work followed by a 2-hour downtime. This extreme behavior was a bit alarming for some of our clients – to say the least!

This finding could suggest why companies are often reluctant to allow employees to work remotely. A common perception is that if given the opportunity to work with greater autonomy, some employees will take advantage. Here is where the value of remote visibility can really pay off. Solution providers like Prodoscore offer ways to address this concern quite effectively – as our sales assessments consistently revealed We actually found that most remote employees were engaged – it was an exception to the rule where the problems existed.

Employee sitting in from of his desk with laptop turned off

Some Gaming of Business Reporting Systems Exist

As a final observation, there were a few instances where salespersons were aware that their activity on email, calendar, phone calls, and CRM was being tracked. Bogus entries were recorded to make it appear they were busier than what was really the case. In one example, Prodoscore’s ability to synchronize calendar appointments with voice call activity (be it on a desk or mobile phone) led to identifying when an inconsistency occurred.

Of course, some of these might have been appointments made with the best of intentions, only to have the other caller not be available. But there was at least one instance where we found this activity to occur with far greater frequency.

A Sales Assessment provides insight into the levels of productivity of your team and highlights opportunities for improvement

What will you discover?

To set up your sales assessment, contact us today.
It will take approximately 15 minutes to get you up and running.

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