Sales managers must recognise how task interference impacts sales effectiveness

When a salesperson is performing poorly and not hitting sales targets, too often a sales manager will assume the fault lies with the employee. While this assumption may often be right, frequently the root of the problem lies elsewhere. It's essential therefore that sales managers identify the cause of the performance problem before confronting an employee.

As part of this first step of managing poor performance, sales managers should determine if there is any task interference.

Simply put, task interference is any obstacle that prevents the salesperson from doing their job. It's important to recognise that task interference comes in many forms.

Task interference can occur when salespeople aren't provided with the necessary tools, resources and information to do their job. To be effective in creating and selling value rather than merely selling product features, salespeople need good information on the products they're selling, and the right access channels to that information.

Another form of task interference, which may sound counterintuitive at first, is when salespeople are denied sales training. A classic perspective from sales management can be that by removing training, their people will have more time in the field. But of course this is only the shortest of short-term solutions. Sure, you've just bought your salespeople an extra day or two in the field. But by not giving them the chance to constantly learn and reinforce the skills and thinking that makes them proficient, they'll progressively become less effective and overall sales performance declines.

There are many more ways your salespeople can experience task interference. So whenever you are observing poor performance against sales quota, it's crucial to evaluate whether task interference maybe a cause.

Posted: 12/10/2010 9:09:42 PM by Andy Klein | with 1 comments
Filed under: effectiveness, interference, sales
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Leighton Jenkins
Some good points. In a similar vein the use of Sales Force Automation within a CRM system can cause this too.

Well designed they can help a sales person. However, if badly done the sales team will exert more energy avoiding the tools than using them.
13/10/2010 9:39:18 AM