Sales Traction: A Key Indicator [New KPI]

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 @ 15:10 PM

Getting in front of prospects is hard. Once you get there, making the meeting stick has an exponential impact on the size and quality of the pipeline.  Today we are going to discuss Traction. Traction is the percentage of first meetings that progress from Suspect to Prospect. It's an important KPI for Sales Leaders to track because it demonstrates an individual’s ability to capitalize on a first conversation. Without the ability to catch the attention of their suspects the salesperson will continue to struggle to fill their pipeline with quality opportunities

So what’s the big deal? The power of Traction is illustrated in the chart below.


Scenario (1)

Less Traction

Scenario (2)

More Traction







Second Base



% Conv. / 2nd




The salesperson in the second scenario doubled their return on investment (time) because they were able to generate traction and make the meeting “stick.”

What strengths drive a person’s ability to get traction? It starts with desire and commitment, namely the passion to succeed, win and make more money and the unconditional commitment to do whatever it takes. Too many salespeople have strong desire but conditional commitment. There are probably some of them on your team. How often does their best call of the day come at the end or early in the morning?traction

Traction is generated when you push back and challenge prospects. High levels of bravery and a positive outlook are required. To succeed in an environment where prospects want to find a reason to stop talking you must be prepared. The words need to come out without thinking. This requires lots of role-play, mastery of positioning statements and practice.

Sales Posturing plays a big role, specifically controlling emotions and developing relationships early. Salespeople are reactive by nature. This tendency to respond to events (questions and objections) from prospects causes them to step out of the investigation process into presentation. They need to be both willing to ask forthright questions (Sales Assertiveness) and be capable of having patience and allowing prospects to talk about the problems (sales empathy).

Their self-limiting beliefs frequently prevent salespeople from gaining traction; for example a salesperson who thinks a prospect that sounds happy with their current vendor won’t buy from them will not ask questions about what can be improved.

Imagine how the following statements can affect how a salesperson executes the sales process and the outcomes they achieve.

• It’s OK if they think it over

• I must educate the prospect

• I have to call on purchasing agents before end users or decision-makers

• Prospects are honest

• It's not OK to confront a prospect

• I should tell my prospects why they should buy from me

It’s almost as if the meeting outcomes are pre-determined based on what the salesperson thinks.

As a sales leader you must find ways to hire people that have a verifiable track record of developing traction. As a coach and mentor focusing your efforts on developing people’s ability to create traction will have a direct effect on the results.

Topics: sales, kpis, moneyball for the sales force, traction

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