How do you know your sales-effectiveness initiative is successful?

Christian Maurer, a Paris-based Consultant, Trainer and Coach, writes…

Donal Daily’s Sales 2.0 Network blog says to include ‘non-revenue objectives’ when judging the success of sales-effectiveness initiatives. One example they use is, ‘better qualification or common sales language across the organisation’. They reason that revenue is a lagging indicator. This is especially the case for long sales-cycles. By the time you notice a deviation from the revenue objective, it is often too late to change the short term effects. You have a better chance of affecting short-term outcomes if you track the behaviour of sales people using ‘non-revenue objectives’ throughout the sales-cycle.

Even so, I doubt that result-oriented sales leaders would buy into this concept. They believe in outcome-based, sales-force control systems. You can recognise this type of leader by their aggressive quota setting, lucrative incentives, and tough and frequent forecast reviews – all aimed at improving sales performance.

However, even if a sales leader does see the value in behavioural-based, sales-force control systems, I would not recommend using objectives that cannot be measured. In the example mentioned above, success is solely determined by how a sales leader interprets ‘better qualification’ and ‘common language’.

So qualitative objectives need to be translated into unambiguous, measurable indicators. This enables sales leaders to measure their  impact on productivity, and helps sales teams to accept them. In the example above, establishing a common language enables sales managers to reduce the time needed to review reports. Creating a standard template will allow reports to be interpreted faster than reports structured as every salespersons sees fit. Furthermore, salespeople won’t have to spend as much time explaining their activities in review meetings.

It is then up to managers and sales people to determine how time-savings influence revenue. If managers use the extra time for coaching, and salespeople use the extra time for meaningful interactions with clients, it will likely lead to higher revenue.

There are many studies that demonstrate the impact of behavioural-based, sales-force control systems compared to outcome based systems. If you are still primarily using outcome-based, sales-force control systems, it is worthwhile including at least some behavioural elements so you are better able to track the success of sales effectiveness initiatives.

I am curious to learn what practitioners have to say on this topic.

funnel-plan-sales-and-marketing-planning-tool

Christian Maurer is a Paris-based independent Consultant, Trainer and Coach who helps B2B organizations increase their sales productivity by improving Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. He is a member of Top Sales Experts (www.topsalesexperts.com), an accredited Funnel Coach with align.me and is the author of the blog “The Ultimate Sales Executive Resource” (https://ultimatesalesexecresource.blogspot.com). For comments, feedback and enquiries, he can be reached at [email protected]