The Sales Performance Indicators that Really Matter

22 Sep 10

While it is appropriate to monitor results, we found that focusing on the results themselves isn't so productive. What sales performance indicators matter?

In speaking with sales leaders, we often hear how they focus on results. After all, it is the sales results that drive growth and company profitability. While it is appropriate to monitor results, we have found that focusing on the results themselves isn't all that productive.

Think about an underperforming sales team. By simply “focusing” on the results, you will soon realize that very little is going to change irrespective of how often you measure the results. In fact, you can easily become discouraged and frusterated.

The key to improving results is to first understand that viewing results is like looking at a picture. It is simply a snapshot of performance during some time period (e.g. last week’s sales). As a result, they are inherently backward looking in nature. In many ways, viewing results is analogous to looking into your rear view mirror while you are driving. You are simply viewing the road you have already travelled.

As sales leaders, we need to change our focus from looking at the static picture (i.e. results) to determining the underlying behaviors that impact results. These behaviors are observable actions that will lead to better results. Examples include making more prospecting calls, going out on more sales calls, improving the quality of our sales calls, asking for referrals, and sending out more proposals.

In every business there are likely three to five key sales performance indicators that impact results. As sales leaders, we need to determine these leading indicators that drive success, and establish metrics to measure and manage these key behaviors. This will provide us much better insight into future results, and allow us be proactive in our management as opposed to simply looking backwards.


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