Actions & Outcomes in Sales & Service

Getting right to the point: the desired goal and outcome of sales, customer service and relationship management initiatives is improved profit

Profit growth results from retaining valuable customers and cost-optimizing customer service.  Valued customers are acquired by the Sales process and enhanced and retained in the ongoing Service process.

Until now, these outcomes could only be measured after the fact, after the actions, often too late in the workflow to improve behaviors and performance.

But, that is finally changing…   Read more

Strategy vs. Execution: What’s More Important?

Strategy Formulation vs. Strategy Execution is like architecture and construction:  equally essential, and wholly interdependent.  One cannot fulfill without the other.

Without good blueprints, the house you build will be ugly and sub-functional, maybe dangerous (sounds like too many enterprises we all know, right?).  With good blueprints but bad construction, the house you build may be nice looking, but certainly sub-functional and definitely dangerous. 

Practically speaking, while both Strategy Formulation and Execution have their challenges and difficulties, we’ve seen…   Read more

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Performance Management will not work without effective feedback, reporting and information.

Once people have goals and targets, to keep them quickly adaptable to Plan changes and evolution over time, and to clearly communicate actual performance results, you need a comprehensive automated performance measurement system.

The Truth that “What Gets Measured Gets Done” is evident because measurement systems are explicit and overt statements from the enterprise to its workforce on how Success is happening, or not.   Read more

Automating Sales Operations: Why & How

These days, few if any organizations are still manually managing their sales processes. 

That being said, let’s state the obvious: using Excel to do anything is computer-enabled manual processing, but it is not automation.  Nor is using fragmented and dis-integrated tools for all of the elements related to sales and selling.  Just as the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, automated Sales Operations management is only as useful and effective as its weakest element.

The goal of selling is to generate more revenue and profits by acquiring, retaining and enhancing profitable customer relationships.  The goal of Sales Operations is to…  Read more

Performance Management’s Prime Directive

Twenty-five years and a few thousand client performance management projects have let us observe the evolution of organization strategy development and execution across multiple business cycles. This has provided us with a unique perspective on “what works and what doesn’t” in the realm of strategic and tactical planning, execution and performance management.

From that vantage point, we discovered a fundamental standard that has since unfailingly defined, and predicted, the extent to which human organizations succeed. It was, is, a profoundly powerful concept. We didn’t invent or innovate it, we observed and realized it during a client engagement in the early 1980′s.

Since then, we’ve seen similar organizations, implementing the same strategies, using the same processes, vendors and technologies, in exactly the same markets—each remarkably parallel enterprises in virtually all internal and external aspects—achieving diametrically opposite levels of success: one a market-crushing juggernaut, the other a market-crushed disaster. Why?   Read more


Lifecycle-Driven Workforce Incentives

When it comes to paying incentives/commissions/bonuses, at a high level, we’ve seen success with the general rule “reward individuals for events, reward teams for processes”.  But, there’s more precision needed to make incentive compensation plans produce the optimal strategy-aligned results.

Using the wrong metrics and incentives as they relate to both customer and workforce expectations, and to market/competitive conditions, will not yield desired strategic outcomes.

From our vantage point, incentive/bonus/commission compensation plans need to reflect not just overall enterprise strategic objectives, but also local market/channel Customer, Product and Employee Lifecycles; including full consideration of cross-dimension Customer, Employee, Market/Competitive Profiles.    Read more

Generally Accepted Performance Management Principles?

Given that labor costs represent one of the most significant expense items for most enterprises, it should come as no surprise to anyone that “personnel”, “talent”, or “human resource” management is a major strategic and tactical priority.

Too many organizations, however, both in and outside of the commercial arena, take far too much for granted when it comes to the management of workforce performance. The facts are that when it comes to the workforce, most organizations implement broad-based yet highly fragmented and ineffective initiatives, or invest the minimum required by regulation and law, or both.

Since there are no “Generally Accepted Performance Management Principles”, each enterprise is left to its own devices to imagine, construct, implement, sustain, and evolve its own ‘unique’ approach. They do so with the participation of stakeholders, subject matter specialists, consultants, technologists and governments who have not agreed on any standards.

Sadly, that’s the world within which most workforce members perceive they live and work.  The fundamental consequence is the under-performance of most human enterprises.

Employee/Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is an approach that applies the same process, procedure and technology rigor, consistency, and universality to workforce performance as organizations now apply to Financial Resource Management; at least within an organization.   Read more

Absentee Leadership Dooms Performance

One of the biggest misconceptions business and organization leaders worldwide have regarding performance incentive/ recognition/ merit plans is summed up in statements too frequently heard: “if we implement this performance incentive plan it will (choose one or more): manage itself, solve most of our problems, achieve most of our goals, bring us success”. 

