The New Salesenomics

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 23, 2019 @ 21:05 PM

 SALESENOMICS

Back in the 1960's it made sense for gasoline prices to be discounted down to the nearest 9/10 of a cent because gas prices ranged between 17.9 to 18.9 cents.  But when gas prices are around $3.00 per gallon, how does 9/10 cent continue to make sense?  Some habits die really hard.

I don't know about you but some things just don't make sense to me.  I loved the Leavitt/Dubner series of books on Freakonomics and thought I could share some interesting sales and sales management data that make little sense.

Nearly 50% of salespeople are willing to work on straight commission but only 7% of companies offer such a compensation plan.

Two of the sales metrics tracked most often are margin at 65% and profitability at 51%.  Surprisingly, only 6% of companies track the cost of a sales call.  Why do companies who care about margin and profitability not care about the cost of a sales call?

Only 34% of companies track win rates, 32% track account retention, and 9% track the percentage of meetings that close; yet 57% track the percentage of salespeople under/over goal and 47% track their top opportunities.  Why would they track their top opportunities but not care about meetings that close or win rates?

49% of companies track the number of opportunities in their pipeline yet only 27% track the quality of those opportunities.  That leads to the low win rates that companies are not really tracking and the inaccurate forecasts that drive CEO's crazy!  

Salespeople reporting to a manager with strong Coaching skills have 26% more closable opportunities in their sales pipelines while salespeople reporting to a manager with strong Accountability skills have 18% more closable opportunities in their pipelines.  On the other side of the fence, salespeople with sales managers who have weak coaching and/or accountability skills saw 77% of their late stage opportunities moved back to one of the earliest stages of the pipeline!

Sales managers with strong coaching skills are 230% more likely to have elite salespeople working for them!  If that doesn't make a case for developing coaching skills, I don't know what does.

Although they should be spending half their time on coaching, Sales Managers spend around half their time split between coaching, accountability and motivation.  How do they spend the other half of their time?  Does it really matter?  Whether it's spent on personal sales, closing reps' deals, putting out fires, or administrative crap, all of it distracts from coaching.

Salespeople with no sales experience – born to sell – have a sales percentile score of 32 with an average Sales DNA score of 61 and an average Will to Sell score of 60.  They fall into the very weak category.  Compare that to salespeople with 5-10 years of experience – trained to sell – who have a sales percentile score of 58 (182% higher) with an average Sales DNA score of 67 (110% higher) and an average Will to Sell score of 66 (110% higher).  Trained to sell beats born to sell.

All of the salesenomics statistics referenced above are from Objective Management Group's (OMG) data warehouse.  OMG has evaluated or assessed 1,863,494 salespeople from companies in countries.

Would you like to see how salespeople score in each of the 21 sales core competencies?  Click here.

Would you like to check out the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment? Click here.

Would you like to discover some more salesenomics?  Check out these articles:

Great News! The Latest Data Shows That Salespeople are Improving 

Data Shows That Only 14% are Qualified for the Easiest Selling Roles

The Wrong Salespeople are Hired 77% of the Time

Golden Nuggets from the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Talent Study

New Data Shows that You Can Double Revenue by Overcoming This One Sales Weakness

Salespeople With This Weakness Score 47% Worse at Reaching Decision Makers

Which 4 Sales Competencies Best Differentiate Top from Bottom Salespeople?

Where Can You Find the Best Salespeople?

The Top 12 Factors that Cause Delayed Closings and What to Do About Them

Data Shows 1st Year Sales Improvement of 51% in this Competency

Finally!  Science Reveals the Actual Impact of Sales Coaching

Do the Best Sales Managers Have the Best Salespeople?

New Data Shows That Elite Salespeople are 700% Less Likely to Do This

Elite Salespeople are 26 Times More Effective at This Competency Than Weak Salespeople

Does Being a Strong Qualifier Correlate to Having a Strong Pipeline?

Elite Salespeople are 200% Better in These 3 Sales Competencies

Latest Data - Strong Salespeople Score 375% Better Than Weak Salespeople

Sales Pipeline Data Shows That Most Late Stage Opportunities Just Aren't

Latest Data Shows Most Salespeople Would be Fired or Arrested if they Worked in Accounting

New Data - Are Experienced Sales Managers Better Sales Managers?

