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Measuring productivity and projecting goals

By Gerald Sherman

If a business does not plan to expand its productivity, then it is planning for failure. It will become stagnant and, just through normal attrition; it will lose its base of clients.

Measuring productivity and increasing sales volume is an important function of management. They must know how to put necessary training into action, set realistic goals and evaluate performance of the individual employee, the group and the department. These combined measurements reflect on the company’s success. Although the task can be stressful and ongoing, it

Gerald Sherman

is a manager’s responsibility. Avoiding it does a disservice to the employees and the company.

Management’s job is that of tracing and evaluating productivity. Should productivity fall behind, the manager’s job is to get to the bottom of it and address it. Setting sales projections and realistic goals is one of the first steps to get a hold on productivity. This requires monitoring sales, acquiring new clients and keeping the present ones.

Drops in productivity can be traced to a host of reasons. Regardless of the reason, address the situation as quickly as possible in order to restore normal activity. The manager must draw upon his/her knowledge to spot weaknesses and also employ their people skills to initiate a meaningful dialogue with their staff.

Projecting goals should be re-evaluated with each new public relations and advertising campaign and/or at the beginning of every quarter. All personnel responsible for increasing productivity should also be involved in setting and attaining their goals. Top producers are no exception as they could easily lose their ranking if their performances are neglected.

In a selling situation there is what is known as the “80-20 rule.”  The rule states that about 20 percent of the sales force sells about 80 percent of the company’s business. The reasons for this could be many. It could be their territory or account assignment. The ‘Big City’ assignment is more lucrative than the small town one. There are more prospective clients, they cater to a larger population and have a higher volume. Then, of course, there are “super salespeople” who will always come out on top because of their selling skills and exceptional talent. Taking all this into account, the responsible manager will set realistic goals.

In establishing the final goal, the manager must also take into account the type of territory, account assignment, previous and current volume, and trends in the specific marketplace and territory. The evaluation process of the individual and the weight of the final numbers must include perimeters that are fair to all segments,

Excerpts from the book, The Real World Guide to Fashion Selling & Management, Gerald J. Sherman & Sar S. Perlman, Fairchild Publications, Division of Conde Nast, (N.Y.).

Gerald J. Sherman, of Sherman & Perlman LLC., is a marketing and public relations consultant, sales coach and author who has written several books and articles on these subjects.

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