5 Tips to Drive Sales Performance Improvement
When it comes to driving sales performance improvement, execution of strategy is the key. Many organisations and teams develop excellent sales performance strategies, but they fail to deliver the desired results because they have not formulated a plan to execute that strategy.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Sales Managers looking to deliver sales performance improvement:
- Communicate your Intent
The first stage for any execution of strategy must be communication of intent. You must set the goals, the direction and expectations. It is both unfair and unrealistic to ask others to go on a journey with you, without first telling them where they’re going and what they will need to do to get there. Give your team the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification.
Communicating intent is also a great way to filter out those who do not have the right mindset to help achieve the results you’re looking for. Most sales leaders recognise at least one member of the team who fits this profile and laying out your plans for change can often be enough to enable those individuals to realise their path lies elsewhere.
- Get Clear on the Metrics
Good intentions alone are not enough to achieve results, you need to put measurements in place that will enable you to monitor progress. There are so many metrics that can be measured in sales, it can be difficult to know where to start. A good starting point is to separate out those measures which are simply ‘outcomes’ (such as the sales numbers) from those measures which are manageable activities. Although it will be these ‘outcome’ measures that you are no doubt looking to change, it is only the manageable activities where you can actually make change; the ‘outcome’ measures will follow as a direct result.
The second step is to pinpoint which of these manageable activities have the biggest impact on the outcome measures you’re looking to change. If you try to focus your team on changing every single measurable activity that can influence sales outcomes all at once, they’ll be overwhelmed and unclear on which are the most important. This typically results in either a complete abandonment of a strategy that is viewed as unachievable, or in a dilution of effort and, therefore, of results. Try to focus on a maximum of just 3 goals/measures.
For more on defining metrics and understanding the different types of metrics, see ‘For Metrics Sakes – Using Metrics to Improve Sales Performance‘.
- Drive Accountability to the Metrics
Many great strategies fall down at this point – the goals have been communicated and the measures put in place, everyone knows what they need to do and how progress will be monitored, you may even have the full enthusiasm of the team and yet, it’s not enough. Without accountability people will simply fall back into old habits because it’s easier to do what you’ve always done.
A really useful tool for driving accountability is a visible dashboard that clearly displays individual and team performance against your most important goals. Regularly review progress on an individual and team level to keep the goals front of mind and reinforce importance. When the team comes together, ensure you capture the opportunity to focus in on progress so far.
- Share Best Practice and Celebrate Success
Sharing best practice serves several important purposes; firstly it recognises and rewards individual achievements. This, in turn, then creates healthy competition amongst the team (particularly amongst sales people!). Sharing best practice also turns theory into reality and demonstrates to all that the desired results are achievable.
Celebrating success attaches even greater value to the goals and reinforces the culture and mindset you are trying to develop.
- Coach the improvement
Implementing long-term behavioural change, as we’ve established here, requires consistency of message. However, it also requires feedback on an individual level. Coaching enables you to support individual team members to realise their potential and achieve their goals. It is the most effective tool any leader has for implementing performance improvement and therefore should sit at the heart of any sales performance improvement strategy.
When coaching is employed regularly by sales leaders, not only does individual sales performance improve, but so too does employee engagement and retention.
- Communicate your Intent
To find out more about our sales performance improvement services, which can be delivered virtually and face to face, take a look at our Sales Training and Sales Coaching Services page.