You know that measuring your sales team’s successes and failures is vital. It helps you optimize individual and group performance, and ultimately, pipeline and conversion. But while it may be essential, it isn’t easy.
You have to know which key performance indicators (KPIs) matter to you, and how to track them effectively. But a head for hard figures isn’t enough. You need great soft skills too. The kind that let you spot and celebrate great work, deliver negative feedback without knocking confidence, and develop a culture where failure is always a step towards future success.
Here are our four top tips for measuring – and optimizing – your team’s performance.
1. Celebrate the positive.
Whether you’re reviewing individual performance or the overall performance of your team, seek out things to celebrate. Giving credit where credit’s due is a tried-and-tested morale-booster.
Your focus on the positive should extend to the way in which you present the review process to your team. Always frame it as an exercise in find out what’s working best, so great practices can be shared throughout the team – and never as a chance to start calling out underperformers, or allocating blame.
2. Make failure a part of success.
You can’t, of course, avoid the negative entirely. Instead, embrace failures and involve your team in the process of finding the lessons in past mistakes.
These lessons should be formalized into an actionable plan, and where necessary, filtered into your processes and training materials. You can then review progress against the plan until you’re sure your measures have been effective.
In this way, you’ll slowly create a ‘test and learn’ culture, where failures are discussed and profited from, rather than swept under the carpet to fester.
3. Set up triggers to discover pain points.
Some pain points are more obvious than others – and it’s often the issues that are the hardest to spot that have the biggest effect on sales performance.
Triggers are a great way of discovering these roadblocks. Just like you’d use triggers to monitor the leads you’re trying to sell to (change of management, profit announcements etc.) you can create a trigger to flag up a multitude of concealed issues.
For example, if time spent on administration tips your trigger, it may mean members of your team aren’t using your CRM’s full potential or that it isn’t fit for purpose.
Again, this is all about ‘test and learn’, so as you surface an underlying issue, remember to really dig into it and create a solution for the long term.
4. Define the KPIs that matter – to you.
For some businesses, a short lead response time is vital. For others, there’ll be many more important KPIs to track. Not every metric matters to everyone – so work out which metrics are key for your business. Here are few classics you should definitely consider:
- Revenue from new business vs revenue from existing customers
- Average lifetime value of a customer
- Net promoter score
- Deals won vs deals lost
- Cost of selling vs revenue earned
- Market penetration
- Growth over time
And that’s just the big picture. You’ll want to measure a number of team and individual activity metrics too. These could include the number of sales calls made and emails sent – and the amount of time your team is spending on each. Or the number of meetings and live demos your team is delivering every quarter.
Once you’ve identified your key metrics, you’ll want a fast, simple way to track them. Unless you have time to spend puzzling over pages of figures – and let’s face it, what sales leader does? – you’ll need visual, customizable reports.
Ideally, you’ll want the option to measure and analyze every aspect of your sales cycle – from your rate of lead generation, to the blockages in your pipeline.
Understand where you succeed and fail – it’s the key to optimization
Building a greater understanding of sales performance is well worth the time and effort. It’s the only way to identify issues, optimize on an individual and team level – and consistently turn any failures into a firm foundation for future wins.
Why not also check out our Global Sales Performance Review for a global insight into how others sell.