Why sales activities need more management

Many modern sales leaders already understand the importance of managing sales activities.

SalesLoft VP of Sales Derek Grant is one of them. As Derek told a panel at Dreamforce, his team tracks their total sales activities, calls, conversations and meetings scheduled. The leadership team reviews those numbers on a weekly basis. If sellers don’t complete enough calls or meetings to source their own pipeline, they won’t receive any sourced leads from the sales development team.

Why sales activities need more management“If they’re not going to work hard on their own, we’re not going to give them someone else’s hard work,” Derek explained.

Janet Jansen, Director of High-Velocity Sales at Paycor, shared with the same panel that 20 percent of compensation for her team’s salespeople, managers and directors is related to activity. Sellers are still compensated on revenue. But frontline managers are paid on the number of sellers that hit their activity goal, in addition to the number of reps who are over 100 percent of their revenue goal for the month.

“For me, in high velocity, I can’t just have one or two people that are making their number. I want them all,” Janet said.

Why modern sales leaders focus on sales activities

If you’re not familiar with activity-based selling, these sales management strategies might seem a little strange. But this methodology embraces managing the metrics that are actually in your control — sales activities — to drive your desired business outcomes like revenue and market share.

Old school managers merely asked for a certain result (quota) and relied on sales reps to achieve it through trial-and-error. With activity-based selling, modern sales leaders guide reps to the right sales activities, creating a strategic roadmap to success.

“Even the very best sellers are spending maybe two percent of their time actually closing the deal. The majority of their time is on the behaviors and activities they hope are going to ultimately lead to sales,” LevelEleven CEO Bob Marsh explained during the panel.

The three sales leaders were joined on stage by Vantage Point Performance partner Jason Jordan and Jackson SVP of national sales development Doug Mantelli.

Watch the full Salesforce Live broadcast to learn their best tips for managing sales activities: “Making Sure ‘Metrics-Drive Sales’ Means More New Business.” You can also check out our highlights here:

9 reasons management must focus on sales activities

  • “If you’ve got a 100-person sales team, you probably spend about a quarter of a million dollars a year on your CRM system and everything around it. But you’re spending over $10 million on all those salespeople. So that’s where the investment is and that’s where the big opportunity lies.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
  • “Regardless of the tools we give them, regardless of what products we give them, our top performers are our top performers. Our bottom performers tend to be our bottom performers, although not for long if you have a disciplined sales culture, right? But it’s the middle performers that may … and if you can get that group to move — the movable middle —  you can make massive overall improvements in your activity.” – Doug Mantelli (@JacksonNational)
  • “I’ve spent my career in sales and sales management. The one thing that I learned (and I’m sure many of you have as well) as a successful seller myself, or managing other successful sellers, is that they’re not successful because they have some magic closing move or some special relationship. It consistently comes down to that they have the discipline to do the right behaviors and activities day in and day out that result in closing more business.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
  • “You can make calls. You can have conversations. You can talk at customers. You can’t make them buy.” – Jason Jordan (@JasonRJordan)
  • “You don’t want to do activity for activity’s sake. I think that’s one of the things that people worry about. I don’t just want to send a bunch of emails or press buttons on the phone. Let’s have real meaningful conversations.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
  • “When you start measuring something, people pay attention to it. When you start linking it to compensation, they pay a lot of attention to it.” – Jason Jordan (@JasonRJordan)
  • “If you can just help your seller’s understand [this] is the model recipe for success: If you do this, it leads to this, which leads to this, which leads to this. And once they believe it, that becomes their incentive. Their incentive is ‘I will close more business and make more money.’ So when they believe that and you put the data in front of them to help the make the right decisions, that’s what makes that happen.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)
  • “A lot of people consider it old school management to focus on activity, and I think for a decade or longer, it was absent because people were afraid to do the right thing: manage what people are doing. Our research says it’s absolutely the right thing to do.” – Jason Jordan (@JasonRJordan)
  • “In a good sales organization, the salespeople are not coin-operated.” – Bob Marsh (@bobmarsh5)

Ready to craft your own activity-based selling strategy? Grab a copy of our brand new guide with 16 strategic steps for more ROI from your sales activities, team and technology.

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