The Latest Data Shows That Sales Managers Are Even Worse Than I Thought

Sales Playbook and CRM Problems - What the Data Tells Us

New Data Shows How Relationships and the Need to be Liked Impact Sales Performance

New Data Shows Sales Weaknesses Cause Powerful Chain Reactions in Salespeople

Discovered - Data Reveals the Second Biggest Obstacle to Closing More Sales

Discovered - Data Reveals the Biggest Obstacle to Closing More Sales

Topics: sales training, Sales Coaching, born to sell, sales metrics, sales data

Popularity Polls are Just Like Sales Management Tracking Metrics!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 21:01 PM

polls

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Have you ever watched a news program where they presented poll results, like the number of people in favor of legalizing marijuana?  The poll shows popular opinion, but not the facts, logic, or impact on arrests, the economy, traffic accidents, unemployment, addiction, death rates, etc.  There is a huge difference between people's often uninformed opinions, versus what the facts might suggest.  That's the problem with the statistics I'm going to share in this article.  The stats show what sales managers are doing but those managers are largely uninformed. They don't know what's good for them, haven't been asked or held accountable to doing it differently, and aren't in any way shape or form following best practices.  John Pattison, Objective Management Group's COO, mined some data on salespeople who report to sales managers.  I was appalled by what I saw.  Check this out!

I reviewed data from 17,000 salespeople who reported to 4,000 managers in companies across more than 100 industries and here are some of the most interesting findings (see how 500,000 salespeople score in 21 Sales Core Competencies here):

Tracking, Reporting and Pipeline:

  • Margins are the metric tracked most frequently. 65% of sales managers track that because they need that metric to calculate commissions!
  • 3% of sales managers don't track or report on anything
  • Only 6% of sales managers track cost per sales call
  • Of the 5 pipeline metrics that could be tracked, an average of only 32% of sales managers track 1 or more of them
  • Only 33% of sales managers track closing percentage
  • Only 41% track average order size

I have news for you.  If you don't track closing percentage or average order size, you can't identify the number of opportunities that are required to be added to the first stage of the pipeline each month!

Coaching Environment

The data shows that it's more important that sales managers believe their salespeople trust their intentions, and have strong relationships with their salespeople than what the reality might be.  When sales managers believe there is mutual trust and a strong relationship, it is 300% more likely that their salespeople will be strong or elite.  That's because sales managers with these beliefs coach more frequently, coach longer, and coach more effectively.  See this article for the data that shows that how sales managers who coach frequently and effectively see a 27% increase in revenue.

If you want to become super effective at coaching salespeople, register to attend my Sales Leadership Intensive on March 19-20.  If you want to attend, use DKSLIMAY17 at checkout to receive a $100 discount.  Seating is extremely limited (only 20 seats remaining). If you're like the hundreds of other sales leaders that have attended this event over the past 8 years, you'll quickly recognize that it's the finest training you've ever received.

Sales Leadership CoverSpeaking of sales leadership and coaching, order Keith Rosen's terrific new book, Sales Leadership, from Amazon.com.  You won't be disappointed.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, self-limting beliefs, sales metrics, tracking

Can Sales Statistics be Bad and Good at the Same Time?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 20, 2018 @ 22:02 PM

stats.jpg

I received two pieces of bad news relative to statistics.  

The first is about my award-winning Blog.  It seems that readers stay with an article for an average of only one-minute or so.  That means that most readers don't finish the article, fail to get to my summary, and often don't read long enough to get my point.  Basically, everything that comes after the fourth paragraph is not being read.  This could also be good news.  It could mean that I can actually write shorter articles and that would be great for me!

The other piece of bad news relates to my award-winning sales training company, Kurlan & Associates.  I reviewed 5 years worth of statistics on opportunities that weren't closed and it seems that prospects were 6 times more likely to do nothing than to do business with a competitor.  We don't lose very often and I can count on two hands the number of opportunities I have personally lost in the past 5 years.  But it's one thing to rarely lose, and another to learn that 6 times more often than not, a company failed to act.   But these statistics are very misleading. Let me explain why.

Our business is not one where companies always purchase from somebody and it's only a question of from whom (think network copier).  It isn't a given that companies will follow through on training, coaching, sales process, recruiting, evaluating, assessing, sales enablement, consulting, etc.  A few don't have the appetite to spend the money (too late for them).  Some don't believe they really need the help (ego).  Most aren't willing to do the work (change) to achieve results.  

Still reading?  Oh, you're the one who stays past one minute and the fourth paragraph!

