As sales leaders and executives, we need to choose wisely when determining our primary metrics. These metrics will drive a specific behavior, and we need to make sure that behavior is driving our business objectives!
Here are four major pitfalls of companies, big and small, who attempt to become a metrics-driven sales team.
4 Ways Sales Metrics Can Become A Complete Disaster
1. The metrics came from a book, by someone who knew nothing about your business.
Books and websites by experts are a great way to gather information and learn about metrics that could be relevant to your business. The problem arises when people start taking these metrics at face value.
A lot of metrics aren’t really relevant to your individual sales goals. They may be great for a different kind of business or a company in a different stage from yours, but they don’t help you drive your work forward. When you use metrics that aren’t tailored to your business objectives, the sales reps get tasked with administrative data entry, which doesn’t help them sell more and isn’t something they enjoy. This leads to poor CRM adoption, and that’s not beneficial to anyone!
The most important thing to do when determining metrics is to think through how the numbers actually impact your sales process and your business. It’s great to get recommendations, but taking the time to make sure they work for you will drastically impact your own sales goals.
2. There is no education provided to sales reps on why these metrics matter.
Any changes in the process your sales team follows should do this: help your sales reps sell more, faster. Adding sales metrics is healthy and should make sense to the reps that are using and tracking them. If they understand how the metrics help shape their behaviors and activities, they are more likely to embrace them.
Many businesses run into trouble when they assign their sales reps metrics without taking the time to help everyone understand how they are being used. When sales reps don’t understand the purpose of the information they track, companies often run into a huge adoption problem.
3. The KPIs change like the weather in Michigan (constantly).
If you have spent any time in the midwest, you are well-acquainted with the unreliability and lack of predictability in changing weather patterns. A lot of companies iterate on their metrics based on the flavor of the month. There is always new information coming out about what to track and how to change your business. While there is some great information out there, it also doesn’t mean that following every trend is going to help your team succeed.
Metrics are pillars that drive sales behavior. If you change the metrics frequently, you are asking your team for a change in behavior. Sometimes trends help you identify an important area to track, but often they only serve as a distraction. Make sure you only add or change metrics that are in alignment with your goals and objectives … and then clearly explain to your team why!
4. KPIs aren’t visual to the people who need to see them most.
It’s very helpful for C-suite to review metric performance on only a monthly or quarterly basis, but not for sales. Sales should have metrics in front of them every day, and they should be encouraged and incentivized around these 3-7 metrics. There should be leaderboards and bonus programs that help reward positive behavior and keep high performers visible. Consider using something like LevelEleven’s Leaderboard and/or Scorecard to keep KPIs in the forefront of each salesperson’s mind.
When metrics are visual, it helps the entire team stay on track. It is easier to both celebrate wins and identify areas that are off track. When you see metrics on a daily basis, you can make small adjustments before they need to become huge changes.
Metrics are an essential part of any sales strategy, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re tracking the ones that make the most sense for your business. Avoid the pitfalls above, choose metrics you can easily track, and you’ll be on the road to metrics success!
About the author:
Phil Brabbs is Managing Director at Torrent Consulting. A passionate visionary, he has helped companies of all sizes achieve excellence through driving automation and integration using the “Customer LifeCycle.” Torrent Consulting is a Salesforce Alliance partner, focused on delivering sales, marketing and technology solutions to companies looking to grow and automate their business.