Making the decision to get better at something takes some guts. And frankly, so does tracking KPIs.
You have to look at the things you’re doing wrong or not doing well enough. And you have to come face-to-face with your flaws and gaps in knowledge.
That’s why most salespeople refuse to track their numbers. All of their numbers, not just how many deals they close or how much money they have in the bank.
Let’s face it. How many salespeople track the number of conversations they have a week or how many follow-ups and touch-ins they do a month? Not enough. And it’s a salesperson’s version of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.
It’s also a sign that a salesperson is content about never improving.
But you’re here, and you don’t want to be that salesperson. Chances are, you already know tracking KPIs is important for improvement; you just don’t know where to start.
Improvement Starts with Tracking KPIs
Think about the universal goal so many people have: losing weight.
Humans are naturally idealists when it comes to themselves.
So even when they are trying to better themselves, they tend to ignore things that don’t fit in with their self-image.
That means that they don’t track exactly how many calories they eat a day or how long they exercise.
Some won’t even track their weight or measurements.
Obviously, if they’re not tracking their KPIs, such as eating 1400 calories a day or getting on the treadmill five times a week at medium intensity, they’ll struggle to lose weight.
But when they do track these things, they begin to lose weight.
This process includes a lot more than just losing weight. You can set steps for training for a marathon or track website KPIs to make sure it’s doing what you want it to do.
It’s the same in sales.
Tracking KPIs in Sales
You might be hitting your quota every month, but it’s a sweat. Or you’d like to be blowing it out of the water and bringing in a higher paycheck.
It’s hard to figure out how to accomplish that if you don’t know how you’re reaching the numbers you’re already hitting.
Before you know what you’re looking at, you need a baseline.
Look at each step of your process and make a spreadsheet. Or, even better, add each step to your CRM.
What to Track
Start tracking all of your KPIs and everything else!
- Cold calls
- New leads
- Follow-ups for both closed and unclosed deals
- Every phone call, meeting, or email to prospects and clients
- Reasons for why a prospect said no
- Objections raised during discovery conversations
Even track the tasks you need to complete before and in between these interactions, such as research on the prospect or questions you didn’t immediately have an answer for.
Finally, you should also track how many prospects you have in your pipeline and how long each sales process step takes. If it takes you two weeks to remember to follow up with a prospect, that might not be something you realize until you track it each time.
At this point, though, it’s not about changing your process or improving your numbers. You need to know what you’ve been doing so that you can see what you can do better.
That’s the name of the game, getting better. Tracking KPIs will get you there.
How to Improve
Once you have a baseline, you’ll be able to visualize what happens in each stage of your sales process when clients either move forward or drop off.
This data will show you what you need to do more of or what gaps you need to close.
For example, if you lose contact with a large percentage of clients after sending your proposal, you might be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. Either you’re not asking for next steps, or you’re not sending it or following up quickly enough.
It’s not just about KPIs; you also have enough information to start tracking your numbers.
Let’s say the average salesperson in your industry or company moves roughly 45% of their prospects into the ‘Meeting Set’ stage in their CRM every week. But you’re only moving 20%.
That clearly shows that you aren’t making enough phone calls each day, or you need to change your sales conversation strategy.
(For a more in-depth explanation, take a look at my book, Selling From Scratch.)
Once you start tracking KPIs and numbers, all of the data you need will show you where to improve.
All On Your Own
These days, some sales managers or business owners hold salespeople accountable for key sales metrics that include a lot more than just the number of deals they close.
When you’re tracking every part of your sales process, they see the proof that you’re working hard to bring in the most qualified clients and close the best deals.
But sales culture won’t change overnight, and most managers and owners will only track what is easiest and has the most immediate impact on profit.
That means it’s on you, the salesperson, to track each step of your sales process. Assuming you want to improve, that is.
Becoming a More Successful Salesperson
One of the worst things about sales culture is that training (beyond product knowledge and company policies) often doesn’t exist. Salespeople are expected just to know how to sell. This leads them to believe that they’ve either got it or they don’t.
If you’re in the camp that thinks you’ve got it, you might not think you need to track KPIs or improve. But you’d be wrong.
If you think you don’t have what it takes, you’re probably on your way out of the industry anyway. But don’t do it; you can get better!!!
You can read tons of books, take seminars, and learn everything you can about improving your communication skills to sell easier. And you will improve. Eventually.
But tracking and analyzing your KPIs will give you a shortcut towards that improvement. You can read books about how to cold call all day. Unfortunately, cold calling isn’t the problem if you have a full pipeline with deals that consistently fall apart.
Don’t waste your time, and don’t stick your head in the sand. Start tracking KPIs, look for areas of improvement, and get better.