Imagine if professional athletes set out each day to train without any idea of what they needed to achieve – they thought “oh well, I’ll just run as fast as I can and hopefully that will get me into the Olympics”.
It really just wouldn’t work – and this is exactly the same for those responsible for sales in an organisation.
If you don’t know what results you need to work towards, how will you know if you get there, or if you actually fall short of what is required? It also provides clarity around what tasks need to take place in order to work towards those goals.
“The purpose of setting goals is to inspire action, not predict it” – John H Clark.
But on the flipside, there is no point in setting goals if there is no understanding around the numbers that produce results, and are actually required by the business for profit.
So, as a business or sales leader, do you know what kind of sales activity the team need to achieve to be deemed a successful month or quarter? Or your conversion rates for prospecting, phone calls and face-to-face meetings? These are the numbers you must know, so that you can accurately determine goals, and plan the actions required to reach them.
For example, if for every 10 calls your sales team make, you get two meetings, and will get one new customer –with a sales worth of $1000 – then you’ll need to make 100 calls to get 10 new customers and $10,000. If these numbers aren’t clear, then it is very hard for anyone to work towards a specific goal or KPI.
And, perhaps most importantly, numbers provide accountability. If everyone is aware of what they need to do to get results, sales goals should be predictable and achievable. This will also mean business leaders can manage their sales team in a more accurate manner, just by following clearly defined numbers.
It is also important to understand that reviewing your sales team isn’t about playing the ‘blame game’. Things might not be working because everyone is still using selling tactics from 10 years ago, and it is just that no one has the knowledge to bring the sales process into 2015. Or perhaps the sales manager was promoted from being a successful sales rep, but they don’t have the skill base to coach their team.
The main thing is, it’s only by looking at sales as a whole that you will be able to identify those issues, and that the right strategies can be put into place where needed.