If you follow this blog you know that I do not understand or stand with those who say sales is not a numbers game. While I agree that the focus should always be about quality over quantity, the reality is that no matter the quality of your prospects, you will need a given (minimum) quantity of quality sales in order to meet, or better yet, exceed quota. Now, unless you are one of a privileged few, there is no getting away from the fact that your quota is a number! You’re going to have to deal with, and use numbers to meet or exceed that all important number.
Numbers = Accountability
I find it amusing that many of the pundits who insist that sales is not a numbers game, will drone on for hours about conversion and conversion rate. They are absolutely right, without those ‘numbers’ (conversion rates) it is not only hard to plan, but know where you are, so you can refine your plan and execute. This may explain why so many sales people fail to achieve quota.
Knowing your key conversion numbers gives you the power to take charge of your success and be accountable for your results.
Can’t Measure Everything – But You Should Measure Some
Part of the problem is the lack of imagination displayed by many managers, sales leaders and enablement types. They use numbers as a weapon, and each time they are at a loss to explain why things are the way they are, they add another measure to the mix, leading to their people working the numbers rather than the sale. The fix is in focusing on key numbers that help one plan an improvement plan that will the rep execute and win sales, not just hot arbitrary and meaningless numbers.
What to Measure
I find four numbers give you the opportunity to continuously leverage them to improve your sales approach and execution, and by extension your success.
- Deal size
- Proposal to Close
- Discovery to Proposal
- Initial meeting (live or virtual) to Discovery
To change any of the above, you will need to develop a strategy for change and improvement. As you implement the plan, you will be able to measure and review, and make changes based on the results. Numbers 1 & 4, will require you to change your territory and account planning, while challenging who you prospect and how. Number 3 & 4, forces you to examine and how well you can engage and help the client articulate how you can help and deliver value, and maintain focus, if not urgency.
These are tip of the iceberg things, the devil is in the detail, and the execution. We plug these into a proprietary tool that helps our clients develop improvement plans for their reps, based on real world inputs. This in turn allows them to plan specific improvement plans for individual reps, while still supporting a standard sales process. And what makes it work are the numbers.
Failing to focus on numbers in sales, always results in the number on your commission check decline or dwindle; but you don’t care cause sales is not a numbers game, and neither is your mortgage, right?