Blog

by Jeremy Boudinet
on April 11, 2016

9 Ways to Maximize Sales Metrics

This is a guest blog post by Jeremy Boudinet, Director of Marketing at Ambition. It covers a topic from Ambition’s most recent ebook, “2016 Sales Performance Index.” Ambition provides software that drives KPIs for sales, marketing and account management teams.

You love the idea of tracking and broadcasting daily, weekly, and long-term targets for your marketing. But you don’t want to come across as Big Brother.

It’s a reasonable concern. Instituting daily sales goals creates a visceral impact on your sales team.

Depending on the circumstances in your sales force, a great number of your sales reps most likely find your current sales benchmarks:

  • Threatening
  • Aggravating
  • Unreasonable
  • Productivity-depleting
  • Disconnected from success

It’s hard to tell which of these feelings a sales manager would least prefer – though the latter two are certainly a bad sign and warrant the need for a major process audit.

With that said, it’s important (and easy) to set up daily sales goals in a way that proves helpful, rather than harmful, to your sales culture and team mentality.

Think about it like Google Maps. Turn by turn directions + progress tracking = confidence in reaching your destination.

The Daily Sales Goals Playbook

The following Daily Sales Goal Playbook has everything you need to know to about creating daily sales goals.

We’ve broken the playbook into 9 parts. If executed properly, your revenue stands to benefit greatly.

1) Choosing Sales Goals

It goes without saying that this part of the process is by far the most involved, arduous and strategic on your end.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that can help.

Colleen Francis’s article on sales goal setting fundamentals and Vantage Point Performance’s authoritative treatise on all things sales goals are excellent spirit guides, from a sales and account management perspective.

2) Tailoring By Role

The operative word here is synthesis.

Ideally, daily sales goals should connect, synthesize and streamline the different parts of your pipeline. Which brings us to key “aside” here:

If you’re reading this section and the activities don’t jump out at you – you really need to spend some time thinking about the process/goals – because if you as the sales leader don’t know, then your reps certainly have no clear idea of how to navigate their daily path to success.

Keep that top of mind as you choose the key metrics and benchmarks to codify for each role.

A young software company, for example, may follow the classic SaaS sales team structure Tomasz Tunguz outlines below.

In this example, Tomasz cites a distinct key sales metric for each role.

A set of daily sales goals for each position would include the key sales metric itself, plus the activities most critical to hitting the daily sales goal.

As an example: A typical SaaS Business Development Team’s key sales metric is Sales Qualified Leads.

A daily SQL goal, plus 3 additional activity goals like total dials, total touches and prospect connections gives that role 4 daily sales goals on which to focus.

In your sales team, start with the top-priority sales metric of each role and work your way down to include 3 or 4 activity metrics.

Cover every role and voila, you’re ready to start codifying daily sales goals.

3) Codifying Sales Goals

Proper sales goals codification is not merely telling everyone what the benchmarks are. Nor is it putting them in writing somewhere they’ll never be seen.

Codification means putting the benchmarks – all of them – on prominent display. As our friends at the Harvard Business Review have noted, that is how you create an elite sales team.

And that’s the mentality any sales team worth its weight in salt will strive for.

4) Visualizing Sales Goals

We tackled this topic extensively in Best Practices for Graphing Sales Metrics.

Read the latter article for an in-depth look at the most powerful ways to visualize sales goals and compel sales motivation.

Adding powerful data visuals to daily sales goals unlocks new reservoirs of motivation. It perpetuates sales motivation on a day-to-day basis.

5) Recognition

Timely, public and passionate recognition for meeting daily sales goals is the ultimate way to give reps a positive feedback loop associated with their goals.

In the alternative, sales managers should privately issue reprimands and conduct one-to-one discussion with those who consistently fall short of their daily sales goals.

The more powerful your positive recognition, the better you’ll reinforce commitment to daily sales goals. By contrast, the best deterrent to team member apathy toward daily sales goals is the feeling of missing out. Prevailing research confirms that recognition, alongside commission, remains the strongest motivator for salespeople.

6) Auditing Sales Goals

This is a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. You should make your audit a part of your sales team performance reviews.

In doing so, you’ll be able to get honest, blunt feedback, which you can then weigh against the numbers to help make your ultimate assessment.

Really, you should treat a benchmark audit as part of a greater audit over your entire sales process.

Case in point: A SaaS company conducts an audit and found that C-Level prospect outreach cut sales cycle time in half.

Should a change to the codified outreach process – from Director-Level to the C-Level – have an impact on sales benchmarks?

You’re right it should. It’s much easier to get a Director-Level person on the phone, much less in a meeting, than a C-Level person. So if you choose to refactor the process to target C-Level, make a corresponding adjustment to reduce the daily sales goal for meetings set.

This is how you use sales benchmarks to not only enforce your existing sales process, but augment the inevitable changes you make as it evolves over time.

7) Revising Sales Goals

Just like the previous example, from time to time you will need to shift KPI focus or adjust targets

The easiest way to make revisions painless as possible is to do the work on the front-end to ensure it’s an open, collaborative process.

You want a smooth transition, not an abrupt change of pace the reps don’t see coming.

Even if they disagree with the adjustments you end up making, the reps will respect the process (and you as a manager) more if you maintain a dialogue and let them know up front to expect adjustments.

Another key point – think of sales goal setting as a science. There are no failures, only experiments.

Don’t be dogmatic, and let your reps know that sales benchmarking is, like fitness, a journey.

Perfection is an impossibility and the only thing determinant of success is the change in profits resulting from each experiment.

8) Granting Exceptions

Certain members of your team may be better off with a slight variation to your codified process.

Soliciting continuous feedback and opening your door to rep requests for variations to their daily sales goals is an important best practice for managers.

While you shouldn’t always grant these requests, you should always listen.

Example: Performance data shows that a sales rep is far more effective in connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn than email and has made a good faith effort to comply with the process.

Assess the numbers, meet with that person and figure out whether to authorize or decline the variance. Or more importantly – utilize the data to see if this is another new activity that can be incorporate into your broader sales process for the team.

9) Add Fun Dynamics

Daily sales goals may be sentinels of business success, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them.

In fact, you should be. Daily sales goals are a great way to open rep networks in a large sales team. The more social you make the data visualization, the better.

Mix in ridiculous metrics like bicep curls. Run a physical fitness contest parallel to your next sales contest. It worked for us.

To learn more about sales metrics that matter, register for our free webinar with Ambition.

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