These two crappy statistics are connected in that both are related to attention and engagement. 

The one-minute stat is an average.  Some people stay on an article for 5 minutes to thoroughly digest an article while others exit after reading the title or seeing that I am the author.  They must hate me.  It means that there is enough readership so that the average time on page doesn't even matter.  It's a meaningless statistic that might cause some people to find a solution and improve the number.  Not me.  The average is the average and I don't care about averages.  I write for the people who read my articles, not for those who don't.

The same is true for those who in the end, don't buy from anyone.  It means that we are filling the pipeline and the natural attrition in our pipeline is as it should be.  It says that we are qualifying effectively but even that requires some digging to be certain.  Do these opportunities pass through all four stages of the sales process, including a proposal, before the prospects decide to live with the status quo?  Or, are we recognizing their lack of commitment earlier in the sales process and disqualifying the opportunity at that point?  Fortunately, it's the latter.  We usually move on from them before they have a chance to move on from us.  The more meaningful statistic is that we rarely lose!

Are you paying attention to stats like these?  Are they telling you a story about sales effectiveness or lack thereof?  Are the stats suggesting that you need to do things differently?  Do the stats suggest that you stay with an opportunity too long? 

We use a scorecard just like the ones we customize for our clients.  The scorecard keeps us on the straight and narrow and prevents us from chasing opportunities that score below 65 points.  It helps us disqualify very early in the sales process.  Do you have a scorecard that is predictive like ours?

The reality is that there are no bad statistics.  There are statistics that tell a story and those that don't.  There are statistics you can learn from and those you can't.  There are statistics that are forward looking and those that are lagging and that means that there are statistics that are predictive of something and those that aren't.  

When was the last time you looked at some of your statistics to determine what story is being told and the changes you need to make?

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales pipeline, sales metrics, scorecard

How Better Accountability Causes Sales Performance to Increase

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 04, 2016 @ 06:01 AM

record-breakers.jpg

This is a perfect topic to begin the New Year!  While others will be talking and writing about goals and resolutions, we'll be discussing the things that really make a difference.  Sure, having goals is important, but having them in writing, with an achieve by date and a plan is exponentially more likely to have an actionable outcome than only having goals.  And if you really want results, accountability is to goals as the accelerator is to the automobile.  They both cause immediate action.  Here's what I mean.

Let's assume that the salespeople who read this blog are a little smarter and more dedicated to sales success.  If that resonates with you, then let's also assume that they have a strong will to succeed in sales.  If you're still with me, then it's safe to assume that they gave their all and tried to get 2015 off to a good start in the first quarter of last year.

We are going to compare the year over year results of 5 randomly selected salespeople with the only difference being that in 2016 they will be accountable, whereby in 2015, they were not.  Oh sure - they worked for someone, but that is not the same thing as being accountable.

To begin, I'll need 5 volunteers.  Here are the requirements:

  • You must be willing to have me use your real name and company.
  • You must have and provide your goals and actual metrics/results from the 1st quarter of 2015.
  • You must be willing to provide me with your 2016 metrics/results every day during the 1st quarter of 2016.
  • You must be willing to allow me to periodically write about your progress and results here in my blog.
  • You must be willing to take part in a video interview before we begin and after we finish.
  • You must allow the videos to be shown online.

I guarantee that the five people who are selected for this program, despite not getting coached, will experience their best years in 2016.  We know how powerful good coaching is, but I want to show how powerful effective accountability can be all by itself - especially when there is positive peer pressure.

Will it be you?

Will it be someone who reports to you?

If you or someone you care about would like to apply, just send me an email, state that you are willing and able to abide by the 6 requirements listed in the January 4 blog article, and I'll be in touch.

What are some of the things we can compare to last year?  They include, but aren't limited to:

  • Pipeline Quantity
  • Pipeline Quality
  • Pipeline Acceleration
  • Sales Cycle Length
  • Call to Meeting Rate
  • Attempt to Conversation Rate
  • Milestones Achieved in Sales Cycle
  • Suspect to Prospect Conversion Rate
  • Prospect to Qualified Conversion Rate
  • Qualified to Closable Rate
  • Win Rate
  • Average Sale
  • Average Margin
  • Number of Referrals
  • Percentage of Leads Converted
  • Archived Opportunities
  • Percentage of Decision Makers Reached
  • Demos Scheduled
  • Demo to Win Rate
  • Compelling Reasons Uncovered
  • Compelling Reasons to Win Rate

Of course, if we don't have the specific metric from last year at this time, we can't run a comparison on that metric.  So how many of these metrics are you tracking?  Most companies track no more than 5 of these!  What would happen if you started to track all of them?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales performance, Sales Accountability, sales metrics, KPI

Increase in Social Selling Yields No Improvement in KPI's

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Nov 05, 2013 @ 12:11 PM

Yeah, just in case you didn't get that, I'll lay it out for you.

