In 2015, sales managers must do their due diligence to ensure that they, as well as their teams, are armed with the tools they need to be successful at their jobs. While call activity and pipeline data was historically gathered through ad hoc check-ins and less than accurate CRM data, managers now have the ability to get in the path of every call being placed (or taken) by their sales team (be it dispersed, or under one roof) to ensure that individual and team goals are being met. The actual conversations taking place at the customer level are one of the richest sources of market intelligence available to a manager, so it is essential for organizations to establish business processes to not only gather more subjective data, but to improve upon and challenge the historical “norm.”When looked at from an overall sales perspective, real-time activity capture can not only aid in setting benchmarks for current sales teams, but it can also help in setting the standards for new and future sales reps. By observing both qualitative and quantitative call performance, specific call parameters can be set, which will give sales managers the peace of mind that their teams are adhering to the right scripts and overcoming obstacles with proven responses. From historical experiences (and common objections observed on past calls), sales teams should be able to reflect upon failures and understand potential key areas for improvement.
The only way to create value from past mistakes is by being able to 1) capture activity and 2) analyze it for patterns, trends or behaviors that either help or hurt your effectiveness with clients. Revenue and quota goals are obvious numbers to measure with regards so a sales teams’ calling activity, but more often than not, managers will be treading water when they attempt to understand the effectiveness of their reps’ calling behavior. When it comes to measuring sales activities, sales managers must adhere to the following:
- To grow a pipeline, you have to manage the activity that generates opportunity that leads to deals.
- The number of calls placed results in conversations and how many conversations it takes to generate a dollar of revenue.
- Measuring the means of production is far superior to measuring the product itself, when it’s too late to influence the results.
In looking at the big picture, any intelligent sales manager should be managing both the amount (quantity) and the actual effectiveness (quality) of sales rep activities that lead to closed (or lost) deals. By enabling their sale teams to work smarter – not harder – companies will see positive behaviors exercised and will quickly be able to remediate the negative.
If sales managers can measure and manage activity levels accurately—with benchmarks in place—sales performance becomes a numbers game with clear-cut wins and goals to benchmark. This gives sales managers a much better shot at achieving forecasted goals.