The reality is that it doesn’t work out that way.  In fact, it is a guaranteed disaster; it is just a matter of ‘when’. 

Under-managed and un-managed incentive/recognition/merit plans are one of the most notorious proving grounds for the “law of unintended consequences”.  Many of history’s most notable and legendary business and organization catastrophes have had their fundamental roots in under-management.  And, there have been more organizational failures as a consequence of absentee leadership and senior management than virtually all other factors.    Read more

Getting & Keeping Workforce Engagement

Lest we forget, it’s your workforce that actually does the work to execute strategies to fulfill your goals and objectives. And, if your workforce isn’t “bought in”, or engaged, in your goals, objectives, strategies, and action plans, those simply won’t be achieved.

Getting, and keeping, workforce engagement is critical to success. It depends on the performance management equivalent of financial “materiality”: Relevance. For your goals and strategies to be successfully accomplished, they need to be aligned, relevant, and meaningful to the nature of the workforce, and their…   Read more

Performance Management is a Verb

What IS Performance Management?

It is not a software program or SaaS application that stores workforce performance appraisal results, competencies, and work histories.

It is not Business Intelligence, Analytics or Data Administration software or processes. 

It is also not administration, record-keeping, file management, or accounting about results.

We all tend to understand what we mean by “performance”, the work of getting something done.  The problem seems to be that some in the strategy, consulting, and software realms have inaccurately defined what “management” means.  Read more

Strategic Convergence:

Workforce, Customer & Channel Performance Management

What goes around, comes around. Once again, in an evolving post-downturn business climate, different relationship and performance expectations begin to re-emerge: “new” to some, “back to the future” for others.

Across every sector, the one-dimensional focus on workforce Sales Performance Management (SPM) is again beginning to reveal…  Read more

The Coming Retention Crisis

When economies downturn, the on-the-ground reality is that wealth-producing commercial enterprises (and, eventually also their dependent service-providers and governments) are forced to cut-back resource deployments: reduce their workforce, reduce investments, and reduce expenses.

Sustained economic downturns cut deeper into workforce reductions, into the realm of top-performers that missed cutbacks in earlier rounds. These downturns also reduce competitors, and reduce customer service levels of the surviving enterprises.

This chain of events sets up more on-the-ground bad news for unprepared enterprises when…   Read more

Getting Employee-Centric

While Financial Resource Management (FRM) and accounting generally have very coherent and internally consistent processes and procedures, most workforce-related initiatives and processes are fragmented, inconsistent, and often contradictory; sometimes in open conflict.

To succeed, organizations must implement and sustain full alignment of human resource, technology, and line of business process initiatives and activities, with complete rigor and integration.

In the same way that enterprises have worked to organize themselves across lines of business to be “Customer-Centric”, so too should they do so across administrative and functional lines of business (through line and staff, front- and back-office) to make processes and procedures universally “Employee-Centric”.  This will optimize workforce Certainty at all points, and achievement of desired performance results.   Read more

Strategy-Driven Execution…?

I read a Discussion on LinkedIn recently where the question was posed: what do you think about the effectiveness of Strategy-Driven Execution?

When the dizziness passed and I got back up into my chair, my primal response was:  hold on… is there anything ELSE that should conceivably be driving business process Execution, except Strategy?

And, if you have an answer for that other than ‘no’, then all my mind can visualize is…     Read more

Employee Segmentation

As far back as most everyone can remember, we’ve known the critical marketing importance of Customer Segmentation: separating and grouping similar customers based on their characteristics, needs, behaviors and other criteria.  Then, creating and executing marketing, sales and service strategies to optimize revenue from, and satisfaction of, those groups based on their differentiation.

Unfortunately, while most organizations continue to invest significant resources on understanding and segmenting their customer database, they’ve done little or nothing about understanding and segmenting the skills, characteristics, needs, and behaviors of the workforce: Employee Segmentation.   Read more

Strategy on the Street

Tracking & Reporting Individual Workforce Member Day-to-Day Performance: How Does Your Organization Do It?

Successful strategy fulfillment depends on effective strategy execution, and that depends on accurate, timely and relevant communication, and use, of performance objectives and results information (among other things, of course). 

What specific process and technology enablers does your organization employ to put “Strategy on the Street” and make it work?

How Fast Would You Run in the Dark?

It’s 3AM and it’s almost pitch black outside. The damp chill of the dead night air is on your bare arms. You can barely see your hand in front of your face.

An unseen voice tells you will be running a full marathon. Suddenly, someone points you in a direction and tells you run as fast as you can.  Then, they disappear.

How fast would you run?  How long would you run? And, at what point would you simply…     Read more