5 (Unexpected) Ways Activity Based Selling Drives Performance

If you haven’t heard of Activity Based Selling, then you should really pay attention here.

how activity based selling drives performanceModern sales leaders everywhere are embracing this methodology of viewing sales as the result of a cascading set of controllable behaviorsthat lead to a defined outcome.

They’re doing it because Activity Based Selling allows them to drive performance by selling more and achieving predictable revenue. But there are actually myriad benefits of this approach to managing sales teams that sales leaders may not even be thinking about.  

We recently spoke with one modern sales leader, Jellyvision Director of Business Development Jessica Hay, about how she drives performance with her business development reps using the Activity Based Selling methodology. Here’s what she told us.

How Activity Based Selling Drives Sales Performance

1. Activity Based Selling creates a balance between culture and performance.

Activity Based Selling helps meld great team culture with sales performance management, a balance that Jessica calls “constructive transparency.”

“It’s not being overwhelming or micromanaging, but just being really transparent, honest and constructive,” Jessica said.

With Activity Based Selling, you’re driving 3-4 main key performance indicators (KPIs) as a team, and your reps are focused on being really good at those 3-4 activities. You constantly orient your conversations and one-on-ones around those things as a team until you need to change one or more of them.

Jessica admitted that when trying to foster a healthy team culture, it can be a challenge to not shy away from performance management. But, she added, sales reps really do want to know how they’re doing.

“They want to know how they’re stacking up. They want to know if they’re being successful. All of that is just as important to culture as ping pong tables and beer on Fridays,” Jessica said.

2. Activity Based Selling provides a roadmap for coaching and support.

For Jessica, metrics are a consistent part of every single conversation.

“You can’t just say [to reps], ‘I expect this of you,’ and offer up no support or foundation as to how that can happen,” Jessica said.

That’s how Activity Based Selling comes in handy for sales coaching. When you know a rep is falling behind on certain metrics, you can help them figure out how much they need to catch up and how they should go about doing that. For example, you can put together a formula that includes the rep’s average conversion rate from prospect to opportunity, which helps them understand the math behind why their goal is to get a certain number of prospects into the pipeline.

3. Activity Based Selling helps the team rally around key initiatives and wins.

In addition to individual metrics, you can also set collective weekly goals for the team. Jessica explained that this helps her team feel like they’re reaching the company goals together.

“My team values the collective team win more than anything,” Jessica said. “And more than anything, they really want to feel like they’re throwing things on the board for the team benefit.”

Jessica noted here that while some teams will be more collectively motivated, others will be more independently motivated, and you have to respond to whatever type of team you have.

4. Activity Based Selling supplies a framework for weekly one-on-ones.

Because Activity Based Selling revolves around a set of controllable behaviors, it creates a template for your weekly one-on-one sessions.

Unlike your sales coaching sessions with reps, one-on-ones can be used to discuss sales activities in terms of broader company objectives and personal career goals. For company plans, you can use Activity Based Forecasting to look out 6 or 12 months and see if the rep, and their team, will be on pace to hit their numbers.

The one-on-one is also a great place to discuss the rep’s career path – and how the sales activities they’re focusing on now are contributing to that.

Jessica said that broader picture is a huge part of her team’s one-on-ones.

“[I want to] be sure that I’m giving [the reps] the skills they’re craving to get to where they want to be,” Jessica said. “If you don’t offer some sort of vision of their future, burnout is a very real thing.”

5. Activity Based Selling presents the opportunity to delegate and elevate.

Part of great leadership is understanding your bandwidth. This is especially true for newer sales leaders. It’s not easy to fix sales processes and also be in the trenches as much as you need to be as an effective coach.

With Activity Based Selling, you know exactly who your top performers are and what activities they spend their time focusing on. Promote those salespeople to a team lead role, where they can assist with coaching their peers on the sales activities that they already do so well.

When Jessica did this, she tapped the two most senior reps on her team that were instrumental in creating their sales process.

“I didn’t reinvent the wheel – I took what [sales activities] they were doing and made it standard. I asked them to be player-coaches. I gave them responsibility to coach in the trenches and be a go-to. And I empowered them with a team lead title and a raise,” Jessica said.

These are just a few of the benefits of Activity Based Selling. Have you embraced the methodology? Let us know in the comments below!

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