How Should You Measure Sales Productivity?

April 23, 2014 8:37 am0 comments

sales-productivity

Measuring sales productivity has always been important for sales people, and now that businesses are more data-driven, it is crucial for every sales team to have good time and productivity tracking practices. Those who don’t are quickly being left in the dust.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hard to implement productivity tracking practices that can show you where you’re wasting time, and where you should put more energy to get the most out of every minute you spend selling. We talked to some experienced salespeople about how they track their own productivity, and which metrics are the most important for gauging your success. These sales pros track everything from their gross profits to the number of thank you notes they write, and all of this data helps them constantly improve their performance.

We asked each of these accomplished pros how they measure their own success, and which metric they think every other top seller should be paying attention to. Here ’s what they said:

Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss

President, ColdCallingResults.com

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

The metrics that are important to measure for telephone prospecting are: Dials, Conversations (with a qualified prospect) and Appointments. Many sales professionals will track their number of Appointments, some will track their Dials and Appointments, very few track the number of Conversations they’re having with qualified prospects. Without that middle number, it’s impossible to know how you’re doing.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

Software. It is amazing to me in 2014 the number of companies that are still not using any kind of software to track prospecting numbers.

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

Dials, Conversations, Appointments. When you track these numbers, it’s then possible to know the conversion of Dials into Conversations and the conversion of those Conversations into Appointments. Once you know conversion numbers, it is possible to tweak and improve results. Absent that information… it’s almost impossible.

Lori Richardson

Lori Richardson

Founder & CEO, Score More Sales

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

As a consultant, trainer, writer, and sales coach, I have to be very methodical when it comes to our own sales productivity. We do proactive sales pipeline development through working with strategic partners (those who refer multiple opportunities our way, and we do the same), attending conferences, follow up from conferences, and by identifying decision makers through tech tools.

We also have an inbound marketing system that helps bring those further through the sales cycle our direction so that we can have the opportunity to learn what it is they want to fix or change – and see if we can assist them with that.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

We collect and analyze data on our productivity through our inbound lead successes and through several tools we use internally in addition to our CRM system. We have staff meetings twice a week – on Mondays with sales (and other) goals, and on Fridays for review. I have blogged about this a few times and am happy to explain to anyone interested all of the steps. By looking at all of our sales opportunities we can tell if we are focusing time in the right places (our target market is mid-sized technology and distribution companies). When it comes to conferences, we have a rule in the company that we must make more by attending than if we didn’t attend. Meetings are planned in and around conferences – it’s something I’ve done for years.

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

A productivity metric every salesperson should be paying attention to is number of opportunities prospected to qualified to closure. That’s really three metrics, but I want to see what a rep started with (to know if they have enough of the right activity while prospecting), what they move through as “”qualified”” in the pipeline (so I know if they are spending time in the right places, and then of those qualified, how many came to closure – so that I can tell if they are working the right opportunities or if there are other issues, such as lack of urgency or poor messaging.

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath

Author, Speaker, Strategist JillKonrath.com

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

By the outcomes. If what needs to get done for the day/week is accomplished, I have been productive.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

To me, quality is my most important productivity tool. I want to have maximum impact with every client interaction, keeping my prospect moving forward. If that didn’t happen, I need to revisit my planning, knowledge, strategy, approach, messaging and more.

Fewer but better interactions with high quality prospects is significantly more productive than tons of calls with marginal prospects.

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

For prospecting, watch your contact to conversation ratio. If it takes you, on average 10 email/phone contacts to set up a meeting (via phone, skype, in person), your goal should be to try to reduce it to 8.

To do that, you need to focus on increasing messaging effectiveness — so we’re back to quality again.

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan

Author of “Hired! Paths to Employment in the Social Media Era”

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

No matter how you might want to slice and dice it, the number one measure for sales is the amount of revenue which is generated versus that forecasted. Is the salesperson meeting his or her plan? If so, at what percentage to plan? Any deviations need to be thoroughly explained and corrective actions taken to ensure that the person gets back on track during the upcoming month, quarter or other reporting period.

