Sales Leadership | Everything you need to know about Sales KPIs

Sales Leadership KPIs

If you’re in Sales Leadership, you’ve probably heard the saying “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

It’s very true.  You can’t manage what you can’t see.  As a leader who’s expected to deliver results, sales managers  and business owners need to make sure they carefully select some meaningful KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

But before too long, you find you have 50 things to manage, some of which your CRM can’t produce reports on any more.  And how many of them were once requested by the Finance Director who now doesn’t need to know anymore?  Not to mention your sales team are increasingly aware that the number of plates they’re expected to spin is growing, which is confusing and causes the side-effects of another famous saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”

So I’m going to try and help you streamline your KPIs to just the things which make a difference to the performance of your sales team.

What are the main benefits of having KPIs?

  1. It’s easier to spot trends and opportunities for growth
  2. They highlight capability issues in your team so you can adopt the right training
  3. They also highlight variances in the drive and determination of your team
  4. It gives you a transparent platform for recognising great performance, and offering rewards
  5. You’ll feel more in control with consistent KPI tracking

Activity – Volume (or how hard do the team try?)

How many calls or meetings do your sales team do?

You’ll need this by each individual as well as for the team as a whole. You’ll also want to be able to look at specific weeks or months to spot trends over time.  Think about showing results as a comparison to the average for the team, or the average for the month.  Also think about setting a benchmark to help you make incremental gains over time.

Make sure that every individual inputs accurately into your CRM system – salespeople are notoriously bad at this so look out for errors.

Activity – Duration (or how engaging do your customers find your sales team?)

How much time do your sales team spend engaged in customer conversations?

If you have people who sell on the phone, you’ll need a telecoms provider who can report on the number of minutes spent on calls.  Think about how long a call needs to be before it qualifies as an engaging call – 10 seconds is likely a ‘no thank you’, 3 minutes is enough for the customer to have been asked a few questions, 10 minutes is a good conversation and any longer than that is a really good sign you’re making great connections with customers.

Think about how long it takes to wait in a call tree.  Consider staff who call their friends to grow their call time! (I’ve seen this done many times).

Sales Leadership KPis to Measure

Conversion (or how good at selling are your team?)

How likely are your sales team to convert a sale?

This is a great metric for helping you to identify training needs.  Maybe your entire team don’t need a refresher training course on consultative selling – it may just be one person.  Either way, this will help you address performance variance where training is the cause.

Depending on the stages of your sales process, you may need to break down the tracking of conversion rates.  For example, if you have an appointment maker who works on the phone, their sale is to sell the appointment.  The person who does the appointment is responsible for the sale.  You’ll want to know whether they convert in one appointment or two.  Or does it take a follow up phone call to get the sale over the line?

You’ll need to track conversions for each salesperson, plus think about what the benchmark needs to be i.e. is it a comparison to each other or the team average?

Do you have different conversion rate benchmarks for different products? You’ve probably got some products which are far easier to sell that others.  Think about how you might differentiate between the products and services that your sales team are responsible for.

Average Value of a Sale

Do you have sales staff who excel in high value sales?  But others who only sell what’s on offer?  Or they ask for a discount?

This metric can help you understand which of your sales people can sell multiple products in one sale.  Plus you might identify pricing issues or skill issues.  Again think about the benchmark you’re using – it should probably be a comparison to the team average.

Customer Satisfaction

Every business should measure how satisfied their customers are.  It’s no good having sales people who can convert sales at high values if the customer is telling you that they found the sales experience disappointing.

Do you actively seek customer feedback?  Where do you record it?  Do you measure feedback given against the individual salesperson or is it general?

Think about how you use Online Reviews and whether customers willingly offer you Referrals to their family and friends.

It’s easy to over-complicate this part with hefty surveys and competitions.  My advice is keep it simple.  Could it be as straightforward as asking the manager to put in 5 random customer service calls per month to gain some insightful feedback?

Pulling it all together

If you’re unsure about how to create some meaningful reports, ask your accountant to help you.  You’ll also need to make sure your CRM system offers you the ability to input the necessary numbers, as well as an easy suite of reports to extract the information you need from the back end.

The most important thing to do when compiling and tracking KPIs is to get buy-in from your sales team.  Explain to them why you’re looking to track their performance figures, explain the required performance levels and comparisons and get their feedback. They probably know your CRM better than you do (as they’re using it everyday), and it’s highly likely they know how to play the system so make sure you think about fairness and consistency.

If you intend to use KPIs in your team’s Personal Objectives, and I’d always advise you do, then get HR involved so they can help draw up the most appropriate paperwork for you.

