IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

How WAS Next Quarter?

It takes solid sales metrics to predict future results.

No, I am not using bad grammar. I worded the title of this article deliberately to emphasize that most sales managers can’t predict the future results of their team’s current efforts because very few managers have documented, defined, and metrically managed processes in place. Without metrics, it’s impossible to calculate or predict future results.

All sales activities convert with some ratio into results. Simply stated, there is a mathematic relationship between all activities and the results those activities produce. For instance, if a sales team produces no first meetings (either by phone or face to face), then that team will produce no first orders, or if they do, those orders will occur based only on luck and happenstance.

Conversely, if the team produces one hundred first meetings and the proven, managed metrics show that ten percent of first meetings convert into first orders within 90 days, then that manager has the ability to predict his/her future to some degree.

The manager who doesn’t manage with metrics is forced to be what I refer to as a cheerleader. He or she attempts to motivate the team through coercion, encouragement, and/or the occasional training session.

But without metrics you don’t really know what to coach. Is the problem first meetings? Is it the inability of the salesperson to qualify first meetings into good funnel opportunities? Or, is it the inability of the salesperson to negotiate and close? Without metrics, all you can do is encourage that man or woman to “sell smarter” or “sell harder”—or employ the old standby cliché to “make more calls”.

I believe that the absence of repeatable, scalable sales processes is the perpetual burden placed on sales-driven teams. To break this cycle, I suggest that you document your current sales process. Measure and benchmark your current situation. How many first meetings does your average salesperson record? How many quotes does he or she publish? What percentage of quotes converts into orders?

An even more important question is: What is your current process? All salesforces have a process in place from beginning to end. Very few have documented that process, so everything gets to be sort of gray. I refer to this phenomenon as “funnel blindness”. All sales managers know how many leads go into the funnel and all sales managers know how many transactions come out of the funnel, but very few sales managers have 20/20 visibility on what’s going on in the funnel.

Without this visibility, once again, you can’t be a coach; you can only be a cheerleader. Take a hard look at how you’re managing your team. I encourage you to develop and deploy repeatable and scalable sales processes. The improvement in your top and bottom line will be dramatic. Additionally, you and your team will rest better, as the team that can predict what their future results will be is the team that operates with lower or no stress whatsoever.

As always, I wish you…

Good Luck and Good Selling!!!

About the Author

Gil Cargill's picture

GIL CARGILL is a sales acceleration coach at Cargill Consulting Group Inc. He has spent the past 40 years as a consultant, speaker, and trainer helping thousands of businesses achieve dramatic and permanent improvements in sales productivity. Cargill has taught salespeople across diverse industries the importance of developing sales processes, the advantages of implementing new technology, and the benefits of tracking sales performance.

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