Who Owns Your Customer Relationships: Your Salespeople or Your Company?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Dec 21, 2011

Your R&D group develops a unique new product. Manufacturing produces it. Finance puts the systems in place to track the money coming in. Marketing designs the promotional campaign. Your sales force is ready to execute. "We own the relationships with customers," say your salespeople. "The company holds us accountable for revenues and expects us to develop and maintain the connections to drive sales. Just pay us our commissions and leave us alone."


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Five Ways That Higher Sales Goals Lead to Lower Sales

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

Companies set goals for their salespeople and most link incentive pay to goal achievement. Many advocate using stretch goals to improve the company's chance of achieving financial targets, reasoning that challenging goals motivate salespeople to think big, be creative in finding ways to create customer value, and attain performance levels never thought possible. But is that always the case?


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How to Manage Forced Sales Rankings

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Wed, Jul 27, 2011

A vice president of sales recently told us that he drives sales growth by publishing a monthly forced sales ranking of all salespeople. "Salespeople love the competition. They like to see where they stand, what it takes to be #1, and who they beat. Ranking really drives the competitive juices!" But one of the VP's salespeople had a different view of published forced ranking: "My territory covers a large geography that has less opportunity than other territories. The salespeople in big opportunity territories are always at the head of the leader board. Everybody sees my ranking, but do they ever consider how tough my territory is? I'm sure I'd be close to the top if I had a better territory."


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Is Your Sales Force Addicted To Incentives?

Posted by Andy Zoltners, Prabha Sinha and Sally Lorimer on Mon, Jul 11, 2011

A distribution company pays its salespeople entirely though commissions on sales. The philosophy is "you eat what you kill." Salespeople keep their accounts permanently after making a sale. Many tenured salespeople earn several hundred thousand dollars a year, mostly by selling to long-time customers who provide a continuous and stable source of revenue and income. These veterans are basically order-takers who feel no urgency to develop new business. Yet as market growth slows, the company can't attract and retain new salespeople because it's too hard to build a sufficient book of business to earn a living.


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