I recently participated in a webinar addressing the question: Does Access to Timely/Accurate Metrics Make a Difference in Performance? The short answer: you betcha!
Percentage of overall revenue attained was 7.5 points higher (78.3% vs. 85.8%) and percentage of reps meeting/beating quota was 6.5 points better (52% vs. 58.5%). But as noted in my comments during that session (register to listen to recorded webinar at Birst) and in a soon to be released white paper, these are lagging indicators. That is, by the time you know what these numbers are, they’re history. And you may be too if they’re bad enough.
As long as you’re tracking historical figures, you are by definition playing catch-up. If all you have are race results, you never have a chance to impact the outcome of the race. You are forever behind.
How to get ahead?
In our Sales Performance Optimization survey we ask firms to rate their ability to provide sales managers access to timely/accurate metrics. Respondents can answer that they Need Improvement in this ability, Meet Expectations in doing so, or Exceed Expectations. What’s interesting is the correlation between providing managers access to timely/accurate metrics and other abilities fundamental to managing reps well. The chart below shows a handful of these critical areas.
A few things are striking about this chart. First, consider the abilities listed on the left and how managers performing these well could impact outcomes. These are all examples of leading abilities/metrics. Then notice how little difference there is between those firms Needing Improvement and those Meeting Expectations. This difference is double in the best case (5% vs. 10%) in proactively identifying reps needing additional coaching and is actually negative (4% vs. 3%) in hiring reps who’ll be successful selling here.
Now look at the green bars when reps have access to timely/accurate metrics; the differences are four to seven times as great. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
And managers aren’t the only beneficiaries of being informed-reps are too. Check out the four rep selling abilities presented in the following chart.
In this case the differences are not as dramatic but they are still quite significant. For example, the least difference is seen in reps’ ability to sell value and avoid discounting (7.5% vs. 15%). Yet, this difference is significant when you realize that every dollar of discount not given falls directly to the bottom line. This is truly a big deal and the kind of performance distinction that separates slowly bleeding to death from a thousand self-inflicted cuts from profitable breakaway performance.
Of course, sales process is the foundation upon which timely/accurate metrics are based. Without an agreed upon standard, there is no basis for consistent measurement; and without consistent implementation, reinforcement and enforcement, the level of process implementation will remain low-or non-existent.
Did you hear the one about sales process? No? Come back next week for an introduction to our Sales Relationship/Process Matrix. Until then,