In a recent mining of Objective Management Group's data from June of 2013, there was a huge increase in the number of salespeople using social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Spoke, Plaxo and Reachable for selling.  The graph looked like this:

Social Selling Stats

I was impressed with this development...but...there is a huge problem with this.  For all the attention that these sites get, for all the salespeople who now spend their evenings perfecting their profile, adding people to their networks and asking for introductions, what hasn't changed for the better are these key metrics:

  • Calls-to-contact ratio is now over 10:1 - worse than ever before.
  • Contact-to-meeting ratio is worse, not better.
  • Sales cycle length is longer, not shorter.
  • Closing percentages are lower, not higher.

Weren't the social sites supposed to help with those metrics?

Not really.  These sites help salespeople connect - in the slightest of ways.  Do you even know half of the people in your network?  

Your network is like your neighborhood.  You know that they are there, you recognize them as they go by, in their cars, on their bikes or while walking their dogs.  But, you are only friendly with a small percentage of them.  How likely is it that salespeople could improve their effectiveness because of their neighborhood?  Well, the same is true of their networks.  And the online networks don't work any better than the real networks that they belong to in their home towns.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  The chamber, the business networking groups, the peer groups, the resource groups, etc.  In theory, they're all great, but in reality, how often do they produce measurable business from people who aren't your friends?

Networks provide the framework to connect, but nothing happens automatically.  Salespeople must still be effective enough, when reaching out, to convert that connection to a call, meeting, opportunity and sale.  And sadly, we just aren't seeing any improvement in the selling capabilities of the global sales population.  It's almost exactly the same as it was 10 years ago!

It's time that we stop expecting sales to increase as a result of CRM, social selling tools and email.  They are great tools, but none of them replace actual selling, and even worse, all of them serve as distractions, false safety nets and busy work that must be completed before salespeople are caught up and can get on the phone.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales 2.0, twitter, sales metrics, linkedin, KPI, social selling

The Monumental Effort Required to Grow Sales in 2014

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 @ 05:10 AM

BroncosRegular readers know I'm a baseball guy, but that doesn't mean I ignore football.  Sunday, the New England Patriots needed 30 points to win their game over the New Orleans Saints 30 - 27.  But that's nothing.  The previous week, the Denver Broncos needed...wait for it...51 points...to win their game over the Dallas Cowboys.  51 - 48.  99 points in a single football game.

It takes 51 points to win a football game now?

When game planning for an opponent, I don't think any coach, anywhere, could have prepared their team and said, "Look fellas, it's gonna be a real high scorin' game, so let's plan to score 6 touchdowns and add 3 field goals for good measure."  

But that's what it took.

When you look ahead to 2014 sales, are you using the same assumptions as always?  If you want to grow by 20%, do you use the same metrics for next year that you used for last year?  Will the plan that got you there last year continue to work next year?  Have you accounted for any of these changes?

  • What if customer retention worsens?
  • What if your average sale or account drops?
  • What if the closing percentage changes?
  • What if it takes 15 attempts instead of 10 attempts to reach a single prospect?
  • What if 10% fewer conversations convert to meetings?
  • What if your margin drops by 10%?
  • What if you lose 10% of your salespeople and you aren't able to replace them for 6 months?
  • What if your sales cycle extends by 2 months?
  • What if it takes 25% more of everything in order to reach the promised land next year?
  • What if your competition introduces a better product for less money?
  • What if it takes the sales equivalent of 51 points to meet budget?

While a customized, structured, optimized, formal sales process and targeted, effective, and integrated sales training and coaching will address and improve all of those metrics over time, you also must assume that your assumptions with regard to metrics for next year are wrong.

But how will you know which ones are most likely to be wrong?  How long will it take to notice?

