But that goodwill and all of the information in the world won’t help your organization improve unless it is properly synthesized, communicated, and socialized throughout the organization.
- You want to be able to analyze your data and conversations to look for trends that signal what to change and what to leverage.
- You want to be able to demonstrate to your sales reps that you take this process very seriously and hold them accountable for maintaining high standards.
- You want to be able to tell your clients (if presented with the opportunity) that you’ve used their feedback to improve your business, which will have an impact on how they are served.
With the right data, you can adjust pricing, delivery, follow-up service, packaging, and other physical aspects of the transaction. But what you learn about your sales reps must be reviewed and assessed with great care. Especially in discovering deficiencies among your reps, you must be sensitive to not humiliate the sales rep or the sales manager.
If a major issue surfaces related to the sales rep’s performance or conduct, then that merits an immediate discussion with their sales manager, who will then discuss the issue with the rep. Again, this process is not meant to be punitive, but that doesn’t excuse the rep from basic standards of performance and professionalism.
If your process is one that strikes paranoia into the sales organization, then you should determine the cause and adjust. To be effective, your sales reps should be looking forward to how they can best sell and serve clients, not over their shoulder out of fear.
Beyond personnel lessons and concerns, consider sharing other findings from the interviews with sales, marketing, and product leaders. They’ll appreciate being included in the process and having the opportunity to provide opinions as to what they believe are the most important lessons learned, what we can do to improve or sustain performance, and what we’re going to do as a business to drive these learnings.
The following is a simple but effective framework to drive outcomes:
- What do we keep doing?
- What do we start doing?
- What do we stop doing?
- What is the timeframe for implementing the action plan?
Frequency and timing of reviews and actions
Speaking of time frames, how often should these internal assessment meetings occur with sales, marketing, and product leaders? While the interviews with clients should occur as the deals are won or lost, get into the habit of analyzing the data you collect monthly, quarterly, and annually. Perhaps you can circulate reports on a monthly basis and gather to meet in person quarterly to discuss any necessary changes or actions.
Time is money. If you see something that needs to change, don’t wait to bring it up six weeks from now at the next quarterly meeting. Raise the red flag and be willing and flexible enough to adapt on the fly. Even worse than not soliciting input is knowing what to change yet doing nothing about it!
You’re not in business to be a collector of great information. This isn’t like your baseball card collection gathering dust in the attic but gaining value over time. If you fail to act on what you know, then you’ve failed. To collect detailed sales data and then follow up by personally interviewing your buyers, yet stopping short of analyzing and acting on those insights, would be shameful.