The Upside of Being Measured – Sales eXchange – 9717

People often have opinions or views that drive their approach and by extension the sales results.  It therefore follows that if the underlying assumptions or beliefs are inaccurate than so will the resulting approach and related actions, which can undermine their success.  This is one reason you want to measure and quantify things so you can base your actions on facts rather than just feel.  Yes, I will acknowledge that there are some things you can’t measure and therefore have to rely on other inputs, but at the same time there are a whole bunch of things that you can measure but some choose not, or choose not to take the action, leaving them with no measure and no success.

One example is prospecting, more specifically for many lead gen and lead conversion to appointments and then prospects.  If you follow this blog, you know that I believe in allocating time, and managing activities, rather than the simple notion of managing time.  When we work with sales teams we ask them early on what they need to allocate time to, and prospecting is always on the list, we then ask how much of their time by percentage they should be allocating to prospecting, on average we end up with a number around 30%.

This raises a couple of red flags for me, first, while they say 30%, they rarely do 30%, always finding some other “important” things that have to get done.  Second, it also tells me they have no clue, because they neither do it nor track.

With most of the same groups, we implement a process of tracking their activities, and what we find is that after a month or so, those who prospect habitually, can drive enough appointments in much less time.  First thing they have to know what “enough” is, this can be easily arrived at by working backwards from their goal to understand what that number is based on their own conversion rates along critical parts of their sale.

Assuming a 45-hour week, for most successful B2B sales people that would be a short week, but let’s pretend, 30% would equate to 13.5 hours or 2.7 hours per day.  Seems like a big chunk of time, no wonder many in sales avoid it, especially if they can go squeeze their base for some “growth”.  But once they actually begin a regiment of prospecting, implement a methodology, in the case of Renbor’s clients, ours.  What we find is that a vast majority, over 80%, can get to their required number of appointment or new prospects, whichever makes more sense to measure based on their business, in considerably less time than the 13.5 hours they may have “guessed” before they adopt the approach.

Knowing this encourages them to actually do it consistently, while at the same time freeing up time to complete other important parts of their sales, parts they thought they like more.

So next time someone brings up the concept of measuring what you do execute, don’t get all defensive, they are not looking to micro manage you, or as some have told me “cramp their style”.  Metrics or measures are primarily a way to improve your game.  Adopt a methodology that makes sense for your product and market, measure key elements, and implement a program to continuously improve your game.  Now if you have no game, and fail to take steps to improve it, then measure could be your undoing.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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17 Comments

  1. Jim

    This post is right on target. In thirty years of sales every, and I mean 100% of the people I’ve seen fail did so as a direct result of their prospecting discipline.
    Lacking any plan, formal or otherwise, these people wasted vast amounts of time staying busy but accomplishing nothing. I’ve found that by executing a well designed plan in conjunction with CRM my prospecting becomes more efficient as my cold calls keep getting warmer. Finally I reach a point where one in three calls will result in a solid first in appointment.

  2. Tibor Shanto

    Jim,

    Thanks for your comment, I agree that those who fail, fail to prospect properly.

    Tibor

  3. Dave Brock

    This is really an important post Tibor, thanks for writing it.

    For as goal oriented as we sales people profess to be, I’m always shocked by the absence of measurements. Every sales person should be tracking themselves on key metrics, whether it’s time spent prospecting, or whatever.

    Without the metrics, we have no idea of whether we are on target for achieving our goals or whether we need to make adjustments.

    Metrics are the cornerstone to any great sales professional’s performance. Thanks for a great post.

    • admin

      Hi Dave,

      I too am surprised when sales people don’t know or care to know key metrics that impact their success.

      Thanks for you input.

      Tibor

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