How many sales metrics is too many? [video]

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Jackson SVP of National Sales Development Doug Mantelli told a panel at Dreamforce that his sales organization used to have 35 key performance indicators.

How many sales metrics is too many?“We measured everything. We were data hogs.” Doug said.

He explained that data was delivered to reps in various ways: Salesforce dashboards, Excel spreadsheets, third-party reports.

“It can be really confusing. And it can also be very backward-looking. This is what happened last quarter. What are you going to do about it next quarter? Work harder. Work harder. Work harder. But that’s not directionally actionable,” Doug said.

At least some part of this will resonate with most sales leaders: too many sales metrics delivered in multiple formats that only show lagging information. That doesn’t just create confusion; it prevents focus and direction.

Listen to how Doug went from 35 sales metrics to just four in this short video:

The journey to simplifying sales metrics

About a year ago, Doug and his team decided that they needed to refine their metrics. They realized that if they tell reps that 30 things are important, they won’t understand what’s really important. He also wanted the sales metrics to be more forward-looking.

“There was this really simple yet profound question that we started asking ourselves organizationally: ‘What do we really want [our sales reps] to do next?’ ” Doug explained.

That question started the team’s journey to simplifying their sales metrics.

With the help of LevelEleven’s sales activity management system, Doug’s team was able to simplify those 35 metrics down to just four. Now they use the system to keep those metrics front and center for sales managers and reps.

“All of our associates see where they are with respect to their goals on the four key activities we care most about. If they happen to be falling behind, they know exactly what to do about it. They can click on the metric [and see], ‘Ok, I need to schedule some more meetings’ … I heard from even our top performers, who tend to not need a lot of direction (they’re going to be good no matter what) saying, ‘Thank you, this helps me understand what to do next,’” Doug explained.

After supporting the new metrics with sales activity management, they increased sales activity by 30 percent — more than they achieved a year prior when they had a bigger sales team.

What this means for your sales metrics

Doug describes a journey that modern sales leaders launching sales activity management often face. Since the big data revolution, we all have access to many more analytics than we have time to analyze. We end up creating report after report in Excel or Google Sheets or Salesforce, and oftentimes, aside from the fact that we may never get through the reports ourselves, the data rarely makes it to our sales reps.

The key? Choose the top 3-4 sales metrics that your team really needs to focus on. Then make sure they remain front and center for you and your team. As Doug described, even top reps crave direction. Make sure your top, middle and bottom-level performers always know where they stand and what they should do next to sell more.

You can also watch the full broadcast of Doug’s Dreamforce session here: “Making Sure ‘Metrics-Drive Sales’ Means More New Business.” If you need help choosing sales metrics, check out this free guide: “How to Choose the Right Sales KPIs.”

In the meantime, remember to work toward focus.

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