Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Leaders: Failing to Track the Most Important Metrics

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

November 14, 2012

describe the imageMost sales reps are asked to monitor and track their sales activity with some sort of CRM.  This makes sense, for among many benefits it allows reps to take an objective look at their effectiveness, and provides an opportunity to make some objective decisions as to how they can grow.  For sales executives, the data sales reps enter can provide insights into pipeline, coaching opportunities, a plethora of metrics can be followed, and most sales executives look at a variety of reports a minimum of weekly (many times daily).

While all the above makes sense, there is one fact that so many sales executives overlook.  The biggest indicator as to whether sales reps hit their number has to do with their manager’s ability to coach, lead and manage.  Yet, a manager’s ability to coach, lead and manage is never tracked!  I have not yet visited with one sales executive who has metrics on a manager’s activity, skills or behaviors as they relate to coaching a team.  Think for a minute about the following:

  • An average rep in N. America is accountable for approx. $1.5M in revenue

  • An average sales manager in N. America is accountable for approx. $12M in revenue

Why don't sales executives track sales manager activities, skills and behaviors that it takes to get the $12M?  Based on EcSELL research, I have a simple conclusion:  Sales executives don’t know what sales management activities, skills or behaviors to track.  Some examples of what should be tracked are below:

  • Time spent in the field or on the phone with reps

  • Time spent with reps on different stages of the sales process--% of time spent with reps on needs discovery, versus presentations, versus closing calls, etc.

  • Time spent training their team

  • Time spent in 1:1 meetings with reps

  • Time spent in team meetings

  • Material covered in those meetings

  • Recruiting prospects in a manager’s fold

  • Oral feedback skills

  • Objective feedback skills

  • Executive presence

  • Collaboration with team

  • Connection/relationship with individuals on team

  • And many more…

An EVP Sales colleague said it best when asked if he tracked the activities, skills and behaviors of his management team; “Since I trust my managers I have just always hoped they were doing all the right things to get the number, but I guess I have no way of knowing.”

  • Is it a sales talent issue that is holding a team back from maximizing sales?

  • Is it the fact the manager doesn’t know how to coach?

  • Does the manager spend enough time in the field?

  • Has the manager been pro-actively recruiting?

  • Does the manager have a strong enough relationship with his/her reps?

  • Is it a sales skills issue?

Managers need to have a disciplined management and leadership approach that has quantifiable activities, skills and behaviors.  When management metrics are tracked a complete picture can be drawn that helps an exec know where a manager is strong or weak.  High pay-off activities can be determined, time allocated accordingly and focused coaching can occur between the EVP and front line manager (not enough coaching occurs between those two levels).

What we have seen with EcSELL members is when high pay-off sales manager best practices are effectively implemented and tracked—sales grow.  Watch for more data from our team that will help everyone in a sales leadership role know how to drive more performance from their team.

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