We all know the story. A new salesperson is hired, they start hitting targets quickly, your clients love them, they come in early, leave late and generally storm through the job.
Then, comes the dip…
The key issue with holding salespeople accountable over extended time periods is simple. Data; or rather lack of it. There are a number of techniques that can be employed but many of them are ineffective and out of date. In this article you’ll find a valuable resource for methods to avoid, why to avoid them and strategies for keeping salespeople accountable.
Tracking Sales Closed or Revenue Generated
These are undoubtedly the easiest metrics to track and that’s the key reason so many people use them. It may seem counterintuitive, but this method is completely unreliable. Number of sales closed may be the most important part of your sales funnel but, without the stages that come before, it would never exist in the first place.
For example, you may have thought somebody was goofing around, but actually they were a keen member of your sales staff, giving it their all, getting on the phone, booking appointments in sitting face-to-face with more prospects than anyone. Without monitoring other parts of the sales funnel, you may have considered giving them a hard time for being lazy when in fact, a little more training is what’s needed.
Key takeaway: Don’t rely on sales figures alone to gauge efforts and performance. It might be mission-critical but it’s only a fraction of the picture, so make sure you’re monitoring time on the phone, calls made, appointments booked an appointments completed so you know where to take action.
Self Reporting Methods
I’ve got an unfortunate newsflash for you. Salespeople simply cannot be expected to do self reporting accurately and consistently. Self reported data in sales comes in many forms including report cards, some kind of manual input software such as is available on Salesforce or even simply writing up a note in an email to be sent to the manager at the end of the day.
After the initial burst of enthusiasm, it’s painfully easy for salespeople to become complacent and nagging or attempting to micromanage your staff will only serve to increase the level of inaccuracy in addition to damaging your relationship.
Key takeaway: Don’t rely on self reporting methods. They’re inaccurate, take away valuable time that could be spent speaking with prospects or booking appointments and no amount of nagging will help the situation. Consider some kind of automated tracking software and make your office a happier place by getting rid of such detrimental micromanagement.
Using some kind of daily conference call is all too tempting, especially these days as it’s so much easier with free Internet telecoms software such as Skype. Sadly, conference calls are simply ineffective in sales accountability. Hiding behind a telephone call full of other voices will never help salespeople live up to their full potential and it will never give you an accurate idea of what’s going on with your sales team.
Key takeaway: Sales meetings should be done daily and on a face-to-face basis. Just like you’d want to train an enthusiastic person who wasn’t closing sales by joining them on an appointment in person, you should hold meetings in the flesh so you can see people and their actions, responses and engagement.