You can't possibly know whether or not your metrics for sales cycle, margin, closing percentage, retention, or average sale are going to change until you have completed enough sales cycles to collect the data for an appropriate sample size.  For those, you'll have to head into 2014 and leave margin for error.  However, within one week you should know the top-of-the-funnel metrics like attempts to conversations and conversations to meetings and whether those have changed since 2011.  By the way, they have!

This is one of the advantages of pipeline management and CRM.  If you have the applications tuned to report on the right metrics, getting this information in real time is not a problem.  The real issues are:

  • Will sales managers pay any attention to the metrics or look only at sales?
  • Will they notice if the metrics change?
  • Will they change the metrics on the fly and provide training and coaching to help?
  • Will they demand more sales without providing tactical and strategic support?
  • Will they be lazy, ignore the changes, but later cite changing metrics as the reason they missed quota?
  • What will you do? 
By the way, this is World Awareness Week - a celebration of Top Sales World. Click the image below to visit.
Top Sales World - World Awareness Week

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales growth, sales metrics

Sabermetrics for Sales Leadership - Projecting Sales Revenue

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 22:05 PM

What if there was a way to project sales success even more so than what Objective Management Group has mastered during the past 23 years?

What if we could do what Bill James and a bunch of sabermaticians have done in Baseball?

Not that long ago, baseball hitting statistics were limited to batting average (AVE), Runs Batted In (RBI) and Home Runs (HR).  Pitching statistics used to be limited to Wins (W), Losses (L) and Earned Run Average (ERA).  

Today, the sabermaticians have developed statistics that better identify the value of a ball player and some of them, like On Base Percentage (OBP) and On Base Plus Slugging (OPS) have worked their way into baseball's mainstream. They also have metrics like WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched) and WAR (Wins above Replacement) and many more.

The saber gurus have even found ways to equalize the effects of different stadiums, competition, times of year, match ups, and more.  Some of them even project how stars of years past would fare against the stars of today!  And every year Bill James projects how each major league player will perform in the coming year.

Back to my original question, what if there was a way to project sales success even more so than what Objective Management Group has mastered during the past 23 years?

What if we could not only predict whether a sales candidate will succeed in your business, selling your offerings at your prices to your prospects against your competition, and with your challenges as we currently do, but also project how their history would translate in terms of likely revenue?  Not from guessing, but calculated from some sophisticated new algorithms.

Cool, huh?

Don't get too excited though, because we aren't there yet. However, that is my next ambitious project.  Let me know what you think about it and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, sabermetrics for sales, sales candidate performance, sales KPI's, sales metrics

Fewer Sample Requests and Sales Proposals - What's Wrong?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 17:04 PM

less is moreTwo clients called this week to express their concerns.

Client #1 was concerned because their most important metric is sample requests and their requests are down from the same period last year.  I asked what drove sample requests and he told me that sales visits led to sample requests.  

During the past 6 months we dramatically changed what their salespeople were doing on sales visits.  They used to show up, take five minutes to present their product and then the prospect would ask for samples.  Now, they completely qualify the reasons, expectations and time allotted for that visit, have a meaningful conversation about their prospect's business, and get commitments to have their products specified on future work.  They are enjoying much better conversations, achieving much better engagement and getting much stronger commitments.  

I suggested that the decrease in sample requests was simply a byproduct of better sales calls.  My client wondered how better sales calls could possibly result in fewer sample requests and I explained that previously, the sample request was simply a token request - a put-off - and it wouldn't actually lead to anything except a sample being filed away in a drawer somewhere.  Now, instead of sample requests, they're getting commitments to do business and when they are ready, the sample requests lead to sales.  My client agreed.

Client #2 was concerned because their most important metric was proposals and the number of proposals are down from the same period last year. I asked what drove proposals and he told me that RFP's and sales calls led to proposals.

During the past 6 months, we dramatically changed how their salespeople responded to RFP's and what they were doing on sales calls.  They used to respond to an RFP by taking a day or two to write and submit a proposal with fewer than 10% converting to sales.  They used to show up, talk about features and benefits and ask if they could submit a proposal (remember it was a key metric so the more the merrier).  Now they call the prospects who send RFP's and have meaningful conversations to differentiate themselves from their competitors (who are sending proposals).  They learn if they is a fit, a real opportunity, and how they can do business together.  Sales calls are no longer presentation-centric.  Instead, their salespeople have meaningful conversations about business problems they could solve and propose solutions only when the prospect is serious about doing business with them.  

