In many ways, measuring performance is simple. You are either getting it done or you’re not. If you’re a salesperson, you are either putting up the numbers or you are not.
But that measurement can be misleading and unclear. It doesn’t tell you why and how the numbers are appearing (or not). You need to figure out why and how certain factors lead to success or failure, as opposed to focusing on whether or not you’re successful (the what).
Focus on the why and how and forget about the what.
Measuring sales performance should start with your “zoom level”.
Like a zoom lens on a good camera, think about measuring yourself and your people as a series of zoom levels. Determine what’s most important at each level to create an accurate picture of performance.
Zoom #1 = Activity Level
Zoom into a week’s activities. What do you see? On a daily basis, where do you spend your time?
For example, a sales manager could ask him or herself questions like this: How many daily calls are you making? How many prospects have you talked to? How many thank-you notes have you written? How many testimonial stories have you captured? What are the most important daily and weekly activities you can be executing in order to fill the various stages of your sales pipeline?
My recommendation is that you choose 3-5 things to measure each and every week, and create a dashboard of these activities. For example, I personally measure four items at the Activity Level:
- Number of existing and former clients I speak to
- Number of interesting articles or posts I send to my network
- Number of thank you notes I write (not email),
- And the number of meetings with prospects I have each week.
Now zoom out.
Zoom #2 = Program Level
The next level of work that most sales organizations engage in are “programs.” Programs include trade shows, digital marketing campaigns, networking events and cold-calling blitzes. These occur every once in a while, but probably not every day or week. So measure them. What are the five measures you will use to gauge performance for a trade show, for instance? I would measure the number of:
- Pre-arranged meetings
- Demos given
- Raw leads
- Qualified conversations
- and post-show meetings.
These five metrics can tell you whether or not that trade show “program” paid off. When measuring sales performance, it’s important to make decisions about what is working and what is not.
Zoom out again.
Zoom #3 = Business Level
As a part of measuring sales performance, how are you measuring your business? Most companies now have a dashboard, but I find that they are much too complex to be useful.
Having access to tons of data is like having seven bottles of booze in your cabinet. Yes, you have it, but you don’t try to drink it all at once.
Pick your 3-5 most important metrics and measure those. For a B2C business, perhaps these are unique views, view-to-registers, register-to-subscribes, attrition and average revenue per user. For a B2B company, the measures might be number of proposals, closes, average contribution margin, attrition, and client delight.
Here’s the key: zoom out to only those few things that are really important to your business. If you zoom out to all of the data you can capture, there will be no coherent story there and you won’t have an accurate picture of what success or failure looks like. Once you’ve established your zoom levels and the focus of each, now you are prepared to have much more efficient performance conversations that move beyond the what and get to the why and how of success or failure.
Management is the critical link to a powerful team and a team is made up of powerful performers. Focusing on each zoom level will allow you determine how and why your people are successful.
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