My favorite sales metric that is most important and ironically, the one that is poorly measured, is how effective and consistent managers are at coaching and observing their team. This is the only way to objectively assess core sales competencies, best practices, behavior, communication and attitude, which is what ultimately determines performance. Unfortunately, this is not accurately measured. Sure, companies track the number of dials, calls, meetings, presentations, proposals submitted, renewals, retention, closed/lost business, market penetration, growth, profitability, margins, stages in the sales process, referrals, lead sources, the list goes on. And while this data is essential and can shed light on certain areas that need to be addressed, therein lies the problem. If you’re looking at a spreadsheet or a scorecard, then you only have visibility into the activities and measurable results.
Subsequently, managers use this data to uncover the frequency of activity their salespeople engage in or the results they are generating, without looking at the full picture. Given this approach, the only thing a manager can do is push or advise people to “do more” or tell them they need to “improve performance,” without providing the coaching or training they need to do so. What you can’t assess by looking at the data is why the results vary from one person to the next, which is a byproduct of their performance, mindset and skill set. That is, how effective is each salesperson at managing or engaging in each activity?
For example, if you look at your data and assess the activity of your top and bottom performers, you may notice they are both engaging in the same level of activity. If that’s the case, then this begs the question, “Why is my A player an A player and my C player a C player?” The answer is simple. It’s how they do things or the quality of their performance. It’s all about how they do it, not just what they do. This is what determines whether the person becomes a top performer or a struggling underperformer.
After all, winners don’t always do different things. They do things differently. Each salespeople sells, communicates and manages their time in a certain way. They also have their own message or talk track they use when making a call, writing an email, sending a text, leaving a voicemail, delivering a presentation, qualifying a prospect and defusing objections. They even have their own process to leverage CRM. If these key performance indicators that need to be desperately measured are not on your scorecard or are simply a line item that fails to measure the quality of output, the company will fall into the trap of checkbox management. “Did I coach the person? Check. Did I observe the person? Check. Will this person fail to reach their potential? Check.”
If you’re not consistently and effectively coaching and observing each person on your team; whether it’s on the phone, during a call with a prospect or customer, a video conference, a customer meeting, a team meeting, or even sitting next to their desk to observe how they manage their day, then you have no idea what they are doing and most important, how they are doing it. Here’s one universal coaching principle that supports this. You coach the process, the who and the how – not the result.
Therefore, conducting a performance review becomes a difficult task. After all, how can you conduct a performance review if you’ve never observed your team’s performance? This would be the same as a football coach coaching their team and providing direction without ever watching them practice or play in the game. That’s why the performance review needs to be renamed to reflect what it really is, which is a result review.
You coach and develop people, not your data. The opportunity here is for managers to make a fundamental shift from being a spreadsheet manager or data jockey to an authentic people manager. When you make coaching and developing people your priority over managing data and results, the byproduct is, you make your people more valuable and achieve your business objectives.
This is a guest post by Keith Rosen, MCC, Chief Evolution Officer at Profit Builders.