Sales Management: the Importance of Tracking and Measuring Your Salespeople

sales management

A few weeks ago I met with a new client to help him determine whether or not one of his existing employees could move into a sales role. My approach was to first seek to understand the full situation. I asked him all about his company, products, services, sales cycles, average sale in dollars, who the decision makers are, etc. Then I asked him about how he was managing his sales team to help him determine how this employee would do under his sales “leadership.” The following are the questions I asked him:

  1. What are your company's sales goals?
  2. What are the goals and objectives for each of your salespeople?
  3. How often and for what purpose do you meet with your salespeople?
  4. How do you hold your salespeople accountable?
  5. How do you motivate your salespeople?

His responses included the following:

Q. What are your company's sales goals?           

A: 20% revenue growth

Q. What are the goals and objectives for each of your salespeople?

A: They don't really have any.

Q. How often and for what purpose do you meet with your salespeople?

A: Once a quarter to discuss how things are going.

Q. How do you hold your salespeople accountable to their goals?

A: If they don't achieve "satisfactory" results, after about a year, I typically fire them.

Q. How do you motivate your salespeople?

A: I occasionally hold a sales contest, and I pay them pretty well.

Good to Great: The amazing part is that despite his lack of sales management, his company is still doing fairly well. So imagine how well he could be doing if his answers looked something like this:

Q. What are your company's sales goals?           

A: 30% revenue growth

Q. What are the goals and objectives for each of your salespeople?

A: New sales goals for each rep include maintaining their existing base of business, and they each also have new business goals that equal the 30% new business company goal.

Q. How often and for what purpose do you meet with your salespeople?

A: I conduct a weekly one to one to discuss and review their sales activity metrics that include how many prospects they have in their sales pipeline, how many meetings they had, how many quotes they put out and the status on each. We then discuss what their sales activity metrics will be between now and our next week’s one to one. I also hold a weekly sales team meeting where we typically hold some type of sales or product training, discuss and learn from each other and review individual results and standings on any sales contests.

Q.How do you hold your salespeople accountable to their goals?

A. The weekly one to ones are where I identify where they may be having challenges so I can then help them make improvements based on their specific objectives. For example, if I know they are having enough sales meetings and putting out enough quotes but not closing enough sales, then I know that the problem has something to do with what they are quoting. I can then review what information they are gathering for the quote and how they are presenting it.

Q. How do you motivate your salespeople?

A: I use personality profiles and a values index survey to learn what their unique motivating needs are. Additionally, as part of their quarterly sales plans, I help them create personal goals and motivations like “I want to buy a new car by X date” or “I want to take more time off and go on a Caribbean vacation.” Then, in the one to ones, I use this information to help them focus on what it will take to achieve their goals and use this to inspire them to achieve better results.

What Gets Tracked and Measured Gets Done, and What Does Not, You Can't Manage.

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If you’re only tracking the actual sales results, then you’re missing the most important element: where you can make a difference and that is what causes sales to happen! Sales activity occurs daily so there is nothing you can really do about the time passed. Therefore, the key is to proactively manage and make course corrections as they occur. This needs to be done at least once every week or two to be effective.

Other key elements that top sales managers need to be great at include:

Knowing how to hire top sales people: according to research conducted by the Objective Management Group (OMG), only 26% of all salespeople are top performers. The rest are mediocre at best.

Download Dave Kurlan's whitepaper, The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection. Click on the OMG logo below.

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How to train & develop their people: this includes a combination of how to conduct sales, product/service training and how to evaluate and assess ROI when bringing in outside vendors to help do the training for you.

Interested in a Free Sales Management Consultation? click here.