It’s that time when I suggest resolutions and plans for sales success in the coming year. My advice for salespeople is to begin 2017 with a passion for performance statistics, with performance being the key word.
Common sales measurement focus emphasis sales results without a game plan for measuring performance. That’s like a football coach measuring points on the scoreboard without equipping performers with a playbook. My advice for 2017 is to align managers and salespeople with a game plan that measures the performance statistics which link to future results.
1. Start by counting your sales calls. Inexplicably salespeople reject the accountability of this simple and valuable statistic. The number of sales calls an outside representative should make has been debated for years. I’m pretty convinced that a solid performer at an LBM or one-step dealer should easily make between 20 and 30 calls per week. My simple advice for salespeople is to a) count the number of sales calls and b) make one extra prospecting call per day before heading back to the office.
The link to future results: One extra call each day will invariably lead to more opportunities in your pipeline. While we’re at it…
2. Recommit to a prospecting pipeline. Most salespeople and managers believe the key to sales growth is improved closing ratios. I have conducted an extensive study on the subject and discovered that the difference between the closing ratios of top performers and mediocre ones is very small. It’s much like the difference between baseball all-stars versus middling baseball players. All-stars get 150 hits in 500 at bats while the middling player gets only 125. The middling player would need an additional 125 at bats to equal the hit total of the all-star, but unfortunately is not empowered to cram the extra at bats into the season.
Unlike baseball players, salespeople have a choice to pack more opportunities (e.g., at bats) into their pipelines. This is why it’s so important to make the extra call every day. More attempts at a fixed closing ratio means more sales at that established ratio. In other words, working “smarter” might simply mean working harder. My advice is to prospect between seven and 10 times the sales growth you plan to achieve in 2017.
The link to future results: If you prospect abundantly and get 10 to 15% closing ratios, you’ll hit your sales target. If you discover your ratios are different, then you’ll be more prepared in 2018!
3. Count the number of contacts in your rolodex. This is an essential measurement of success in business. It’s been such a clear predictor of sales success for clients that my new Building Results CRM makes this one of four primary dashboard statistics. Take no names for granted, because the staff assistant and inside sales reps of today will be the general managers and sales vice presidents of tomorrow.
The link to future results: More contacts means a pipeline of future talent, marketing opportunities, and networking power.
Instead of seeing statistics as a “reporting to the boss” nuisance, recognize their power in performance observation and communication. My career mission is to bridge the communication gap between sales managers and performers. There is no better way to create a winning team formula than a mutual commitment to performance statistics that link to future results. It’s a great way to launch your 2017 sales campaign starting now.