Thanks for reading – hope it was useful.

If you’d like some advice on Sales Strategy, then Momentum South West can help.  We work with clients to build a sales strategy for them which delivers growth for their business.  We consult every step of the way and can train out new strategies to staff.  Our sales training and coaching gets five star reviews so if it’s an increase in sales results that you’re looking for, get in touch here.

We offer a free consultation too, so let’s make a start.

2 ways (guaranteed) to dig your business out of a rut

Communication Skills Devon

I’m sure you know exactly what I mean by ‘business rut’.  We’ve probably all been there.  A fog has come down over your strategy.  You know something needs to change but you can’t see the wood for the trees.  The hamster wheel just keeps on turning and you want to get off?

“if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

So here are the 2 things that are guaranteed to re-energise, sharpen your focus and dig you out of your business rut.

1. Spend time with your Customers

Mix it up between customers who’ve bought from you previously as well as customers who are still in the buying process.  By making courtesy calls, or better still, inviting them for a coffee or bite to eat, you show that you care and want to understand what engaging with your business is really like from their perspective.  They will tell you things that you didn’t realise – we often get so close to our business that it’s difficult to be objective.

Ask for honest feedback on what improvements you could make in the business.  You will most definitely come out of the experience with new ideas and clarity on how the business can climb to greater heights.

2. Spend time with your Staff

Ok so you might think that you do this already, but I’m suggesting real quality time.  Invite your key team members for dinner one evening, or start the day with a team breakfast.  The key to making this time different to the normal time you spend together, is how open and honest you are.

My advice would be to share exactly how you feel – explain that things are just ticking along right now, and you feel as though the business might be in a rut.  But most importantly, explain that you need their help to identify key change initiatives.  You need them to share thoughts and ideas on how to accelerate business growth.  They’ll be sure to tell you about any systems and process that are less than perfect.  They’ll also have ideas on how to improve  customer service and engagement.  They might even have ideas for new products and services that they feel are in demand.

They’ll love your honesty and respect you for it.  You’ll gain their complete buy-in to the new plans that you make.  A stronger team will be born.

Best of luck…. Hope you found this useful.

Find out more about Business Coaching here.

Handle pressure like a superstar!

handle pressure
Are you aware of how you handle pressure?

We all handle pressure differently don’t we; some of us find a bit of pressure quite motivational, whilst others feel the weight of the world coming down on our shoulders.

Here’s a few things which might help you spot the times when you need to handle pressure.  Plus a few tips on how you might handle it positively….

Self-awareness.  Know your triggers for pressure.

What happens to you under pressure, both physically and mentally?  How does the feeling of being under pressure manifest itself?  For example, do you suffer interrupted sleep or go off your food?  Does your concentration waiver and you find yourself gazing into space?  Or do you become a busy fool running round the office trying to do everything but actually achieve very little?

Whatever your individual triggers are for becoming aware that pressure is mounting, you need to be self-aware.  Think about yours now and write them down.  You may even want to discuss them with people close to you so that they can add any observations they might be aware of.  Pressure affects everyone.

Stand back and take a moment.

So, you’ve become self-aware and spotted that pressure is building up.  Take a breather.  Stop.  Stand back.  Watch yourself as if you’re having one of those out-of-body experiences.  What do you look like?  What advice would you give yourself?  Focus in on what really needs to happen to alleviate the cause for the pressure.  Not the peripheral things, the real core of the issue.  What is it?

Find a rock and trusted ear.

Ok so now you’re aware of the way pressure is showing up in your life and you’ve taken a moment to focus on the core issues.  Now you need to find someone to share it with.  Don’t take the burden all on your own shoulders.  The person you choose, should be somebody that you trust to give you clear, unbiased advice, even if it’s something that you don’t want to hear.  Someone honest, who cares about you.  When you’ve decided who it is, pick up the phone and invite them for a coffee.  Chat it through, and ask for help and support.  Don’t be shy, don’t feel like a drain on their time – remember they care about you and will undoubtedly want to help you.

Take action.

You’ve now done everything you need to do to release the pressure, other than the critical task of taking action.  Your rock has given you food for thought and you’ve talked through what your next steps should be.  Maybe you now need some expert advice, for example, like meeting the bank or the accountant.  Or maybe the action involves other people you work with and you need to discuss the next actions with them.  Or it might just be up to you now.

Whatever the action needed is, take the steps, even if they are baby ones.  Keep a note of what you’re doing so you can check progress.  And the biggest thing to remember is… give yourself the praise you deserve for overcoming your challenges.  Pat your wonderful self on the back, raise a glass and remind yourself that pressure creeps up on all of us, but you’ve handled it like a true star.

