19 May 2015

5 Standards You Should Set With Sales Productivity Metrics

What do we want?
“Predictable revenue growth through a standardized sales process!”

When do we want it?
“Now!”

If you’ve ever caught your sales team yelling this in the conference room, or if you’ve been the one leading the chant, you’re not alone. We recently came across Scott Albro’s article, Sales Standards—16 Standards Your Sales Organization Needs, which describes these qualities in detail. The author’s examples—one-off decisions, gerrymandered sales territories, and plain-old salespeople who do their own thing— may help sales teams meet short-term goals, but they actually stunt organizations in the long run.

“Without sales standards, companies can’t just add people and leads to drive growth (which, our data shows, is a shared characteristic of high performing sales organizations),” Albro says. He recommends the following 16 areas as standards for the major roles in sales organizations:

  1. Sales cycle
  2. Process definitions
  3. Common plays
  4. Activity benchmarks
  5. Lead supply
  6. Standard roles
  7. Quota assignment
  8. Compensation
  9. Territories
  10. Candidate profiles
  11. Employee lifecycle
  12. Training and enablement
  13. Technologies
  14. Key performance indicators
  15. Per rep reporting
  16. Management reporting

As we digested this article, we thought it would be interesting to identify how you can establish some of these sales productivity metrics through call measurement, also called call tracking, as well as call evaluation. Here are five standards you should set, and how you can use call measurement and call evaluation to establish them.

1. Use metrics to identify activity benchmarks and set standards.

In the article, the author says “each rep should achieve a standard daily, weekly, or monthly activity benchmark. These should be determined using historical data that tells you which activities drive closed business.” You can easily compile this historical data in part from call measurement, because every inbound call to your organization can be tracked, recorded, and evaluated. You can use this data to compile reports about average activity levels for individual reps and compare them to group totals. For the parts of your sales reps’ activities that can’t be tracked over the phone, you can use productivity software or management tools like those detailed in this article.

2. Use metrics for training.

One of Albro’s key points in creating standards is to train every rep the same way, especially new hires. Your training process should be standardized and carried out consistently in order to enable your employees to reach attainable-yet-challenging goals. Tools like call recording make training employees easy and effective. By recording real customer interactions and using them as a training tool, your team members will gain valuable experience without feeling like they are risking potential profit. You should evaluate the training calls against your expectations for your sales team, so management and the employees have a clear idea of the trainees’ performance. As your employees progress through training, you should begin to use live calls; review them for rewards and to troubleshoot problematic areas with your employees. With unbiased, third-party data, your entire team will have an accurate, reflective portrait of their sales performance.

3. Integrate metrics into your technology tools.

“Adopt a core set of technologies that increase conversion rates and make the sales team more efficient. A standard CRM system is one obvious example, but increasingly sales teams are using other tools, such as sales intelligence applications.”

Albro’s advice is important—by integrating all of your tools, you can make sure you’re not leaving out key pieces of your sales success plan. Make sure you add your call measurement, recording, and evaluation records to your sales CRM so all of the data about any given customer is easily accessible.

4. Use metrics to identify per rep reporting.

You can use your sales productivity metrics to set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly quotas as standards. With call measurement tools, it’s easy to assess what those numbers are and what they should be. Albro says all reps should report on the same set of metrics. He uses the example that strategic account executives who own a small number of accounts should always report on their complete list of accounts each week. With the data call measurement provides, you can easily incorporate this information into your meetings. It’s also available upon request via email; you can get near-real-time reports sent to you and your employees whenever you need them.

5. Don’t forget key metrics/management reporting.

Albro says, “Identify the metrics that matter for each of the major functions in the sales organization and analyze those on a weekly, if not daily, basis. When reporting to other parts of the organization, make sure that you consistently present these metrics” so that the executive team has a clear picture of what is driving success in the sales organization. Your sales performance metrics will be an invaluable, unbiased tool that can show you the hard data that leads to increased leads and sales. By making sure you’re capturing all of these analytics, you can make sure your sales team is well-equipped with the knowledge and customer service basics that lead to satisfied customers.

When your salespeople know what is expected, they can deliver results that will help your organization continue to grow. By establishing these five standards through sales productivity metrics, you’ll build a foundation that your sales team needs for success.