By Keith Center
The great sales trainer, Brian Tracy says that there are really only three activities that a salesperson does that are productive. These are “Prospect, Present and Follow up.” Everything else is not really relevant to the role and responsibility of a salesperson.
Business leaders need to keep this in mind when managing sales performance. The role of the salesperson is to sell.
When it comes to sales, business leaders want to know…
- What do we measure?
- How do we measure?
- What are the sales KPI’s?
There are a couple of tools which I have found indispensable over the years. I have used them personally and have managed sales teams with them.
Although I have seen many tools, both computerized and manual, I keep on coming back to these because they are simple and effective. They also take into consideration the efficiency of the sales people who must use them.
Several months ago, an associate sent out a request for sales management and tracking tools and so I sent him these tools. After compiling all the responses, he let me know that he had found what he considered to be the ultimate sales tracking tool. He said that it was similar to what I had sent, but included a lot more. So I asked him for a copy.
What he sent me was a spreadsheet as long as my arm. Yes, it did have all the information that a business leader may like to have. But no salesperson would continue to fill it out every week.
That is the problem is with most CRM systems. The business leader burdens the salespeople by asking for information way above the sales Key Performance Indicators. As a result they don’t turn it in, or falsify it, or waste an inordinate amount of time doing an activity which is not prospecting, presenting or following up.
Sales Daily Log
Here is the first super simple tool for measuring sales KPI’s. The Daily Sales Log is designed to track the number of calls and the number of networking contacts made each day.
If there are not enough calls being made then the business will suffer. If the call rate is good but not enough appointments are set, then maybe there is a need for telephone sales training.
My good friend Jim Mullaney owns a business that sets appointments. He conducts free periodic training sessions in webinars for the business community. As a Rotarian, his policy is to give back to the community, and this is one way in which Jim chooses to do so.
I have attended Jim’s webinar on a couple of occasions and it is a great service. Many of my associates from around the world have also attended the calls. On our call there were people from Australia, Belgium, the Ukraine and North America. They stayed up late, or got up early to attend these calls, and the positive evaluations showed that the attendees really got a lot of benefit.
If the reader is interested, you can see when the next free webinar is scheduled by going to Jim’s website www.edocmarketing.com.
If appointments are being set, but sales are low, then the issue could be one of two things. Either the appointments are not being set with an ideal prospect, or the salesperson needs training is setting up rapport and credibility at the beginning of the face to face meeting.
Salespeople should be given a call sheet like the Daily Sales Log with measurements that reflect the type of business that we are running. The call sheets should be checked by management regularly. Perhaps daily, or weekly, in order to reinforce the need for the correct activities to drive business.
As stated previously, “If you’re not measuring, you’re not managing.” And to get right results we need to measure right things. This is an important part of our sales process.
And as far as selling is concerned, this tool is a definite help in measuring and guiding positive behavior of both inside and outside salespeople.
The Sales Pipeline is the second tool to use for managing salespeople. The idea is to first identify the stages, or phases, are in our selling process. And then use standard measurements to see how we are doing.
There could be three phases or six phases in our sales process. It doesn’t matter how many, but we need to make sure that we first understand them. Next, document the phases and measure the results at each phase.
It may take time to establish the standard measurements for our salespeople, but it will pay great dividends. Both the business leader and the salesperson will be able to accurately forecast business and take necessary action.
The Sales Pipeline acts like an early warning system for Sales, and a forecasting tool for Operations. By using this tool we will be able to detect and correct a problem before it becomes one. If sales are low, we can trace back through the system until we find out where the variances are and then apply the fixes. The Sales process should interface to the Operations process.
Stephen Covey said “Start with the end in mind.” If necessary, we can work back through each phase of the pipeline as a predictor of the next phase results.
If we start with the amount of sales that we need in this example, we next trace back to the number of verbal commitments to purchase. In this example the ratio is one sale per two commitments. If we are not getting the right ratio of verbal commitments then perhaps we need to check the salesperson’s closing ability, or the system that they are using.
Next, we trace back from verbal commitments to the number of product presentations. In this case if there are ten product presentations, we get two verbal commitments. This is actually very low for the kinds of businesses that I have worked in. From experience, the ratio that I expect from my salespeople is more like two presentations to one commit. And more than two commitments for every sales order.
If the right number of presentations is being given, the problem may be the quality of the presentations. It might be that the presentation does not address the prospect’s questions up front. As a result, there are many objections, and the salesperson’s trust factor is impacted negatively.
At Phase 2, we need to understand who is a qualified prospect. There are really only two qualifications for a prospect.
- Do they have the budget?
- Does what they need most, align with what we do best?
Any other criteria are superfluous.
Copyright © 2009 Keith Center
Keith Center is the author of many articles and Money, Time & People… will kill your business. . Keith travels internationally to share his business growth expertise through consulting, training, and keynote presentations. He has been a general manager at large and small VAR’s and prides himself being a practical business thought leader. Additionally, Keith serves on Xavier University Department of Marketing Advisory Board. You may contact Keith through http://masonbiz.com