Evaluating the performance of in-store sales staff is a regular process at most firms. Generally, the objective setting and evaluation is done in such a way that the KPIs and incentives of in-store sales staff are very neatly aligned to the business objectives. However, if we give more thought to understanding the effectiveness of in-store sales staff, following questions come to mind:
- How did the staff perform on the assigned objectives?
- What process did the staff follow before, during, and after shopper interaction?
- What was the differential impact of in-store staff on purchase intent of shoppers as a result of implementing the process as per their ability?
In order to assess the effectiveness of work process, we measured the work process compliance and some aspects of ability, and related them to the business outcomes that are being produced. We did this exercise for a mobile phone brand with over 300 in-store promoters deployed across 16 states in India.
Sample insights below demonstrate the aspects this exercise can help you understand:
1. Adherence to sales process at field level
A mystery shopper of profile similar to the target consumer of brand is selected.
The questions (in bar chart) are merely indicative of the aspects that can be studied: we explored compliance in the area of Hygiene, Communication skills, Need assessment, Product demonstration, Solution orientation, and Closure. The understanding of real situation at store can help you in guiding the compliance to desired state.
2. Relative influence of various aspects of compliance
Relative Influence of Various Aspects on Sales
Next, we explored the impact of process compliance on business outcome, through regression technique, to establish the importance of each aspect.
We chose shopper experience as the desired business outcome which was recorded for each interaction as the increase in purchase intent.
This activity can assist you in figuring out if your in-store sales staff is focusing on right aspects. The insights can also be used to guide the selection process of in-store sales staff.
3. Performance of your in-store sales staff compared to that of competition
The weights calculated above were used to generate an index which can be used to compare the performances across two interactions. With sufficient interactions per store, it can be used to compare two in-store sales staff with each other. We used the interactions to compare the performance of in-store sales staff of different brands. Clearly, these insights can help you identify the areas in which your in-store sales staffs need to improve. And based on the relative importance of these areas, you can prioritize their training/work process modifications.
4. Changes to be made to the work process/training needs of in-store sales staff
We think that a deeper understanding of your operations at ground level and their impact on business objectives can help you make better decisions with respect to your in-store approach. These types of studies, if undertaken on a regular basis, will help steer your business in right direction through insights based on fact based and analytical approach.
Finally, through a control testing kind of approach, you can also use this type of study to test the effects of modifications on the work process. For example, how does the shopper experience change on explaining different set of features during product demonstration? Or, how does the shopper experience change when the in-store staffs mention some information about the after sales support.