I used to work in the position of a National Sales Manager in Germany. Every year we had to present our plan in front of our General Manager.
It was my task to present the Field Force data, and it ended up in a disaster. Our General Manager was shouting at me because according to his opinion our performance in respect of the primary key performance indicators was lousy. I was shocked because I was sure that my sales force had better results than the others. I left the meeting with a ruined reputation.
Right after that meeting, I gathered my team to evaluate the reasons. It took us almost three days until we finally realized that the cause of the issue was our Sales Force Automation System.
Our system calculated each activity of a sales representative as a percentage of the entire day. It means, if a sales rep visited customers in the morning and then drove to a meeting, the system calculated 50% field day and 50% meeting. The Field Force Automation Systems of the others estimated every day which had only one visit as a full 100% day in the field. So, both systems calculated differently.
Therefore, our field days had been dramatically lower and our meeting days much higher than those of our colleagues.
What did I learn from that? I learned that it is not only essential to agree on Key Performance Indicators, but it is crucial to decide also on how these KPIs are raised and calculated.
During the next plan presentation – my sales team presented the best performance (calculated of all field forces – as I already expected before. :-)