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Measuring What Matters

Yesterday, we compared managers to doctors. Today, let’s look at the seller side of the annual meeting or one-on-one. With new sellers, measuring activity is a worthwhile pursuit, but as they grow and improve, the shift from measuring activities to measuring results must occur or you will have a frustrated bunch of sellers. Here are some common things in the sales process that we measure: Dials. Measuring the dials of an experienced seller is insulting. Do you really care how many times they dialed the phone? I can dial a phone 180 times an hour as long as nobody answers.

Diagnostic appointments. Would you rather sellers fill up their calendar with cold calls, or do a third of the number of calls but make them smart calls — prepared pre-planned and purposeful calls? They’ll get better results with better planning.

Presentations. Here’s why measuring the number of presentations is silly. Consider two sellers. One makes 15 presentations asking for $500 orders each time. He closes 20%. Seller number two makes five presentations, each asking for $50,000 and she too closes 20%. If you’re measuring the number of appointments, seller number one wins. Seller number one sold $1,500 with his 15 presentations. Seller number two sold $50,000 with her five appointments. So, who’s the real winner?

With experienced sellers, it’s more about the quality of the appointments than quantity that matters most.

I was as guilty as any, but as managers, when WE have a problem meeting OUR number, we slip into measuring the minutia mode with every seller, regardless of how they’re doing. We think if they make more dials, appointments and presentations, it will solve OUR problem. A seller whose “vital signs” are good is not your problem. It’s the seller who’s not healthy and not performing based on the vitals who are the problem. Often the solution is VOLUME; you need more sellers.

Manager or seller, there are only two ways to grow your billing. Get more from the people on your team/list or get new/additional people on your team/list. Usually, it’s a combination of both.

I believe that sellers want to grow their personal income. Who wouldn’t? I’ve never met a corporate executive who wishes that they could do less than last year. The good news is these two desires are not conflicting. The more a seller makes, the more they are billing. The focus of the manager should be on helping sellers increase their income, and the rest will take care of itself.

Salespeople by nature are independent types. They want to be left alone to perform their craft. If they are growing, hitting goals, exceeding the last year and getting positive feedback from repeat customers, what more do we really need to look at?

Help your sellers reach THEIR financial goals and have enough sellers on your team; that’s how to exceed your budget. Force high-performing sellers to track things like dials, contacts, appointments and presentations, and you’ll get made-up numbers. I know I did. Measure the results they are achieving and help them achieve more because they want more, and you’ll have more productive and engaging meetings. You’ll be able to actually coach and help improve performance rather than getting bogged down in measuring the minutia.

Coaching to help improve performance — isn’t that why we do what we do as managers?

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB