As evidenced here, here, here and here, key performance indicators (KPIs) have a diverse collection of powerful and measurable benefits, both direct and indirect, on sales organizations large and small. Translation: KPIs are indispensable.
Furthermore, it’s simply an old wives’ tale that KPIs are only useful for inside sales. They can apply to virtually any area of your sales organization to spark innovation and ignite intrapreneurship (more on this in a future post).
Walter Rogers, Founder and CEO of CloudCoaching International, really reported it best: “Evidence repeatedly shows that turning around a sales team starts with turning around the sales manager.” Some managers need to turn around their sales KPI alignment.
If that’s you, listen here. And listen closely.
The reality is, with KPIs in play, the sales manager and salesperson roles form an alliance. Better yet, the key ingredient is collaboration — collaboration around picking the right sales metrics to measure and manage for performance. This makes you a better manager and your salespeople better…well you get the point. Let us show you how it goes.
The Agonizing Issue
The typical sales manager and sales representative conversation goes a little something like: “What’s closing this month?” or “How much is in your pipeline?”
This isn’t particularly helpful to the salesperson. They want to be closing, too. There is complete alignment on that. There’s no question that these forecast-related questions should be part of a weekly one-on-one, but never dominate the all-important meeting, because they are lagging indicators. These types of meetings should not be interviews. They should be metrics-oriented coaching and strategy sessions.
The Sales KPI Solution
The typical sales KPI conversation goes a little something like: “How can we focus on key activities that will forecast success in the coming weeks and months?” or “How are you doing on your set of metrics?” or “Which KPI is yielding the most value-added opportunity?”
These questions are not only proactive, but they cut to the core of your team’s productivity and what they can control. Conversations like this focus sales meetings on the here and now of improving day-to-day behaviors that will yield more sales results, assessing what’s working and what needs improvement. They focus on small decisions on where to spend one’s time that will help you hit next month and next quarter’s sales numbers.
A Win-win for Everyone Involved
I’ll leave you with a Fitbit analogy. If you look great and are in shape right now, but you are eating a bunch of fast food all day long, that’s a leading indicator that you’ll be very unhealthy a couple of months from now. Same goes for sales. Sales is about planting good seeds.
If you are only focused on your current deals and how much you will close this month, without doing any prospecting or social media activity, you are going to be very unhealthy in a couple months, because you will be not closing anymore.
Sales isn’t an easy job, for the salesperson or the manager. It’s freaking hard, with lots of ups and downs. Align your organization around sales KPIs and tweet us, mail us or call us with any questions you may have.