Best of luck 🙂

 

 

Manager to Leader – How to Make the Change

Leadership blog

Have you been a manager for a while now?  Or just recently promoted?  Either way, it’s such a rewarding job to support a team by taking the reigns and being personally responsible for the actions and outcomes of everybody in the team.

The early days of management

I don’t know about you, but when I first moved from being a field sales rep to being the manager of the team, I made every mistake in the book.  Literally, every single one, I’m sure of it.  I tried to do everything myself.  I tried to think for people. My vision of utopia was building a team of mini-me.  Luckily I was saved by a wise old owl (a wonderful man called Tony) who taught me there was a different way to manage people.  And it was a much better way….

Introducing the concept of Leadership as opposed to Management.

Management is about getting things done.  It’s task focussed and as the name suggests, it eludes to a ‘safe pair of hands’ to simply manage the task that needs performing.

Leadership is bigger than the task, it’s broader than just getting an objective delivered.  People follow a leader, but they work for a manager.

Leader Manager

How to go from being a Manager, to being a Leader…..

Stop telling the team what to do and how to do it.

It doesn’t mean you can’t influence, but you do need to influence through coaching and empowerment.  Inspire the action, don’t demand it.

Share you and your values.

Be personal (not too much).  There’s no place for the corporate stiff-upper-lip style of leader anymore.  Be you.  Share your values and stay true to them.

Show empathy.

Consider the impact of your leadership on others.  How will the team feel?  In what ways can you tailor your style to suit each individual in the team?  Before rolling out a big new initiative, think things through with empathy.

Respect others’ time.

Don’t make immediate demands on people.  Give advance notice of deadlines. Share meeting agendas in plenty of time.  Allow people the time to think and prepare.

Be authentic.  Operate with integrity.

We all know that the leader sometimes has to do and say things they don’t always want to.  But stay true to who you are.  Stay true to your values.

Truly understand your people.

Know their strengths and their motivators.  Spend enough time with your team to really understand who’s good at what, and figure out how you can amplify their diverse qualities to benefit the team.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Be a good enough communicator to adapt your style to suit the audience, the topic and the general mood in the camp.  Share as much as you can with people.  Be open and as transparent as it’s possible to be (without overstepping the boundaries of your role)

Embed a coaching culture.

Managers give out tasks.  Leaders ask “how are you planning to achieve your goals”.  Spend time coaching your people.  They will 100% value the time and input you give them.  And they’ll also operate at a higher level too.  Businesses who embed a culture of coaching have inspired staff, who over perform.

Focus on long term people development.

You might ask “why would I want to develop someone to such a standard that they’ll then want to leave and get a better job somewhere else?” .  The answer is simple.  If you support your team’s long term development, and help carve out a more successful future for them….they’ll never want to leave you.  Have you heard the saying “people join a business but they leave a manager”?

 

Say “Thank You”

Show gratitude.  Say thank you.  It doesn’t have to be monetary or a grand gesture.  Just a heartfelt, genuine thank you is good enough.  It goes a long way.  Think about extending the thank you to your staff’s family too – especially if working late and going the extra mile is a regular event.

Leading people is an amazing privilege.  Enjoy it.

Here’s to your success 🙂

Strategy Made Simple in 4 Steps

Sales Strategy is essential for your business growth.

I often find the word ‘strategy’ is used to make something which is essentially straightforward, seem anything but.  In fact, some of the businesses I work with, refer to strategy as being something which bigger businesses do and that somehow they don’t need to it.  Building a strategy is thought of as complicated or only for intellectuals.  But the reality is, it’s your route to success, so I’m going to help you make light work of it.
If success happened by accident, you wouldn’t need a strategy – right?  Wrong.  One of the most important elements of building an effective strategy is the review – why did ‘X’ happen?  Can we repeat ‘X’ or was it really an accident that we achieved our ambition by such a great margin? It’s rarely an accident.

Definition of Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve an overall aim.

Of course, huge corporations have very detailed strategies which go through multiple rounds of refinement and critique.  But it doesn’t have to be this way…  It can be a really simple 4 step process that keeps you and your business at the forefront of your marketplace and keeps the all important pounds rolling in.

STEP 1 – DISCOVERY

To be successful, you need to discover all you can about your Marketplace and how your products and services fit within it.  Who are your competitors? Are there complimentary services out there?  Are your products the right fit and sold at the right price?  Most importantly, you need to discover who your customers are.  What do they want, why do they want it and will you be able to fulfil their needs and solve their problems with what you are offering?

Discovery should be an ongoing activity that you invest time in doing regularly.

