Around this time of year, all of us in sales management tend to get a little stressed.
Our pipelines are full. Our sales reps are on their game. If all goes well, we shouldn’t have a problem hitting quota …
But suddenly, our biggest opportunity calls to say they might have to wait until 2017.
The good news it that everything is going to be ok. We’re sales leaders because we can handle this type of crisis. To help get through it, here are five things sales management can be really grateful for this year.
Why sales management should be thankful this year
1. Metrics-driven sales management
Old school managers obsessed over a number that was ultimately out of their control: revenue. They only cared about what was closing and left their reps to find their own path to success through trial-and-error
But activity-based selling provides us with a framework to track and manage reps around the metrics we can control: sales activities. We can guide them to success by calculating how much of each activity it will take to hit revenue goals.
2. Real-time goal tracking
Our metrics-driven management approach wouldn’t work without a way to track sales activity metrics. In the old days, we had to manually fill out a sales scorecard on an Excel spreadsheet or in Google Docs.
But today’s sales activity management system automatically tracks activity progress. Real-time scorecards motivate reps with visibility around the activities that lead to sales. Pacing algorithms alert reps when metrics fall behind, and tell them what to do about it.
3. Guided sales coaching
Would you want a mechanic to prescribe a repair for your car based on gut instinct? Of course not. You’d want to run a thorough diagnostic on the vehicle and make fixes based on the data.
But many of us still coach with old-school methods based on emotion and gut instinct. Research shows that more data and less emotion enables better sales coaching, and real-time activity data from tools like sales activity management allow us to do just that. When a rep misses quota, we can dive into their scorecard metrics to see where they fell behind and coach accordingly.
4. Sales team alignment
Lone wolves are going extinct because modern sales is a team sport, enabled by technology and a modern sales strategy.
Activity-based selling aligns sales teams, offering visibility into sales activity goals. Sales activity management also broadcasts individual and team performance in real time, enabling recognition, friendly competition and the collaboration that come with both.
6. Accurate sales forecasts
We used to have nightmares about sales forecasts. Or stay awake at night obsessing over them. But now we can create a directional sales forecasts that tie directly back to the controllable actions of our sales teams.
With activity-level data, we can reverse engineer our quota to determine how many calls, conversations, meetings and proposals your team needs. These activity metrics serve as leading indicators, which tell us where we are right now versus our goal. This allows us to course-correct in real time, instead of waiting until the quarter is over to find out what we should have done.
There are just a few of the many reasons sales management should be thankful this year. Have any ideas for this list? Let us know in the comments below!