Are your KPI’s providing an accurate picture of sales success?
I am often asked by sales managers that are looking to improve the performance and consistency of their sales team what sales activities should I be looking at within my sales team?
For me it’s an important factor that will have a massive impact on whether a team will be a) successful and b) consistent, the trap a lot of sales managers fall into is monitoring and scrutinising and encouraging the wrong type of activities, the biggest mistake managers make is believing that making lots of calls, attending lots of meetings and sending out lots of proposals will on its own bring sales to the team on a consistent level, without exception managers that ensure their teams focus on carrying out consistent productive activities within three key areas of their daily activities, will be far more productive and will always outperform a team of busy salespeople.
I start by ensuring that the managers I work with split the teams’ activities into three key categories, business development activities to create new sales leads and sales opportunities for their pipeline, sales progression and development activities to focus on progressing and moving existing sales opportunities through the sales process and client development activities to develop and strengthen existing relationships and to continue to engage key contacts within the business and add value.
The first measurement I change within any team I work with is the switch from monitoring dials to monitoring conversations and the outcomes and next steps these conversations create, dials won’t make your sales and I have seen it all too often that if you target an underperforming salesperson to make x number of dials, they will happily make these dials but what outcomes are they delivering?
By switching the focus to the outcomes and measuring valuable conversations and the outcomes these conversations deliver, naturally creates an environment where the sales team are no longer thinking about just making a call to fulfil a KPI but thinking about how they are going to engage with a prospect or client, what questions they need to ask and what outcomes they want to achieve from a conversation and it is this shift in mindset that starts a sales team on a journey towards a very different level creating the successful outcomes that in turn generate sales and revenue.
The next measurement I focus upon is the level of insight and understanding that the sales team have within their current opportunities, when a salesperson knows that they will have to demonstrate a level of insight and understanding relating to a sales opportunity and more importantly when they understand the impact this has on the potential outcome of the sale this again creates a change in mindset moving away from just qualifying an opportunity to actively seeking a level of insight and understanding that will provide valuable information to assist that person in progressing the opportunity through to a point when a decision is made.
The two other key measurements I would be looking at would be around the activities the team are carrying out to continue to engage with prospects and how they are adding value and reinforcing the values and outcomes their product or solution will deliver to a client or prospect and what actions they have taken to progress an opportunity to the next stage within the buying and selling process.
One of the most valuable outcomes this switch of mindset provides sales managers with is more predictable pipelines filled with opportunities that are backed up with a higher degree of probability and above all more consistency when it comes to target achievement, I hope you have found this a useful perspective, in parts two and three of this series I will be sharing the activities salespeople should be focusing on when generating leads and developing existing client relationships.