STEP 2 – PLAN

You will have learned enough in your discovery phase to build a robust plan.  First build the ‘ideal state’ from a high level.  Don’t get too detailed.  You should be aiming to cover off these key areas:-

What does my business do?  How does it do it? Keep it high level, not too much detail.

What problems does my business solve? What purpose does it serve?

Who are my customers?  How will they know my business exists?

What is my competitive edge?  What are my USPs?

Plan the financials and get help if you need to.

Identify some trackable metrics which will indicate progress being made.

STEP 3 – ACTION

This speaks for itself – put your plan into action.
This is where you walk the talk.

STEP 4 – REVIEW

As part of your plan, you identified some trackable metrics that will indicate progress.  And of course you have your financials to review.  The numbers will tell you a story and I’d urge you to stick to facts in your review process.  It’s too easy to add peripheral noise.

So you need to reflect on what’s going well or not so well.  Learn from any mistakes, spot opportunities to optimise your systems and processes.  One of the most important things you should do is speak to your customers – get their feedback on what they like or don’t like.  Also speak to your employees – they see things from a different perspective so you’ll get some diversity in your review material.

An ever-revolving wheel….

Strategy is not something which we do once as an activity and then do not go back to for a while.  It’s a cycle.  A winning strategy is an ever-revolving wheel which keeps turning to keep your business running smoothly and successfully.  Just because I’ve talked about 4 steps, doesn’t mean each step happens in isolation.  But of course you do need to give your plan the time it needs to be implemented and effective.

So, don’t get put off by people who imply building strategic plans is a labour intensive and complicated process.  Keep it simple.

Here’s to your success!

here.

6 ways to boost staff engagement…

We all know that retaining staff who you’ve spent years training and investing in, is vital if you want to keep your recruitment costs down, as well as develop a business full of talented staff.


However, a recent Forbes survey says that only 30% of staff on average are truly engaged, meaning that 70% are not.  Those who are not engaged are undoubtedly the most likely to flap their wings and take off to pastures new, leaving you to cover the workload, interview, induct, pay recruitment costs, induct, train…. 


Here’s my thoughts on how to make sure your staff feel engaged, enthused and invested in:-

1. Transparent leadership

Be as open and honest as you can.  Share your vision and values.  Have well aligned messages across your management team, backed up with purposeful action.  Share progress.  Share success and give praise along the way. Tell your team ‘why’ you are so committed to the business and in turn they will engage with your dream


2. Promote collaboration

Invite your employees to take part in activities that make them feel involved.  Run a workshop to build future plans.  Encourage talking rather than emailing.  Have a lunchtime discussion group and give the group important topics to feed back to you on.  Showcase the ideas that you actually use in practise so that you keep motivation and participation high.


3. Give trust and ownership

Let go whenever possible.  After all, you’ve built a team of talented people. so let them use their talents.  Once you’ve given direction and knowledge, allow your people the freedom to shine.  Nobody comes to work to do a bad job.  If a mistake only happens once, it’s not really a mistake.


4. Make sure every staff member has coaching time

All business leaders are time poor, meaning that spending quality time with the troops is often pushed to the bottom of the list.  Even when a monthly 1:1 manages to stay in the diary, the agenda is often task focussed and not dedicated to helping the team member overcome their work challenges or achieve a particular goal they have.  A great coaching session results in solid action plans being built, as well a the right level of urgency and commitment to making things happen.


5. Ask for feedback

Whether it be a large-scale formal employee survey or just asking over a cup of coffee, your staff will really feel valued if you ask them how they think things are going, and what more could be done to improve things.  It shows you care and value their views.


6. Say Thank You

I don’t need to explain this one.  Say it.  Not too often, and not flippantly, but with sincerity. 

Formula for handling Under-Performance (works every time)

under performance

Does your team have a person who delivers repeat under performance?

If you manage people, you’ll know how exciting it is to hire great talent, but you’ve probably also experienced the awful feeling when a member of the team isn’t performing.  It costs you time, money and is a reflection on you as a leader.  

But how long do you continue to invest your time and money into someone who’s letting the team down?  Firing someone is never nice.  And should be a last resort.  It’s quite normal to just live in hope for a while that performance levels will return and the problem will go away.  But what if it doesn’t? And how much does waiting cost you?

My advice is to keep things simple.  Answer this question….

Is the under-performance because the staff member CAN’T or WON’T perform?

In my 20 years of people leadership experience, it’s never anything else.  I urge you to challenge me on that too.  In the past, I’ve tried to make every excuse in the book for staff that I’ve truly liked as people, and desperately didn’t want to exit from the business.  

