The only way to improve is to understand where you stand. Once you identify that, you need to understand how you got here and determine what it will take to move forward. Taking measurements, making adjustments, and repeating is the only way to know if you’re moving in the right direction. It is no different in sales management. Leaders already know where they stand regarding revenue, but they must increase the frequency of taking measurements of all aspects of sales behaviors for analysis to understand the direction they’re going.
The wrong way to measure sales performance:
If I and Lebron James were on the same basketball team and were forced to wear pedometers during our game, my step count might be close to Lebron’s step count, but my contribution to the game would be significantly lower. Now, imagine using step count to correlate sales performance amongst members of your sales team.
This is still done today! Ridiculous, right? I hope you think so!
Many sales leaders still use email count and call counts as leading indicators to predict sales performance. Most simply don’t know how to begin to capture additional data points to give them a better understanding of leading indicators for sales performance.
Building upon the right way to measure:
Predicting sales performance is a continued problem, but fortunately, many companies have begun to develop unique approaches to address this challenge. Companies like Gong, Chorus, Clari, and others monitor email communication and video conferencing metadata to measure communication behaviors. This data is organized into actionable information for sales leaders. They can use that data to compare what works and doesn’t in the area of video conference talk tracks and email communication. More data leads to increased dimensions of analysis to help sales managers pinpoint coaching opportunities. Over time, they can establish their own personalized best practices playbook for email and video conferencing communications.
Once they have their own personalized playbook, they can measure the deltas of all their sales reps and pinpoint where to focus their attention to help a particular sales rep.
Let’s face it, no sales rep wants to be an underperformer. Despite trying their best to perform, they may still come short and must be shown the way to success. Using these tools, sales managers can guide them through areas they need to work on and simultaneously monitor their improvements toward the best practices playbook.
Furthermore, sales managers can also use this approach to identify sooner reps that aren’t making the necessary adjustments and/or use these metrics as data points within a rep’s performance improvement plan.
More data requires more time to sift through the data. Sales operations and/or revenue operations teams should be equipped with the personnel to help sales leaders turn that data into actionable information. Sales leaders must continuously explore new ways to measure their sales behaviors to maximize correlation between leading indicators and sales performance.
Measuring a sales rep’s contribution to the business is relatively easy. Business leaders can do a query against revenue by rep to filter this out. However, measuring the supporting cast’s contribution is much more difficult.
On the horizon:
Looking forward, leaders should look inwards to measure sales behaviors to help them better understand the collaboration and contribution of the supporting cast (sales engineers, product managers, customer service reps, and others). By monitoring the collaboration between these internal resources, business leaders can identify top contributors to each sales rep. Sure, they know who their top sellers are, but they don’t know their top supporting cast members and what those members do to increase win ratios.
It takes a village to win large and complex deals. Using data to identify and recognize best practice behaviors throughout the organization will increase sales performance and success.
With over 24 years of sales experience, Deep Trikannad is now the Founder and CEO of Acceledgy. Trikannad works his problem-solving mind to disrupt how tech sales teams are measured. He aims to help accelerate business growth by empowering leaders to recognize, reward, and retain their top contributing employees.
By Deep Trikannad, Founder and CEO of Acceledgy