Sales management: Are your reps slipping on fundamentals?

Sales management: Do you have a process for ensuring your reps stick to sales fundamentals?

Fundamentals form the cascading chain of activities that lead to sales, like making phone calls, qualifying prospects, asking discovery questions and communicating a value proposition. Without them, there would be no sales process.

Sales management: Are your reps slipping on fundamentals?No one will argue that sales activities aren’t important. But reps are busy. They often get lost in the day-to-day noise of responding to customer support issues, answering emails and completing administrative tasks. By not focusing on the specific tasks that lead to winning deals, reps are putting their individual and team quota at risk.

That’s why sales management must help reps prioritize the culmination of activities that result in sales. Here are three simple steps to do just that.

3 sales management tasks that will help reps prioritize fundamentals

1. Determine the key selling activities for your team.

Consider your sales process. What key critical activities need to occur for a prospect to go from opportunity to close? These will be unique to every organization, but generally include things like prospecting, having conversations, creating and progressing opportunities, talking to decision makers and sending out proposals.

A best practice is to choose a combination of three or four leading and lagging indicators. This is how you help your reps make better decisions on how to spend their time. When you tell them to focus on eight things at once, they’ll never have the time to do any single one of those well. But breaking down the complexity of a sale into four key activities creates focus and productivity around them. Check out this article for more advice on defining your key selling activities.  

2. Set goals around how often activities need to happen.

Telling your team what activities they should focus on is not enough. You must also define your expectations for how often each of them should occur. A field sales team might identify face-to-face meetings, VP-level conversations, proposals and wins as their fundamentals. But if a rep completes plenty of face-to-face meetings and very few VP-level conversations, then they’re never going to make a sale.

Start with your quota. Reverse-engineer your sales process to calculate how much of each activity is required to achieve your desired amount in bookings. Divide each rep’s quota by their average deal size. This tells you how many deals they need to win.

Record your average conversion rates between each step of the sales process. Based on those benchmarks, calculate how many proposals it takes to win the number of deals you want to win. Repeat this through each step of the sales process until you reach the top of your funnel. (You can find a more detailed explanation (with examples) on how to do this here.)

3. Monitor and course-correct performance.

Track these activities to ensure they are happening. A lot of organizations try to with basic CRM reports and dashboards, but those only tell you what’s already happened (not what you need to do moving forward). Reports and dashboards also don’t tell you if you’re on pace, behind pace or ahead of pace to hit goals. They’re not generally usefully to a rep and not personalized for individual performance.

Some companies successfully track activities by creating sales scorecards, either on Excel spreadsheets or Google Docs. Others utilize more comprehensive sales management systems, some of which automatically track activities, calculate pace to goal and alert reps and managers when performance falls out of line.

Keeping salespeople focused on fundamentals is a top responsibility for sales management.

Grab a copy of the guide below to learn how you can use activity metrics like these to drive revenue.

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