Friday, November 26, 2010

Using Indicators For Planning

With the intensification of sales planning and sales control, diverse sales indicators are becoming increasingly important as planning instruments of management. Effective planning is a core subject on all good management courses. The results of a survey of 316 European sales managers testify to this.

Economic data considered when planning sales include:

Industrial indicators 41%
Purchasing power indicators 39%
Retail trade indicators 30%
Number of inhabitants 28%
Wholesale trade indicators 26%
Manual worker indicators 20%
Property market indicators 19%
Health indicators 10%
Transport indicators 6%
Agricultural indicators 3%
Tourism indicators 2%

The basic premise is - the bigger a company's sales force, the more economic data is used to support sales planning.

1. Industrial indicators

The following data serves as a basis for planning: number of companies (79%), turnover (51%), number of employees (34%), investments (21%). Any planning which is done on the basis of industrial indicators depends greatly on the size of the company. Investment indicators are more likely to be used by companies with 51 or more sales people, for example, far more than small or medium-sized companies (40% compared with 21%).

2. Purchasing power indicators

Purchasing power indicators based on the net income of the population in the sales area, are primarily used by companies dealing in consumer goods.

3. Trade indicators

70% of the sales managers interviewed direct their planning in accordance with the number of retail and wholesale companies; 60% base their planning on the regional distribution of turnover and 25% on the number of company employees.

4. Population indicators

If population statistics are considered in sales planning, 93% of the sales managers consider the regional cross-section of the whole population, 14% distinguish between age categories and 9% distinguish between the size of community. Larger consumer goods companies also use the size of individual households and the number of married couples and babies as criteria for sales planning.

5. Property market indicators

The sales managers mainly consult four indicators: property investment (67%), planning and building permission (65%), condition of property (30%), completion of property (28%). When it comes to property investment, larger companies in particular distinguish between the renovation of old buildings and new buildings.

6. Agricultural indicators

Here is a list of the main agricultural indicators: the number of agricultural companies (73%), the condition of farming equipment (64%), arable land (27%). Other criteria include timber, livestock, special crops.

7. Health indicators

These are the main indicators for manufacturers of medication and medically-related machinery: the number of hospitals (50%) and the regional distribution of doctors (63%). Other statistics used in sales planning include the number of hospital beds (44%), the number of pharmacies and chemists (34%) and pharmacy turnover (19%).

8. Transport indicators

When making sales estimates, indicators such as the number of lorries (74%) and cars (60%) are taken into consideration. The registration of new vehicles (cars 53%, lorries 47%) plays a secondary role.

9. Tourism indicators

The number of tourist industries is an important planning criterion (71%). Others aspects which are considered include the number of beds/rooms (43%), and the number of bed and breakfasts (29%).

Indicators are not laid down for all eternity. In practice, it is a question of being flexible - When asked, 74% of the sales managers said that they take into consideration developments both within and outside the company and adapt their sales planning accordingly.

As covered on management courses any changes in the following external criteria would force a modification in sales planning:

Activities of competitors
Developments in clients' turnover
Price trends
Developments in branch specific investments
Technological developments
Developments in customer orders
Legal plans
Developments in environmental protection
Developments in customers' stock
Developments in consumer spending

Surprisingly enough, economically relevant statistics such as the development of interest rates, the exchange rate, unemployment or public debt are given little or no consideration.

Finally, here are some in-house reasons for transforming sales planning:

Introduction of new products Sales promotion measures Change of conditions Advertising measures Extension of capacity

Effective planning has many benefits especially with increasingly focus on maximising the return from the sales side of an operation. You can develop your planning skills on good sales management courses.

By : Richard_A_Stone

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