For sales operations leaders looking to optimize their most important asset – people – bringing on an outside human resource consultant can provide an objective perspective. Sales teams often develop and scale rapidly, making it difficult to stay on top of competency development, retention, hiring strategy, and cultural elements amidst the daily grind. An HR consultant takes a step back to assess the health of the sales organization, identify needs unmet by current human capital initiatives, and spot gaps that may constrain revenue growth. This list provides 10 ways an HR consultant can analyze sales team structure, skills, career development, hiring practices, compensation, and culture to maximize productivity. With real examples and examination of potential trade-offs, sales executives can prioritize quick wins and high-impact projects when engaging HR expertise. An outside look at the sales organization can yield fresh ideas for motivation, development, and team building to drive results.

1. Assess current sales team competencies and identify skill gaps.

– Evaluate industry expertise needed for growth goals
– Determine specialized skills needed beyond core selling
– Audit manager capabilities for coaching and development

Pros and Cons:
Understanding required competencies and gaps helps guide recruiting and development. But comprehensive skills audits are time-intensive. Certain complex sales require advanced capabilities that demand investment. While generalist reps should stay well-rounded. Managers need coaching skills but formal training takes time.

2. Design training programs and methodology.

– Develop onboarding and ongoing learning programs
– Create sales process playbooks and methodology content
– Incorporate gamification and modern delivery methods

Pros and Cons:
Onboarding and continuous learning boosts proficiency and retention. But time away from selling and content creation is extensive. Playbooks improve consistency but over-reliance on scripts backfires. Gamification increases engagement if tuned appropriately.

3. Assess organizational structure and headcount needs.

– Model sales team capacity versus growth strategy
– Determine specialized roles needed
– Evaluate span of control ratios for sales managers

Pros and Cons:
Validating headcount needs provides hiring roadmap but adds costs. Certain complex solutions require specialized roles. But silos should be avoided. Reasonable spans of control better enable coaching but more managers dilute revenue.

4. Create compensation plan strategies.

– Develop competitive base, commission, bonus structures
– Design sales contests, SPIFFs, and incentive programs
– Model pay mix and leverage ratios

Pros and Cons:
Getting pay right is crucial for attraction and retention but costs may rise. Incentives provide motivation but can distort behaviors if not structured properly. Pay modeling enables flexibility but requires oversight.

5. Improve sales rep ramp up and retention.

– Reduce time-to-productivity for new hires
– Build programs focused on sales rep engagement
– Develop retention strategies for top performers

Pros and Cons:
Accelerating new hire ramp up improves morale but generic onboarding has limits. Engagement initiatives enhance culture but risks isolating poor performers further. Retaining top talent provides continuity but incentives can divide sales team.

6. Create hiring profiles and a recruiting strategy.

– Define key competencies and attributes for sales roles
– Determine campus, lateral and industry hiring needs
– Develop recruitment marketing and pipeline strategy

Pros and Cons:
Profiles and strategies improve hiring quality but limit flexibility. Campus recruiting builds cultural alignment but requires development. Industry hires provide expertise yet can lack adaptability.

7. Design performance management mechanisms.

– Implement consistent sales rep evaluation processes
– Set up one-on-one mentorship programs
– Develop skills-building individual development plans

Pros and Cons:
Consistent evaluations provide clarity but rigid systems backfire. Mentorship builds engagement at the cost of time. Development plans enable growth but rely on manager capability.

8. Map out sales career ladders and paths.

– Define career levels and associated competency requirements
– Create transparency into advancement opportunities
– Outline leadership development paths

Pros and Cons:
Career mapping aids retention by showing growth paths but rigid career ladders demotivate. Transparency helps top performers chart their future but raises expectations broadly. Leadership development enables succession but not all desire management roles.

9. Conduct sales team culture and engagement analysis.

– Survey for engagement levels and satisfaction
– Assess current culture traits versus desired
– Review trends from exit interviews for improvement areas

Pros and Cons:
Surveys provide data to improve but risk survey fatigue. Culture audits gain insights but shifting culture can take years. Exit interview data identifies trouble spots but the sample is biased.

10. Analyze team demographics and diversity representation.

– Evaluate sales team diversity metrics versus company goals
– Assess generational distribution requirements
– Identify imbalances in key demographics compared to customers

Pros and Cons:
Understanding diversity helps guide strategic recruiting but quotas spark controversy. Generational trends inform strategies but retaining knowledge transfer is vital. Customer facing teams less representative of buyers increase misalignment. But fully matching demographics has tradeoffs.

Sales Roadmap