header Results-Oriented Sales Management: Focusing on Input, Throughput, and Output

Results-Oriented Sales Management: Focusing on Input, Throughput, and Output

Results-oriented Sales Management is absolutely achievable. Crucial for this approach is the focus on Input, Throughput, and Output.

Management and Sales Management often focus on revenue and margin in practice. Understandable, as these indicators seem relatively simple to link to performance. However, it’s not easy, or actually impossible, to effectively 'steer ahead' an organization or employees based on these alone. As a Sales Manager, you are by definition too late because these are outcomes of efforts already made, i.e., Output.

Driving by Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Steering only based on Output is like driving by looking in the rearview mirror. You look at what has passed and can't see what's coming. If a company really wants to practice result-oriented Sales Management, then it needs to steer on Input, Throughput, and Output.

Of course, this is a big challenge, because even if you are convinced of the huge value, there is often a lack of determining the Key Performance Indicators. Additionally, the Sales Manager risks restricting the freedom of the salesperson.

Furthermore, the actual importance of the individually determined KPIs must be accurately assessed. Obvious is the determination of the number of phone calls, appointments, quotes, and conversion ratios. Sometimes important, but not always.

Six Essential Questions for Optimal KPI Determination

  • Is there a thoughtful sales strategy?
  • How market- and customer-oriented is the sales organization structured?
  • Is there an approach for each prospect and customer segmentation?
  • How do the various sales processes proceed?
  • How do the various account management processes proceed?
  • Has buy-in been created?

From Sales Process to Salesperson

Ultimately, all involved must take the right steps from the strategy and objectives. The crucial question then is where exactly in the various customer-oriented processes are the steps that are crucial for the desired result.

An objectively evaluable value is assigned to these steps. Adding value works best when done at the employee level.

So, Input, Throughput, and Output are determined from the process and their value at an individual level.

Put the Salesperson at the Center

In results-oriented Sales Management based purely on the right Input, Throughput, and Output, the salesperson must also be central. As a Sales Manager, ensure good personal contact, coach him or her where the salesperson needs it, and apply the style of Flexible Leadership.

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