Setting Core Targets
Success in Sales means taking stock of your performance across multiple metrics
If you’ve come this far in sales, you’ll already have covered how important the right mindset is, and how we can learn lessons from Formula1 Race Directors when it comes to establishing a successful approach to sales.
Getting The Big Picture
There’s something we need to bear in mind at this stage: the sales process is not just about delivering on a single sale, it’s about successfully managing both your time and your client portfolio to deliver a profitable and growing revenue stream.
We know that you won’t be able to manage this effectively for yourself unless you’re measuring your performance in all areas. It gives you the opportunity to see what you’re doing well, and what areas of your business you’re finding more challenging.
If you’re struggling to meet your revenue ambitions, it may be that there’s simply a particular area of your business that needs to improve – perhaps there’s not enough new customers coming in the door, or there’s a particular objection you’re finding hard to handle, or you’re not managing to negotiate the best price possible.
Establishing Shared Benchmarks
Don’t be afraid to set and communicate these targets to others – both inside and outside your business if it helps. It doesn’t matter that we sometimes fail, what matters is that we understand what we are trying to do and commit ourselves to improving.
Targets should always be shared with your colleagues and management team if you have one – they may be able to demonstrate where they have a few tricks that would help both you and perhaps an entire sales team to build their performance.
If you are working in a team, it can also be a good pointer at where your managers can help you most.
Some of these targets should be qualitative – meaning they apply to underlying themes, styles or approaches – and some of these are quantitative – meaning they apply to specific numbers.
Think about whether you can set yourself targets and expectations in all the following areas (and your colleagues and managers should have them too!).
Building a Foundation
Let’s look at your initial approach.
Appearance can be best measured by giving yourself a dress code. Whilst this sounds proscriptive, in fact it’s just a constant reminder about how other people perceive you. It’s a truism that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the fact is that people do, and we should dress accordingly.
This doesn’t mean that dressing smartly means better revenues (although it often does), it’s that the way you dress should reflect your customer’s perception of authority and credibility in your business area. You won’t be able to make this decision on your own, so ask the opinions of others and act as a group.
Set yourself a golden set of rules covering your attitude and approach. Whilst we covered a lot of these in the first video, you shouldn’t be afraid to set your own. Create a wall chart that illustrates them and put them in a place where they will be in constant view at all time.
It will help you sustain constant idea of who you are and how your company represents itself to your customers, and will also ensure that everyone in your company knows what you expect of each other at all times.
Looking Beyond Revenue
Performance targets are more specific.
Telephone call rate targets help you get an idea of how your business is sustaining its outreach to new customers. We all find it easy to focus on the current business, but too much focus on them can leave you with a dead patch when they don’t need you.
We call telephone call rates ‘feeding the pipeline’ because however successful your business is, you need to keep putting new leads into the system to keep converting new business at the other end.
Coverage of your potential client base is a key metric. The world keeps turning, and your key customers today will have moved on tomorrow, whilst customers you never thought were important may be your best customers next year.
Even if you think you’ve nailed the model, keep prospecting with new clients just to make sure they know you’re there.
Start with Engagement
Meetings generated is a good measure of customer engagement. Whilst high meeting rates themselves don’t tell you anything, the majority of your customers won’t sign big cheques to people they’ve only encountered over the phone or email.
Proposals made measures your ability to generate new ideas that actually meet customer needs. It’s important that you don’t make proposals unless you understand your customer needs, and that they are actually interested in seeing them, otherwise you’ll simply be generating pointless work.
Conversion rate will then give you an idea of what proposals are actually meeting your customer needs. Low conversion rates mean that many of your proposals are falling to customers who aren’t interested, and it points to problems higher up the chain.
Defining a Return on Investment
It often takes the same effort to get low value deals closed as it does the larger ones, so gross revenue will give you an idea if you are focusing on delivering the right levels of deals to customers who can invest the most.
Yield will give you an average revenue per deal and gross profit will measure whether your deals are actually making profit for the company. If you’re losing money on every deal, then you won’t be improving the fortunes of your business, but driving it into the ground.
Accountability and up to date records are simply a measure of whether you are achieving the goals you set in your initial plan, and whether you are making them transparent to others.
Whilst you don’t want to create an unnecessary administrative workload, if you don’t feel willing to be accountable it is often because you’re not proud of your performance or you’re worried what the figures may say.
Either way, this is a cause for concern, so even if you’re working on your own as opposed to being part of a team, do your records, keep your paperwork up to date, and be the rational successful sales person that we know will win the day.
Tracking these targets should equip with all the skills necessary to deliver great performance in all of these areas, and ensure you gain substantial rewards and a high-flying and accelerating career.