Building the right sales team will always be your first and highest-priority challenge. Sales metrics and tracking are close to redundant if you don’t have good salespeople capable of using your sales process.
The best sales managers understand the human inside the salesperson.
You need to keep reminding yourself of the spectrum of emotions involved in the day-to-day roles of the people in your team.
Each stage of the sales process comes with it’s own unique anxieties and challenges that you must factor in when making decisions around the sales metrics you want to track.
Making sure you pick the right people in any business is so important. Their ability, personality and determination will directly determine your success.
"Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they'll determine 80 percent of your success." - @BarbaraCorcoran
— Grant Cardone (@GrantCardone) March 15, 2018
Grant and Barbara are right. This is never more relevant than in sales.
Once you have the right people in place, it’s up to you to create the right environment for your people to thrive with the flexibility, support, and opportunity to do what they do best. Clarity around their performance, your expectations, and your combined motivation will deliver the playing field your team needs to make the most of their skills.
Simplifying your sales tracking and structure
You’ll never get the best performance out of your salespeople if you get too bogged down with needless tracking.
Stripping things down and getting back to basics will help you make sure you develop a simple sales process that helps your team focus. This simplicity should be combined with a strong ethos that you communicate continuously - keep reminding your team to concentrate on the selling and it’s your job as a manager to make sure the rest takes care of itself.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore the data.
It just means you need to spend your energy focusing on what can make a difference for your team and filter in only the most important, actionable insights. You need to refine your tracking to focus on a few (or just one) key metrics at each stage of your sales process.
Ignoring everything else as an irrelevance will help your salespeople focus on the things that matter and stop them from clogging their day with reporting and administrative tasks.
Focus on the “indicator” rather than result
We can’t escape talk of KPIs, but too often we ignore the true meaning: KPIs shouldn’t be viewed simply as results.
They are “indicators” of performance – elements that should be considered to gauge a better understanding of how specific results are being achieved and how things can be improved in the future. Too often we obsess purely on the result, rather than focusing on getting the process right.
What’s the most commonly used metric in sales?
Specifically, closed deals against a monthly quota. Clearly you need to know how your team is performing in a broad sense, but this metric provides little insight into the “why.”
It is an outcome, not an indicator.
It doesn’t tell you what the sales person can do differently or how you can optimize your process to achieve better results.
Put simply, knowing the result doesn’t help you drive more sales. It’s data without insight. Founder of Velocity Partners, Doug Kessler sums up the difference perfectly:
“Data is only useful if it helps us generate insight to guide strategy or to shape action.”
The metrics you choose to measure your team need to provide a platform for change. They are the first steps to ensure you implement processes and adjust proactively. The end results should flow from here.
Sales metrics you should be focusing on
You should be spending your time reviewing your sales pipeline, looking to find a metric that shapes action at each stage of the process (as opposed to just focusing on the result).
Specifically look at the following metrics:
- The number of deals in your pipeline
- The average size of the deals in your pipeline
- Your close ratio - the average percentage of deals closed
- The sales velocity – the average time it takes to close a deal
Pipedrive’s sales reporting gives you a detailed look into every stage of your pipeline . Each report is generated automatically, making it easy to visualise your sales process and pinpoint the priority areas for improvement.
Pipedrive’s visual display allows you to view the above metrics but also create a simplified sales process. Each team member will then have a clear understanding of his or her specific sales priorities.
They’ll know how to focus their attention and efforts into the deals that matter.
Deconstructing the sales funnel and honing your analysis on these four key metrics will enable you to proactively measure the performance of your team and make changes where required.
Specifically, you can evaluate the following sales metrics:
- Sales Pipeline Coverage
- Opportunity Win Rate by individual team member
- Historical Sales Cycle Velocity
Opportunity Win Rate
This details the percentage of closed deals that were won.
Put simply, if you can increase your opportunity win rate you’ll be able to grow your business.
Looking closely at the stats also enables you to investigate individual sales rep performance and implement proactive processes.
- Measure the impact of new business development initiatives
- Look critically at your sales strategy across customer segments
- Compare the performance of different sales teams
Most importantly for your team, if you look at your sales funnel by stage and analyze where the opportunities are being lost, you can implement training plans for that specific team member to improve in certain areas, including:
- Rapport building
- Improving product knowledge & demo skills
- Enhancing negotiation or closing skills
For each team member, losing a sale and potentially falling behind targets can be demoralizing. When they continually fail in specific areas, whether presenting, negotiating, or closing can lead to anxiety and stress.
According to Jill Konrath, only one in seven sales professionals review their own performance after a sales meeting. It’s up to you to do this.
By deconstructing the sales funnel and having the data to hand you can look for indicators in their performance and work with them on a personal level to build their skills and confidence in their weaker areas. Performance reviews will then be structured, relevant, and worthwhile for your sales team.
Remember, always think:
Working with your team in this manner is so much more useful than simply tracking number of dials, talk time, or demos scheduled, and then just asking them to “do more”.
Sales Cycle Velocity
The average time it takes your team to win a deal. You’ll also want to look at the average time individual stages of the sales process take, termed your “duration in stage”.
Use this data to look historically at your average sales cycle to understand likely buyers and at-risk opportunities. If you know your average historical sales cycle you can build a picture of the likelihood of closing your current deals. For example, if one is stuck in the pipeline much longer than the typical cycle, it is less likely to result in a win. This helps your team members to understand which deals to give their time and effort.
Using this data and acting on it also enables you to create a weighted pipeline when forecasting. Opportunities with a higher likelihood of closing are assigned more value, enabling you to forecast much more accurately.
Pipedrive’spipeline view and deal velocity report work together to give you this data in real time so you effectively track, forecast, and put processes in place to negate any potential future issues.
Simplify your metrics to help your team focus on selling
Now that you know where you team is at, you can forecast accurately, evaluate each stage of the pipeline, and coach individual team members in specific areas.
This simplifies things for your team as well. They’ll now know what is important to you and what they should be concentrating on. By utilizing automated reports there will be no need for them to get bogged down in reporting and their own analysis.
Remember to find one key action to attach to each specific stage of the sales pipeline. Pipedrive’s simple visual dashboard gives you clear visibility of your performance across the entire sales process.
By assigning one key metric to track performance at each stage, you can easily see where you need to prioritize areas of improvement (and celebrate your successes in others).
Start simplifying your sales metrics for your team to help them focus on the one thing that matters for any salesperson - selling.