If 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.