Monday, April 03, 2006

HOWTO: streamline sales structure in a complex organization

This link (subscription reqd) talks about HP's Mark Hurd making the changes necessary to streamline a sales structure:

Eliminate unnecessary layers, clarify accountability
Thus began one of Mr. Hurd's biggest management challenges: overhauling H-P's vast corporate sales force. Last July, Mr. Hurd eliminated a sales group that sold a broad portfolio of H-P's products. He divvied up the workers among H-P's PC, printing and corporate-technology businesses to give the salespeople a chance to master the specific products they sell.

Specialization means better sales

H-P's corporate salespeople were responsible for hawking a broad portfolio of products and typically didn't specialize in any one product area. They reported to a group that operated independently of H-P's product-based business units. As a result, the three units also had little control of the sales process -- even though a big part of their budget went to the sales group.

Change compensation structure to include revenues AND MARGINS!!

In November, Mr. Hurd changed how H-P salespeople are compensated. Sales commissions were linked to how much revenue the sales teams generated. But, with his eye on the bottom line, Mr. Hurd also linked commissions to the profitability of the products sold. At the same time, H-P directed salespeople to use just one type of software from Oracle Corp. to track the sales pipeline. That move enabled Mr. Hurd and other executives to get an uncluttered view into the sales deals being chased at any one time.

Limit number of accounts, especially the named accounts

H-P narrowed the number of sales accounts that each salesperson was tied to, with the goal that each person would call on three or fewer accounts.

Consistency in collaboration process

...[conference calls] they occur every Monday, so salespeople could be on the road meeting customers the rest of the week.

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