But it always comes back to can’t or won’t.
So, how do you fix it?  Firing should be the last step.  Try these things first…

  • Spend time with the person and observe them doing their role (or the thing they’re under performing at)
  • Give them timely and honest feedback
  • Be open to being given feedback from them (what if your training style isn’t great?)
  • Complete a training needs analysis
  • Make sure you understand their preferred learning style
  • Agree an action plan with specific learning milestones and dates for achievement
  • Give them the necessary training (or a refresher) in a classroom or on the job
  • Allocate them a more experienced team member to act as a buddy
  • Encourage self- development so that they can learn outside of the day job
  • Share some book titles that they might benefit from reading
  • Hold regular review meetings and side-by-side coaching sessions to measure success
  • Give credit and praise where it’s due

If these things don’t fix the gap in performance, then your under-peformer is most likely a WON’T. The issue is with their attitude or motivation, or both.

You need to test out the strength and depth of the ‘won’t’

A won’t person, is usually just cruising along.  Are they wasting time?  Do they avoid particular tasks?  Are they already job hunting?  Or are they just plain lazy?

  • Talk to them and ask why they think they’re under-performing.  They may try and bluff their way out if things – blaming a lack of training or coaching (but you’ll have already dealt with that in the above steps)
  • Make sure you know what motivates this person – money, praise, job satisfaction? 
  • Agree an action plan with very clear, time bound objectives
  • Make sure there isn’t something personal going on (don’t pry or delve too deep but you need to be sure that the person isn’t really suffering from stress, depression, bereavement or similar)
  • If this person can’t find the motivation, they probably need to leave the business.  Quickly.  But be sure to follow employment law practises.

You are not alone in having to deal with under performance.  All teams have variations in performance.  The key to your success as a leader is to always manage everyone appropriately and according to their individual needs.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Rachael

We support HR in businesses across the South West.

Plymouth | Exeter | Torbay | Newton Abbot | Somerset | Cornwall

Are you putting your parenting skills to good use in Business?

Let’s face it, there’s an abundance of books written on both parenting and business – there’s certainly lots to learn.  But just think for a minute about how the skills are inter-changeable.  


I’ve started considering which primary school my little boy is going to attend in 2018 (yes I’m a bit premature but I like to be prepared) and it got me thinking about the significant similarities in skill set  between great parents and great business leaders.  


It’s certainly not uncommon to see parents out with their little ones, using ingenious new ways of getting good ‘performance outputs’ and running pavement coaching sessions to avoid the explosive toddler meltdown.  Encouraging your toddler to decide which order to eat the carrots and broccoli in is the same coaching skill as helping a team member at work decide the best way to tackle his sales target next month.  Giving clear, timely communication is critical at work and home.  And so on…. think about it.  Here’s just a few synergies…

  • Shared goals and values – families plan for their home/holidays, and aim for strong morals
  • Communication skills – clear explanations, providing clarity and the chance to ask questions 
  • Defined KPIs – reward charts and marble jars spring to mind
  • Managing under performance – our children need a fair and consistent disciplinary framework
  • Great coaching and skills training – lifelong lessons shared, inspired action
  • Give praise and thanks – we all like to be appreciated 

So next time you’re attempting to avoid the tantrum for turning the TV off when Peppa is about to start, bring in a few boardroom skills 🙂

Could you coach an astronaut?

Coaching is a very rewarding activity. Whether it’s life coaching on weight loss or finding love, or executive coaching to secure the next C-level seat in the boardroom, inspiring and helping other people achieve their ambitions is very rewarding.  I’m sure most would agree.

But how good at it would you have to be to coach an astronaut? A small minority can boast travelling in to outer space, so how many coaches could partner an astronaut, helping them to truly overcome their challenges?  All the issues with learning how to breathe, coping with zero gravity, take-off procedure, decompression…. it’d be a minefield wouldn’t it?

No, I don’t think so.  I believe a great coach doesn’t have to share the same area of expertise as the coachee. In fact, it may help matters if they know very little.

Coaching to me is about asking previously unasked, thought-provoking questions.  It’s about encouraging the coachee to think beyond the most obvious and draw from their own knowledge and experience, yet stretching the mind to go to places that are to-date, untapped.  It’s about a safe, confidential environment, where time is focussed purely on the coachee and what’s important to their success.  That, to me, is how extraordinary, life-changing goals and action plans are drawn up.  Your coach keeps you honest.  And keeps you on the road to achieving great, great things.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  It’s such an interesting debate.  Do you agree?  Or do you think a great coach needs to be an expert in the coachee’s field?