How to upgrade your sales coaching with metrics

How to upgrade your sales coaching with metricsResearch shows that sales coaching with more data and less emotion is the most conducive to sales excellence. But many sales leaders still coach reps based on feelings and gut instinct.

With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to build a better sales coaching strategy. These four steps explain how.

4 steps to implement metrics-driven sales coaching

1. Define key selling behaviors.

Activity-based selling says sales is a cascading chain of controllable behaviors that lead to a defined income. Your job is to discover what those behaviors are.

Key selling activities correlate with the responsibilities of a sales role. In a sales development team, they are probably similar to calls, emails meetings scheduled and sales accepted opportunities. But a field sales team would be better with face-to-face meetings, new opportunities, VP-level conversations and proposals sent.

To identify the successful behaviors for your sales process, start with your own hypothesis. Then interview sales reps and managers to see what they think are the most important activities to closing business. Ultimately, it’s your decision. But involving team members introduces them to the process and creates buy-in. You can also use our KPI research as a reference point.

2. Calculate individual goals.

Once you’ve selected 3-4 key performance indicators for your team, reverse engineer your sales process. Start with your revenue goal. Then calculate the following:

  • Revenue goal divided by average deal size (= number of deals needed)
  • Number of deals won divided by number of proposals sent (= proposal-to-deal conversion rate)
  • Number of proposals sent divided by number of VP-level conversations (= conversation-to-proposal conversion rate)
  • Number of VP-level conversations divided by number of new opportunities (= opportunity-to-conversation conversion rate)
  • Number of new opportunities divided by number of face-to-face meetings (= meeting-to-opportunity conversion rate)

Now that you have conversion rates between each step of the process, you can work backward from the number of deals you need to win. Divide each activity by its preceding conversion rate.

  • Number of deals divided by the proposal-to-deal conversion rate (= number of proposals needed)
  • Number of proposals divided by conversation-to-proposal conversion rate (= number of VP-level conversations needed)
  • Number of conversations divided by opportunity-to-conversation conversion rate   (= number of new opportunities needed)
  • Number of opportunities divided by meeting-to-opportunity conversion rate (= number of face-to-face meetings needed)

These are the levels of activity you need from your sales team to hit quota this year. Divide them among your reps and assign the appropriate time-frame for each activity goal. Meetings is a good activity to track on a daily or weekly basis, but deals won is better measured monthly or quarterly.

3. Track activity-level metrics.

This is vital to upgrade your sales coaching strategy. Track sales activities for the purpose of guiding reps to success, not monitoring their every action. Activity data provides the insight you need to identify where reps struggle and coach them accordingly.

After assigning activity goals to reps, give them sales scorecards to track their metrics. A sales activity management system automatically measures sales activities in your CRM, in addition to tracking progress to goal and sending alerts when pacing falls behind.

4. Coach around objective data.

This is where you’ll see the ROI of sales coaching. Monitor activity levels daily so that you can course-correct when performance falls out of line.

When your team doesn’t hit their meeting goal, you can host a group coaching session or quick spiff to rally them around the metric. If one rep continuously struggles to generate new opportunities, for example, coach them around face-to-face meetings to increase their meeting-to-opportunity conversion rate.

Activity-level data generates powerful insights: You can learn the best practices of your top performers, and then share them with the entire team. When individuals show skill around particular activities, have them engage in peer-to-peer sales coaching.

When you build a sales coaching strategy around metrics, you have a better understanding of how your team is operating. To learn more, grab a copy of our sales KPI research with recommendations for sales metrics based on your type of team.

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