Sales Management Is About Measuring The Right Things
One industrial marketing maxim (borrowed from the original computer programmers and IT people) is “Garbage in, garbage out.” This basically means if your inputs are wrong or poorly thought-out that your outputs or resulting data will be virtually useless. This maxim applies to all manufacturing executives who are attempting to make sales management decisions from data found in their CRM software.
Many manufacturing companies spend enormous sums developing sophisticated CRM packages that tell management nearly everything under the sun. It is very alarming how often I encounter manufacturing executives who use their CRM software to measure all the wrong things. This is especially true with sales management.
The fact is that many sales managers have an obsessive focus on measuring outputs in their CRM software. For example, when asked what KPIs they measure they tell me: number of deals closed, market share, gross profit, or market penetration.
While these outputs are important to know what is more important to know is that these outputs can only be influenced by managing specific inputs.
Measure the right inputs
There is no end to the number of inputs you can measure with your CRM package. In fact you can easily drown yourself in data. Successful sales management is the result of practicing discretion and knowing what sales activities can (and should) be managed or influenced.
The key is to be certain your clearly understand what specific inputs (sales activities) lead to your most highly desired outputs (sales objectives and business goals).
For example let’s say your business goal (output) is to increase revenue by 15% in the next year. In order to do this you determine your sales objective (output) is to obtain 10 new key accounts. You also know from your past history that in order to get 10 new key accounts your sales force needs to make 50 presentations and send out 30 proposals.
Manage the right inputs
So what sales activities (inputs) do you need to manage or influence in order to reach your business goals? While your particular situation might vary some of them might be: number of direct mail solicitations, number of completed sales call plans, number of appointment setting calls, number of preliminary sales appointments, number of scheduled product demonstrations, and number of proposals.
All of these inputs can be measured on a daily basis and you will know, with a high degree of accuracy, whether or not your sales force is performing the activities that will allow you to meet your sales objectives and ultimately reach your business goals. You will also know the problem areas that need work.
While measuring and managing inputs might seem obvious to some, it needs to become universally obvious. Master your inputs and enjoy predictably profitable outputs.