I suggested that the decrease in proposals could be the result of more effective selling, salespeople choosing not to propose to everyone, and a much more comprehensive qualification.  I also asked for the latest conversion ratio for proposals to sold.  It was up to 45% meaning that there was a 400% improvement in efficiency and effectiveness!

You probably have a key metric that's old school too.  By old school, I'm suggesting that it was once a metric that was a key indicator of future business but now it's only a measurement of what you're measuring - in these two examples - sample requests and proposals.  There are better metrics for both of these companies.  Instead of sample requests, they should be measuring the number of new commitments to specify their products.  And instead of proposals, a more telling metric could be qualified opportunities.

Review what you used to believe was meaningful and ask yourself whether it is truly a key indicator of future business or if you are simply using convenient, old, comfortable metrics because you always have.  Less is usually more.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, KPI's, sales metrics

Tighter Sales Metrics at New Year Leads to Improved Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 07, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

targeted opportunitiesIf you are like most executives, you start the new year asking for everyone's goals, plans and forecasts.  Terrific start.  But then what?

You'll need to modify the pipeline requirements for each salesperson.  If the goals change, the requirements in each stage must change with them.  And if any of your salespeople's critical ratios for closing have changed in the past 12 months, those new percentages also must be factored into your new pipeline requirements.

That leads to your KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) or metrics which drive revenue.  If you collect these now via a daily huddle, that's terrific; let's tighten them up.  If you don't currently have your sales team calling in every morning for 10 minutes, you're missing out on a critical piece of accountability, team-building and intelligence.

How can you tighten up your metrics?

Suppose for example that you currently have your salespeople report the number of new conversations, newly-scheduled meetings and qualified opportunities.  You can tighten them up by inserting the word "targeted".  Your salespeople are able to call on a wide range of potential customers, but a much smaller group is in the sweet spot.  It's the sweet spot which will lead them to their goals for revenue and profitability, but any old customer will count as a new sale.  Suppose you have them report only those conversations with sweet spot or targeted opportunities, new meetings scheduled with targeted opportunities and qualified targeted opportunities.  There will be more pipeline movement, improved closing ratios and your revenue and profit goals will be achieved earlier in the year.

A benefit to this change is that those salespeople who struggle with the sweet spot, but who have hidden behind their numbers, will be exposed.  Your job is to determine why they struggle with the target opportunities.  The best way to quickly identify, understand and solve these and other similar struggles is with a sales force evaluation.

Tighter is sweeter as in the tighter the targeting, the sweeter the opportunity.

What if you fail to emphasize metrics, have daily huddles or manage your salespeople very closely?  No problem.  Those salespeople will simply leave and you can start all over again.  Seriously, why would you ignore a best practice?  The old metrics which we preached in the 70's and 80's (dials, contacts, conversations, appointments, etc.) may have gone the way of the dinosaur, but metrics in general have not.  Sure, you still may use those old metrics for a salesperson whose job is only cold calls and set appointments.  But for most salespeople, the job has changed - dramatically - in the last five years and technology has a lot to do with it.  That's an article for another day, but for today, if you focus on the metrics, remove the wiggle room, and increase compliance, every capable salesperson on your team will perform more effectively.

Harder is Easier.  Read this post for more on oximoronic metrics.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Accountability, sales metrics, KPI, sales targets

Controversial "Best Time" For Salespeople To Fill Their Pipeline

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 15:06 PM

empty sales pipelineThe obvious answer is to make sure that they fill the pipeline when it begins to empty or is getting close to being empty, right?  

Wrong.

If the pipeline is nearly empty today, your salespeople are feeling scared, stressed, discouraged and demotivated.  If awful is how your salespeople feel, then do you really believe that NOW is the ideal time to get them prospecting?  I understand how badly you need them to get the pipeline filled, but from their perspective, and in the state they are in, are they capable?  Will they do it?

If their pipeline runs dry and that isn't the time to ask them to fill it up, then when would be the right time?

You won't like this answer, but it's correct.

Have them fill the pipeline, or in this case, add to it, when their pipeline is already full.  That's when they feel the most motivated, excited, confident, positive, relaxed and successful.  That's when they should look for more opportunities.  That's when they will be most effective and successful.  And adding opportunities to the pipeline is what will prevent them from ever having an empty pipeline.

This works just like the saying, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person."

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Force, sales pipeline, sales competency, sales funnel, Sales Accountability, sales metrics, sales forecast

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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