Have you ever had the experience of speaking with someone over the phone so many times that you build up an image of what that person looks like in your mind? If so – and most of us have – you probably recall the feeling of surprise when you actually first met that same person. Taller or shorter than you anticipated; younger or older; eyeglasses, hair color . . . the list goes on.
The lesson to be learned from this is that “limited information often leads to wrong conclusions” – and that lesson is nowhere more important than within your sales and service organizations.
If your organization is like most, your human resources department is the ultimate responsible party for assessing the value and performance of your employees. Of course there are “reviews” to help in this assessment, but employee reviews typically don’t paint a complete picture of an employee’s performance. And that’s because employee reviews evaluate a staffer’s actions only within the confines of the department they are assigned to – and not the departments that are affected by that employee’s actions.
Especially in the current economy, where organizations are being tasked to “do more with less”, many employees have gained responsibilities that span across multiple departments. And if you thought that it was challenging to get one manager to complete a review for one employee, just imagine how difficult it is to get two or three managers to work together to create a cohesive review for an employee who impacts each of their departments.
Difficult? Yes. Consider the following:
A salesperson’s primary responsibility is to sell, so you look at their “numbers” in order to fairly assess their performance. These numbers are often found in your CRM software application.
But does this salesperson target a disproportionately high number of financially risky clients? It might only be looking at receivables data in an ERP application that an organization is able to determine if this is the case.
And how about the “after sale” cost of this salesrep’s clients? Is this rep selling a sophisticated product to unsophisticated clients, resulting in a huge burden on an organization’s customer support staff? Is the after-sale support cost wiping out all of the profits from the initial sale? A peek into an organization’s customer support system would let us know.
All too often an employee’s performance assessment is based on insufficient data because an organization doesn’t have the time or resources to collect, compile, and reconcile all of this information.
Therefore -- this process should be automated.
Now – before you get concerned that we’re advocating automating the entire employee review process – we’re not. What we are advocating, however, is automating the collection, compilation, and reconciliation of the employee data you and your managers need to achieve the best performance reviews possible.
And although almost all sales, finance, and customer service applications contain some kind of querying, reporting, and/or BI functionality for retrieving data, those modules are inadequate for this task for one reason: they are unable to look at cross-departmental indicators.
Judging a salesrep by sales numbers alone is insufficient. So too, for example, would be judging their performance based on their attendance or absenteeism from the office. But – if a salesrep has experienced a decline in sales numbers (as shown in a CRM or ERP application) at the same time their absenteeism has increased (in an HR application) – now we have a definitive sign of decreasing performance.
This kind of cross-departmental collection, compilation, and reconciliation is essential for organizations today – not just to improve the evaluations of employee performance, but also to measure the overall health of their organizations.
No one works in a vacuum; if anything, jobs are requiring more cross-departmental knowledge and participation than ever before. Whether motivated by a desire to do a better job evaluating employee production, or by a corporate mandate to identify inefficiencies in your daily business activities, you owe it to your organization to use tools that let you look at the whole picture. Anything less than that can leave you guessing.