You read that right: three-fourths of all sales leaders are embracing sales activity management. In other words, modern sales leaders seea need to manage and motivate the cascading chain of activities that lead to a sale.
So what’s all the hype about? Here’s a quick overview of three major pains that sales activity management solves, and how you can implement this methodology in your own sales environment.
You Need Sales Activity Management When…
1. You have not defined your key operating metrics.
You can’t measure the performance of your sales team without defining the metrics that determine success. Of course, wins is a big indicator. But you need to monitor and manage the activities that lead to sales, too. Measuring your team on just wins would be like assessing the performance of a car by merely examining how much gas it has. You can’t truly understand the condition of a car without examining the many other parts, processes and systems that make it drive.
Use sales activity management to define operating metrics:
To determine your key metrics, start by defining your organizational structure. Do you have a team of sales development reps that sources leads to account executives? Are your sales reps broken up by region or market size? Map all of that out.
Then develop your own hypothesis for which critical activities lead to sales in your organization. For sales development teams, that might be things like calls, emails sent or opportunities created. They have to be very specific to your size, type and style of sales team. Field sales teams wouldn’t use the same metrics as SDR teams. Instead, they’d focus on things like face-to-face meetings, opportunities uncovered and VP-level conversations.
During this process, interview sales reps, managers and executives to learn what they think are the right activities to focus on. Share with them your hypothesis for the most important activities, and get feedback. As the sales leader, you’ll make the ultimate decision for which activities will become your leading indicators for success, but getting feedback generates buy-in and aligns your organization around an Activity Based Selling approach.
Finally, take your list of activities and narrow it down to 3-4. A best practice is to focus on 3 leading indicators and 1 lagging indicator, such as wins. These are your operating metrics.
2. You do not have an efficient way to widely display your key operating metrics.
Having metrics is great, but it doesn’t change anything unless you create visibility and productivity around them for all team members. It would be like a car having a speedometer under the hood, where the driver couldn’t see it.
Use sales activity management to track and display metrics:
First, make sure that your CRM system is able to track the activities that your metrics are based on. To help with team buy-in, make it as easy as possible for reps to log activities in the system, as well. No one wants to spend too much time on administrative tasks when they could be selling.
You should also display performance metrics around the office. Use televisions and leaderboards to display individual and team rankings, as well as goal pacing. Also create personal scorecards for each sales rep that tell them how much of each activity they should perform on a daily basis. Breaking down larger quarterly and monthly goals into achievable daily and weekly goals helps improve decision-making for each salesperson on where they spend their time.
(Tip: Consider sales activity management software to help you track, display and personalize the metrics that fuel your sales team.)
3. Your organization is not aligned around your key operating metrics.
Defining and displaying your metrics are important, but you have to pull it all together by creating a culture of performance. A car only operates when the parts move in tandem.
Use sales activity management to align your organization:
Build an exciting, rewarding culture of top performers. How? Create an environment that enables collaboration around best practices. Tap into your team’s competitive energy. Use contests and incentives to rally the team around a metric or special initiative. Monitor your metrics daily to course-correct where falling behind and celebrate success. You should also run consistent one-on-one sessions with sales reps using data from their metrics as the guide.
Once you’ve implemented your own sales activity management strategy, remember to assess its effectiveness regularly, and make changes accordingly.