As a sales manager, you need to create a sales culture that exposes both good and bad habits and behaviors.
Performance reporting is where it all starts. In fact, performance reporting brings out the best in sales professionals. It’s the process of defining the best sales practices (habits and behaviors) that support the achievement of sustained selling success over time. The goal is to create visibility turning performance data into information that can be used to shape the sales team’s understanding of how superior selling performance is created.
The secret sauce
What’s your secret sauce? Most sales professionals have something about them that is unique, and enables them to be successful. Some have exceptional negotiation skills, customer service skills, presentation skills, priority and time management skills, and some sales professionals are great closers. No doubt, many sales professionals are great prospectors too. In fact, early in my career, I met a highly successful sales professional who consistently achieved 150 percent to 200 percent of his annual quota each and every year. He sold a very expensive product in a highly competitive marketplace, and he knew his secret formula for success (his secret sauce). It’s easier than you think. His key to success was “one a day.”
He told me his key to achieving sustainable long-term selling success was to prospect every day until he secured one appointment with a prospect that matched his ideal client profile.
He mentioned sometimes he would get that appointment by 9 a.m., and sometimes he would be on the phone all day and not secure a single appointment. His goal was to secure five appointments with new prospects each and every week. This was his one and only key performance measure.
Key performance measures
In a sales organization, selling success has a lot to do with establishing a personal selling success model. This success model includes repeating certain sales-related activities (habits and behaviors) that ultimately lead to increased selling performance.
The best set of key performance measures should be viewed as a forward-looking measurement system that helps the sales producer and his or her manager predict individual selling performance as well as help spot the need for assistance and/or changes in selling habits and behaviors. A proper set of key performance measures will help a sales team highlight the cause and effect relationship between sales-related activities and actual selling performance.
Examples of key performance measures within a sales organization
1. The number of prospecting calls
(or the amount of time spent prospecting).
2. The number of appointments secured.
3. The number of demos.
4. The number of new opportunities created (qualified prospects).
5. The number of new clients.
6. The size of the 30-, 60- and 90-day forecast (or pipeline).
7. The monthly close ratio.
8. Revenue and/or gross profit production.
Plan, execute, evaluate
Much of selling success hinges on the fact that there is a consistent process of activities that supports the achievement of selling success. The main purpose for having performance reporting (key performance measures) within a sales organization is so all members of the selling team are better able to learn from each other about how to best achieve consistent selling success. This is nothing more than a process of continual learning and team collaboration.
When properly structured performance reports are used by the sales team on a consistent basis, performance data will begin to have a pivotal impact on how responsive the sales team is to achieving their activity goals. And, of course, achieving activity goals leads to achieving production goals.
A sales manager can reduce complacency and a lack of discipline within a selling organization by increasing visibility regarding sales activities and overall sales performance. A high degree of performance visibility also supports the achievement of autonomy with accountability, something most sales professionals prefer over micro management.
Phil Mydlach is a performance management and channel development consultant and is the owner of Waukesha-based Mydlach Management Advisors LLC. He can be reached at (262) 662-4646 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His company’s Web site is www.mydlachmanagement.com.