Understanding who is driving your sales team’s success and who is holding it back should not be a mystery, but for too many businesses it is just that. Recent research from data marketing firm JNR, shows that 60% of companies do not have a means to measure sales performance.
In order for sales managers to know which salespeople are stars and which are suspect, they need to have the right tools in place to track and measure performance on an ongoing basis. Being able to monitor performance puts sales managers in a position to make all the necessary adjustments to encourage excellence from all sales consultants.
Firstly, it is necessary to understand just how successful the team is on the whole. This can easily be achieved by setting up a standard set of metrics that encompass key sales team targets. The performance indicators can include:
- Number of leads received
- Number of leads converted into opportunities
- Number of leads that progress through each stage of the sales cycle
- Average length of the sales cycle
- Number of sales won
- Revenue breakdowns and averages.
These metrics can then be applied on an individual level. It is particularly important when assessing individual performance to track follow-up time, opportunity conversion rate, and the time it takes to progress a lead.
Having these metrics to hand will provide clear visibility as to who is achieving and who needs coaching. Many sales managers rely heavily on instinct to identify their strong performers but intuition alone is not enough; they need to look at the actual performance metrics before taking any real action.
When a sales rep is accused of poor performance, they usually argue the situation was beyond their control, due to circumstance. All too often this is simply not the case. If you establish a standardised sales process supported by continuous monitoring, the real reasons for strong or weak sales performance quickly become clear. This process should take you through various stages of each sale: from lead management, to discovery, to the pitch, to demonstration, to financial commitment, to the close.
Establishing a sales process is just the first step. It has to be backed up with the right technology; otherwise, you won’t achieve true visibility of all sales activity. Therefore, it is critical to deploy a platform for capturing and analysing the sales data, such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. CRM provides an accessible platform for easily identifying where in the process performance can be improved, both on a team and individual level.
CRM enables the sales manager to review all the hard evidence of team performance. Once you have these metrics at your fingertips, you are in a strong position to forensically analyse the sales situation and identify what actions need to be taken to improve the performance of struggling salespeople, whilst seeing who appears to exemplify best practice that is worth emulating across the team.
Not only does CRM help sales managers gain full visibility of their team but it allows each individual sales consultant to monitor their own performance, showing them where their approach needs sharpening and motivating them to make improvements so they hit their targets. What’s more, through CRM, sales reps can take advantage of automation, tap into customer intelligence, formulate action plans and keep up to date on each contact’s situation – and do all this either in the office and on the road via a mobile device.
It doesn’t take a detective to know what your team is doing and how you can boost performance – it just takes a good process, the right metrics and an effectively configured CRM solution to truly take the mystery out of sales management.