Sales performance management (SPM) is a difficult task that’s only exacerbated by a down market. While the economy has made significant strides toward a sustainable recovery, there’s still a great deal of progress to be made before pre-recession numbers return. As a result, vendors have had to adapt their strategies to maximize revenue.

In order to streamline business and reduce overhead expenses, creative plans have been implemented. Many tactics go against the grain of traditional thinking, but have proven effective in today’s uncertain economic climate. Managers should always be willing to think outside the box to ensure that shifts in the market don’t hurt their businesses.

Recurring clients
The Financial Post writes that companies are putting a greater emphasis on recurring clients and maximizing the earning potential from a single patron. Previously, managers relied on relationship management to keep steady revenue streams, while representatives aggressively pursued new business. To encourage upselling to loyal patrons, vendors are increasing their sales incentives for returning business and requiring agents to study buying habits.

Additionally, agents are being asked to research their clients to further their relationships. Ashraf Gohar, vice president of business sales at Rogers Communications, told the news source that the emphasis placed on research has reached unprecedented heights.

“[There] has never been such a sense of urgency to having an in-depth understanding of our customers’ business in order to provide more value as well as develop new revenue streams,” Gohar said.

Relying on referrals
Improved customer relationships have also changed how agents find prospective customers. In a prosperous economic climate, vendors tend to develop compensation solutions for generating leads and converting consumers into actual clients. Destination CRM recently wrote that companies have switched gears and have come to rely on referrals from their current clients rather than require representatives to cold-call potential customers.

The news source found that a recommendation increases the likelihood of reaching a person, while purchasing power increases by 18 percent. Consumers are more likely to do business with a company that has been labeled as a trusted source. The odds of speaking with a potential buyer increases by an additional 22 percent when the referring party introduces the sales agents to the consumer.

Managers can capitalize on Destination CRM’s findings by offering incentives for referrals instead of traditional leads. The rewards motivate representatives to manage their relationships to find new business.