You made the number. You celebrate. According to your compensation plan and bookings report, you won. This is a flawed way to measure winning and losing as a sales leader. Yes, making the number is important. And revenue is a lagging indicator. You need a leading indicator.
This post will discuss a new way sales leaders should measure performance. It will focus on how to sustain results through the acquisition of new capabilities.
Why you should measure
New capabilities are the number one leading indicator of future income. For you, your managers and your reps. As a VP of Sales, you own capability building.
When you view sales improvement projects, you ask yourself “Is this really that hard?” It is a good question. Hard projects are those you should do. They make the number. If it isn’t hard, you shouldn’t do it.
People get disappointed with sales training events. They don’t change behavior or drive results. They are easy. They satisfy a box checking exercise around providing training. Humans love the path of least resistance. Sales leadership is hard. So, how can you deploy an easy solution to a hard problem? You can’t. Unless, you are comfortable with another project that doesn’t produce results.
Of all the new capabilities leaders could drive, here were seven that stood out in 2013. How many did you and your team acquire? Click here to view them and perform a self-assessment. You will receive the following benefits:
A way to compare your year vs. your peers
How these capabilities improve rep execution
Results that each of these capabilities drive
The Gap between Average and Great
One of the key differences between average and great sales leaders is sustainable improvement. Do you continually foster an environment where the team is constantly improving? Two questions to ask:
1. What new capabilities did my team acquire this year?
2. How will we build on these new capabilities next year?
If you use the wrong tool for measurement, eventually you end up in the wrong place. Even when you have a huge year, you can improve.
And when you miss the number, you are not as bad as you may feel. This is why a focus on new capabilities is so critical. One of the reasons you look for a new job is you get bored. You get bored when you stop learning. Your reps and managers are no different.
The Choice You Must Make
The implications of ignoring new capabilities are many. The biggest is eventually you will be replaced. It might not happen next year, but a pattern will emerge. If you are not constantly improving, your team stagnates. You miss the number. You execute a series of heroic actions to make the number. These don’t scale. You have stress and anxiety because eventually the shoe will drop.
Your New Measurement
Sales leaders don’t have to use traditional measures. In the graphic above, you see an example of how to plot the new capabilities. The second capability is around demand. Specifically:
Problem - Marketing does not generate enough demand.
Impact - Without sufficient demand, sales misses the number.
Choice - Accept it, complain about marketing or generate your own leads.
New Capability Required - Modern prospecting methodology that sales reps can consistently execute.
Result of Acquiring the New Capability - Once your team has learned to generate their own leads it becomes second nature. If you try it for two or three quarters you will see the following:
Multiplied your Lead Generation effort by the number of reps you have
Improved the ability for sales to not rely on marketing
Ensured that your reps only meet with the right people. No more complaining that leads are bad
You make the number with less people because those you have are more productive
Your reps get more engaged. ‘A’ players love to learn
Your Next Move
Download the tool and measure your year. How many of the top seven from 2013 did you acquire? You can start to prioritize what capabilities you drive in 2014.
When looking at your next sales improvement project, ask yourself:
Will the team acquire a new capability?
What does this new capability allow us to do that previously we could not?
How does this new capability translate into revenue?
If you do not have clarity on each of these, dont bother with the project. Save yourself the time, money and effort. As a sales leader, you get paid to grow ‘A’ players. The pace and depth that your team acquires new capabilities is your measuring stick.
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