Why Effectiveness Trumps Efficiency
In their quest to cut costs, many organizations become obsessed with efficiency. Already, managers can track a call center agent's average handle time for telephone support, or the number of client meetings a salesperson has in a particular month. As businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies, they'll have access to even more employee performance and efficiency data than ever before. However, while it's tempting to track and improve employee efficiencies, there are times when it's better to focus more on effectiveness.
Experts in our cover story, "Where Does CRM Go From Here?" by Marshall Lager, support this notion. "Things that increase the efficiency of sales reps are not valuable today," says Jim Dickie, managing partner at CSO Insights. "If all we are doing is saving time, then the scenario we are setting up is that the average rep can make more average sales calls. What is really needed is for reps to make great sales calls."
This is why sales managers should focus on making their sales teams more effective, and not necessarily efficient. Providing salespeople with the right tools and knowledge can help. But the challenge for many organizations is convincing their sales teams to regularly use the CRM system.
LevelEleven's sales performance platform, which integrates with Salesforce.com, enables sales managers to highlight desired sales behaviors for each team member, set personalized goals for each salesperson, and stimulate sales with real-time leaderboards, enabling salespeople to see how they are performing relative to their peers. This information is also available to team members on multiple devices.
Marketers should also be measured for their effectiveness. It's not about the number of leads they can hand over to salespeople; it's about the number of high-quality leads they can deliver. Thanks to a new crop of predictive lead-scoring technologies, marketers can provide salespeople with prospects who are most likely to buy. These solutions are already available from companies such as Lattice Engines, Leadspace, and Salesfusion. Expect more coverage from us on this promising market segment.
Even in the contact center, where cost cutting and time management are top priorities, managers should also focus on effectiveness. At the recent Freshdesk Customer Happiness Tour stop in New York City, event organizers facilitated an interactive question-and-answer session, and invited audience members to recommend ways to improve customer service and support efforts. One audience member suggested that, while it might take a little more time, agents should categorize support tickets. Doing so, this person maintained, could help track customer trends. Wouldn't it be nice if contact center managers could identify why customers are calling, and spot emerging problems before they overwhelm an organization?
For more insight into the efficiency versus effectiveness debate in the contact center, read our feature story "In Customer Service, It's More Efficient to Be Effective" by Leonard Klie.
I'm not suggesting that organizations should not try to become more efficient. They should. However, when they do, they should always consider how people, processes, technology, and knowledge might be affected by process improvements. If any of these core assets are negatively affected by efficiency efforts, then executives should consider a new plan that incorporates effectiveness as well.
Allow me to welcome the newest member of our editorial team: Associate Editor Oren Smilansky. Oren comes to us from Publishers Weekly, where he served as a freelance editorial assistant. At CRM, Oren covers sales and enterprise strategies. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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