Sales revenues are growing faster than sales expenses in 75% of the companies surveyed by Learning International, a training and business-research company in Stamford, Conn. But sales expenses are up in five out of six companies. The average increase in expenses over the past few years: 16.2%. Yet sales executives ranked "expense control" relatively low on a list of activities that affect sales productivity.
What activities affect sales productivity?
(by % of sales executives who claim activity has "major impact")
BUILDING LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS WITH CUSTOMERS96%Selling effectively against the competition90%Maintaining high morale among salespeople
87%Controlling expenses within the sales department46%Running incentive programs that reward particular efforts
39%Dealing with personal problems among employees33%
Source: "Sales Productivity in the 1990s," a survey of 300 sales executives, 76% with 99 or fewer salespeople. Learning International, Stamford, Conn., 1991.