Sales Performance: Proven Strategies and Techniques
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Sales organizations put a lot of time and effort into getting their sales processes right. In return, a lot is asked of the sales team to generate revenue through selling and improve sales performance.
The phrase “good sales numbers” is subjective. What does it mean, and how is it proven? How can leadership effectively track sales performance to ensure they are on track?
In general, sales performance is how effectively the sales team reaches sales goals. There are different ways to quantify performance.
Sales performance metrics include revenue, customer acquisition rate, or time spent on sales activities like prospecting.
Hundreds of sales data points can be measured. The ones that sales managers choose to track over time can show sales metrics that prove a sales team’s success.
Sales performance management (SPM) is the process of overseeing and directing the performance of your company’s sales team. This includes:
The ultimate goal of SPM is to maximize the productivity and effectiveness of the sales operations and thus increase the long-term success of the company’s sales strategy.
When sales operations teams have actionable data that they can use to make informed decisions, it focuses on their business objectives and streamlines sales planning.
Whether you view Sales Performance Management as a science or an art form, it is essential for a business.
This becomes even more imperative when business complexity and competition increase.
And the rapid pace of technological advancement and automation means that a business may need to learn exactly where they stand in sales performance.
Different sales reps will have different strengths. A sales performance matrix must examine multiple key performance metrics.
Two general categories of measurements may be inspected for KPIs that relate to your sales performance.
Lagging indicators include your sales team’s actions, which is useful to show their track record and consistency in sales performance.
Some sales metrics that might be tracked include:
On the other hand, leading indicators look at current performance metrics to identify likely future accomplishments.
Some sales productivity measurements might include:
Leading indicators are useful because they help sales managers plan for the future. They may also help sales teams see the need to alter their sales strategy if it still needs to produce results.
Besides lagging and leading indicators, sales performance measurements can be filtered by the size of their focus.
Remember that the type of business or industry will highly influence the kinds of metrics that you will choose to observe.
For example, a subscription-based service company will track different things than an eCommerce business.
Some sales performance metrics tie the sales team’s overall performance to the sales organization’s growth and profitability.
Total revenue is the total sales generated across all products or services. Monitoring this number by location or specific item can indicate what products are selling and where.
That can be a useful measurement for setting revenue goals for a sales team.
Another beneficial metric is the number of new customers compared to existing ones, which can inform sales reps about where their company is growing.
If there is little growth in new customers, and this is where your company has historically received the bulk of its revenue stream, it may indicate that the sales pipeline needs to be examined.
Customer retention, especially when those customers purchase again, shows that the initial customer experience was positive.
If your client retention rate is low, it might indicate that you need help with customer turnover or dissatisfaction.
A second category of sales productivity metrics logs the activities of a sales department and its associated functions.
This measures the average value of customer accounts over a given period, such as yearly. This is particularly useful for subscription-based companies that sell their products with annual or multi-year contracts.
The entire team’s progress can be measured with this value. Large deal sizes may indicate good product development, maturity, and market penetration.
On the other hand, deals that are smaller than the average may be less lucrative in pursuing your overall sales success.
This measures the time it takes for a sale to be completed from the initial outreach to the sale closing.
Sales teams will want to work for the shortest sales cycle length. It would help if you realized that this value would vary based on product, customer type, and business industry.
Successful companies will want to track the percentage of leads converted into sales opportunities and eventually closed deals.
The best sales tracking frameworks, especially software-based or cloud-based solutions, can give insight into each step of this conversion process.
Key statistics might indicate how many customers are sitting in each stage of the sales funnel and how much movement is seen in a given time frame from one stage to the next.
Our third category of the best sales metrics a company can track focuses on sales reps’ performance – or possibly the entire sales team.
A sales rep may have a lot of client interactions sitting at different points in the sales process that has yet to reach a closed deal.
Tracking the total potential sales compared to sales reps’ quotas can show how healthy the pipeline coverage is.
Even though it is unrealistic to expect every customer interaction to result in a final purchase, this ratio can show whether sales representatives are on track to meet their sales goals.
This shows the percentage of sales reps that met or surpassed their sales quota. This can be a useful indicator to see how a sales team performs.
If the value is low, it might imply the need to adjust the goals established for sales reps.
It might show which salespeople are underperforming and would benefit from additional training.
The win rate measures how well a sales rep concludes the customer acquisition process with successful sales.
This is similar to a conversion rate but doesn’t look at a sales rep’s numbers over a specific time frame.
Countless data points can be tracked in measuring sales performance. Some focus on the company level, while others may drill down to the sales team or individual sales rep level.
Choose the right key performance indicators to populate your sales performance dashboard and work to maintain the factors that lead to high performance.
But, after you have identified the right numbers to follow, how do you improve sales performance across sales teams?
Sales leaders and reps can follow these suggestions to improve sales performance. Doing so can greatly impact the successful sales individual salespeople and the entire business enjoys.
Have a positive viewpoint as you sell for your business. When you approach your duties with the view that you won’t achieve your sales goals, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Visualize your success and remind yourself of why you got into sales in the first place.
Focus on the right task at the right time. If you don’t block out the appropriate time to organize yourself, you may suffer from inefficiency.
Sometimes your organization’s ability can be improved with help from other sales reps on your team. Seek out ideas to streamline your workflow, so your energy goes toward crushing your goals.
Every opportunity is a chance to improve yourself. This training may come from personal development or sales coaching to increase the sales department’s skills.
Document the skills that you gain over time. This way, you will stay motivated to keep improving yourself.
The onboarding process should be a prime way to gain skills for new hires at a company. But good sales managers know that this shouldn’t be the limit of training offered to sales reps.
Improving your weaknesses is a worthwhile goal. But if your focus is only on the negative, you will soon lose motivation.
Take the time to highlight the positive. When you or a teammate achieves a goal or makes a sale, celebrate.
This may push you to keep going, even in rough times.
Companies that supplement their sales processes with the proper environment in which to work will fare better.
Teams that are cohesive, helpful, and value a balanced work-life mentality will naturally have sales reps who are in a better situation to sell without distraction.
Often a low sales performance is the result of poor communication. Make check-ins with a sales manager a regular mission.
Be bold and ask for help regarding time management suggestions, motivation, or skill-building.
Besides giving attention to yourself, your methods, your peers, and your environment make sure that there is a focus on customer experience with your sales organization.
New leads become existing customers and then satisfied customers. But when potential clients need help interacting with your company, it can make them reluctant to close a deal.
Improving sales performance is the end goal of all sales strategies. How you attain this will depend on your industry and business goals.
Metrics that show what has already been done can reveal important trends. Tracking current activity will help to enhance sales performance in the future.
Key indicators of a team’s sales performance might include:
When these and other sales performance metrics are tracked and studied, it can place your sales team on an upward path.