The Sales Metrics You Should Be Looking At
Sales is a unique industry in the fact that the languages and sales metrics are different from company to company. No two companies do it the same way. We have even seen hugely different techniques and processes between people on the same team. And that makes the job very difficult to track and manage.
But unique verbiage across businesses is inevitable and understandable. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
This is meant to look at standardizing the right thing, sales metrics.
When first starting out in a small company, most Founders also act as salespeople. And fairly quickly, you start to see value in several different things that can happen on a call:
- A quick, time-saving no from an unqualified prospect,
- Disqualifying a crazy client who would end up being the one that everyone hates,
- Or, closing a deal.
But as the company grows, a Founder has too much on their plate to continue making those sales calls. So they hire a salesperson.
What happens with just about every client we work with when they bring on a new salesperson is that they shift to looking at only one metric: conversion. This was something that they were aware of when they were handling the calls, but the other values listed above were just as important then.
And then, for several different reasons, that changes when you hand over the task of taking those sales calls to somebody else. Because listening to every conversation is impossible, you start to only care about how many sales they are closing.
But those other metrics should still be just as important, if not more so, when you are looking to scale your sales past yourself. This new salesperson does not have the benefit of knowing what it was like dealing with that last client who was a bad fit; they weren’t around for it. So when this new prospect is giving off indicators left and right that they are also going to be trouble, your salesperson doesn’t see it.
Then the fulfillment side of the house has to deal with another client who is a bad fit.
So they blame the salesperson and break out the pitchforks.
But wait a second.
It isn’t the salesperson’s fault, it is actually the founder’s fault.
Most founders and owners don’t tell their salespeople what to look out for as far as a bad fit goes. That is problematic enough, but we are actually dealing with another problem.
You are holding them to a data point that doesn’t actually make sense.
You were proud of yourself for three different outcomes, remember?
- More time.
- GREAT fit.
- Getting paid.
You might still be saying that you are concerned about a good fit, but your actions imply otherwise.
There will always be a volume approach to sales, but the people who crush sales goals don’t spend time trying to hypnotize every prospect into a yes. They spend a lot of energy trying to save their time for the best prospects.
When they spend some time going for the no and disqualifying ill-fitting prospects, they can have more conversations to find the best fits for their company. But you take that option out of play when you only look at “closed deals” metrics as the indicator of success.
As the founder, you stopped taking bad clients as soon as you realized that they were more hurtful to your business than they were helpful.
Your salespeople need to be able to do the same thing.
But how do accomplish that?
First, you develop a standard or process for disqualifying bad clients. Make sure that it is a process that you can communicate and share, and one where everybody on your team can be on the same page about it.
Then, come up with a way of assessing the quality of each sales conversation ONE STOP SHORT of a yes or a no from the prospect. Grade your salespeople on the quality of the call, not the end result. Those sales metrics help to create an environment that allows them to see the value in bringing in the right clients and keeping the bad ones away.
You want your salespeople to thrive just as much as you want your business to grow. Looking at these sales metrics and having a process will make hiring new salespeople easier. They’ll know what is expected and how to get there. And every salesperson will have the same rulebook to follow, which makes tracking their data much easier. It’s about standardizing and holding everybody to the same realistic expectations.
But even more than that, creating a culture that empowers salespeople to wait for good clients makes everybody’s lives easier. The fulfillment side of your business will have an easier time with the right clients, and the salespeople won’t have the pressure of always having to close, close, close. And you will be able to trust that everybody is on the same page about what is best for the business as a whole.