Have you ever wondered what the best way to manage your customer portfolio might be?

Recent research undertaken one of our staff, Luke Robbins, as part of his recent successful completion of a Masters Degree in Sales Management, might have the answers for you!

In his research, Luke looked at a wide range of portfolio management approaches in sales and business management literature, to determine what great sales management looks like and the extent to which it is happening within RSA.

As well as reviewing over 300 sales journals, Luke also carried out in -depth interviews with key sales managers within RSA, to understand their approach to portfolio management and identify the link between their activity and best practices identified in the sales literature review process.

The research discovered that there are six common criteria adopted by sales managers when considering how best to manage their portfolio.

The research also identified a number of strong correlations between the current practices employed by the sales managers within RSA and best practices identified in literature.

These six criteria and their measures of effectiveness are shown below:

Portfolio management criteria

Measure of effectiveness

Balance

The needs of RSA and the customer are defined

The customer’s fit within the overall portfolio is defined

Internal resources to support the partnership are defined

Categorisation

The value of the customer to RSA is defined

The activities between RSA and the customer are defined

Internal and external goals have been agreed for the customer

Relationship

The customer’s behaviours are defined

The relationship strength is regularly measured

Non-financial benefits have been identified and are measureable

Financial

Income and profitability goals are defined and are regularly reviewed

Resources  allocated to the partnership are regularly reviewed

Value KPIs have been identified and are regularly reviewed

The good news is that there is a strong correlation between what these six criteria and what RSA sales managers do in practice, although there are three areas where we could get even better, as follows:

1/ Develop the role of the sales manager to include greater focus on internal people management and external goal setting.

2/ Review the KPIs we use to manage our portfolios, avoiding the current reliance on value indicators and moving to more customer-based measures.

3/ Develop the best practices already in place, such as the role of the sales manager as the orchestrator of the RSA relationship business.

The results of the research have been shared with RSA HR and are under review to develop the ways in which we deliver great service to our partners.  If you’d like to know more about the six criteria and how they can help you improve the ways in which you manage your portfolio effectively, please feel free to give Luke a call.