In addition to actual revenue growth, customer satisfaction is also another way of measuring productivity. In certain instances, revenue growth may be deferred if the customer has some strategic significance. In this case, how satisfied the customer is in its business dealings with the company might be a more critical factor, as a satisfied customer in a strategic area might provide a significant lifetime reward that greatly exceeds the short-term sales revenue growth.

Finally, market share growth or maintenance is another measurement used. Is the company growing share in specific industries or territories or is it losing share. This is extremely important to take into consideration within a number of sales situations.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

Collection and analysis is generally extracted from sales records and compiled in databases for reporting purposes. Further analysis of the data might be done in Excel with pivot table analysis and report generation for management to review and act upon.

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

Sales revenue growth, as well as profitability of the customer. There is no reason to be shipping money with every sale unless there is a significant strategic reason for so doing.

Jim Keenan

Jim Keenan

Founder, A Sales Guy Consulting

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

Results. Am I achieving what I need to achieve in the time I need to achieve. It’s simple for me. When I’m not being productive, the “big” things are slipping through the cracks and not getting done.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

I don’t collect data. When it comes to my own productivity I focus on results. I find measuring time and productivity to be counter productive. Measuring individual productivity takes me away from what I should be doing. With that said, to ensure I’m being productive, I prioritize my tasks and initiatives to make sure I know what is most important and only work on those things.

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

Nope, no such thing. OK, I take that back. It’s called quota attainment. ;)

Butch Bellah

Butch

Sales, Marketing & Business Coach

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

The obvious answers are conversion rate or closing percentage. But, I think one must go deeper and capture gross profit generated. We sometimes forget that not all sales are good sales and large orders are not the most profitable. Top line sales are great, but bottom line profits keep everyone paid.

Q: How do you collect and analyze data on your own productivity, and how do you use it to improve your sales?

I use a system I’ve taught for years called The Power of Ten. It’s several metrics that are measured weekly or monthly to keep me (and those who use it) focused on drivers that impact sales and profitability. It reminds me constantly of one “can manage what you can measure”

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

No question. Prospecting. If you are not making contact with new people constantly I don’t care how good you are at asking for the sale, overcoming objections, questioning or anything else. You’re not going to have anyone to talk to.

Craig Wortman

Craig Wortmann

Founder & CEO, Sales Engine

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

I measure the usual suspects (revenue, annual growth rate), but I also measure some things that may surprise people. I closely track how many thank-you notes I write to people, because for me that’s a lagging indicator of productivity. If I’m generating leads and pushing those leads into the sales process, chances are that I’ve now got someone to thank. And as I’ve said a million times, a “thank-you” is only a thank-you if it’s done properly. An email will not suffice. So I use tags to measure how many notes I’ve written and mailed in a given month.

I also measure how my database has grown, and where that growth has come from. Again, I use tags so I can sit down on a quarterly basis and determine where I’ve met people, what online activities drove traffic, and how many people came to me through various sources. These more granular metrics are the most important…they measure day-to-day discipline. The top-line measures are vanity metrics…they might make you feel good (or bad!) but they don’t tell you anything. But if I’ve written 37 thank-you notes this month, I can be damn sure that something good is going to happen next month!

Q: What is one productivity metric absolutely every salesperson should be paying attention to?

Thank-you notes, hand-written and mailed through the good old Post Office. How many have you written this month? Do it, track it, and watch good things happen.

Elinor Stutz

Elinor

CEO, Smooth Sale

Q: How do you measure your productivity as a salesperson?

My style is to begin with the end in mind. Professional salespeople should look at their targeted quota and bonuses available for achieving more. Reflect upon how many sales are required, the most likely candidates who will purchase, and the prospecting required to keep the pipeline filled at all times. Come to terms with the number of contacts required, and dedicate yourself to the task in order to make the ultimate sales reality.

This article originally appeared on Base | Baseline – Base CRM Blog and has been republished with permission. If you’d like to submit a guest post or syndicate your content, join Firmology’s contributor program.

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