If every sales team has one common goal, it’s to produce more. More deals, more revenue, more customers. Achieving these goals requires that every member of the team, not just the top 20% of high performers, are working at their full potential and productivity.
Yet, if you plot the average performance of a sales team, there are a relatively small number of reps that will ever be in the top levels of quota achievement. To change that dynamic, sales managers need to do more than just automate processes. They need to successfully develop, coach and grow the biggest number of individual contributors to reach their goals faster. At Qstream we refer to this as “the human side of sales acceleration.”
Improve the performance of the salespeople you already have
Rather than just hiring more “A” players, sales leaders need to find new ways, supported by data, to improve the performance of the salespeople they already have. (And even incremental improvements can yield big gains: research shows that at little as a 5% gain from the middle performers in your sales team can yield 70% more revenue.)
But not all data is created equal. Sales leaders have been well trained over the past decade to believe that when it comes to data, more is better. In fact, with the growth of CRM, sales professionals have become overrun with data – mostly lagging indicators like activity levels or close rates. These are all things that, once reported, are simply too late to impact.
So given the challenges with “rear-view” data, what should sales managers be measuring – adaptively and predictively – to impact the future performance of their sales people and help more of their team reach the top ranks? Here are 3 sales metrics you may be missing:
1. Sales Capabilities
Believe it or not, many managers don’t stop to consider what each of their sales reps is actually prepared to bring to every customer interaction. We’re not talking about memorizing a script, or the “sales theater” involved in most sales demos and presentations. We’re talking about your reps’ ability to add value during the customer’s buying process, and the sales cycle itself – from first meeting to close.
Real sales skills go beyond simple sales metrics like number of calls completed or number of deals closed, and they can and should be measured and managed proactively.
Lots of studies, including Qstream’s own, point out sizable gaps in sales readiness. In fact, more than one-third of enterprise sales reps today – even those with lots of experience and training – show up at sales calls unprepared or unable to apply the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. But which ones are they?
Over a few quarters, metrics like win rate and quota attainment can offer a general picture of sales performance. But what if you could know sooner, and impact the result? The ability to achieve this has two parts: first understanding, with data, where your team is today (what they know and don’t know, where their strengths and weaknesses are) and second, having a proven methodology to change their behavior before revenue and relationships are at risk.
Qstream is uniquely designed to analyze and synthesize thousands of these data points in real-time from your reps’ responses to brief scenario-based challenges. Delivered as a rich set of real-time reports and dashboards, these KPIs are helping sales leadership answer important business questions like “Do we have the right people?” and “Are they prepared to make the number?”
Many of our customers are seeing amazing – and sometimes unexpected – insights into the capabilities of their sales teams. Leveraging the power of mobile, it’s an easy and convenient way to not only gather sales capabilities data, but also to reinforce the skills and behaviors that matter most.
2. Coaching Effectiveness
Managers surveyed by the Sales Management Association rated coaching as the number one most important activity based on impact to sales effectiveness. And they ranked it higher than lead generation, compensation, and sales methodology.
While it makes sense to prioritize coaching, many sales managers do very little of it, never mind measure how effective they are. Why is that? Well, according to the same survey, they said they were just too busy! Some also admitted they didn’t have the skills, data, or tools to coach effectively. So if we want to make this a priority, we need to do two things:
First, give managers the insights they need to deliver good coaching, and not just a checklist of things they should probably do when they get around to it. Then measure the effectiveness of that coaching. Many execs are turning to technology solutions like Qstream for this; in 2015, the platform delivered more than 200, 000 coaching insights to managers, increasing coaching effectiveness by 55%. The most critical benefit of our approach is that it effectively engages time-constrained sales managers in the process of coaching, and provides the data they need to make coaching tasks both accountable and actionable.
3. Performance Correlation
There’s one thing you’ll discover immediately when correlating sales capabilities to revenue, and it’s that top performers have one thing common: they’re highly proficient in all aspects of their job. And we aren’t just talking about selling skills. Good alignment with your company’s KPIs means that in a given year, you may be focused on just one component of a sales reps’ job, such as their grasp of your new sales methodology or a new product. For other groups or other time periods, it may be expanded to include skills like prospecting, handling competitive objections, or a recent regulatory change in your market.
Either way, there’s a simple way to correlate this, and it starts with your Qstream data. Based on your unique requirements, you might select capabilities data, such as proficiency scores on a particular skill or area of expertise. You can bring in other data, too, like coaching actions or team or regional scores. By simply correlating that with the activity and sales performance data already in your CRM system, you get a full view of both past and predictive outcomes.
For example, you might see that the rep with the biggest pipeline also has the weakest qualification skills. (How confident do you feel about that pipeline now?) Knowing this allows you to take a second look at your forecast, but also intervene with that rep to scrub their pipeline and offer some much-needed coaching on deal discovery.
Companies tracking these three sales metrics are seeing great returns. In just one example, a U.S.-based security services company was able to increase quota attainment by 30%, improve gross profit by 3%, and reduce sales turn-over by 12%.
So what should you do to realize these benefits for your team? Contact us today to request a demo.