Over the next few months we are going to be running a series interviewing a range of different business owners to understand their perspectives on what they see as being the big business challenges, what they believe is critical for business success and the role they see technology playing in businesses.
The key to Sales is to focus more on the inputs, not just the sales outcome
Our premiere interview is with Darren Eagle, Lead Generation Specialist and Sales Coach for Accountants at ARM - ‘ (Accountants ROI Marketing) ‘– a highly successful and growing Australasian business focused on coaching and supporting Accountants to attract high quality clients
Darren has worked in Senior Sales and Marketing roles for over 20 years for high growth companies so knows first-hand the challenges faced in the market and talks to us about why Sales Managers cannot just focus on the number of sales closed.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you see companies facing with respect to sales?
The issues have been around for a long time and it’s the same issues. Firstly people are focused on what they do, not the problem that they are solving for the customer. Secondly, businesses are impatient and they focus their KPI’s on outputs (like sales made) and fail to recognize or measure the input KPIs.
By having a systemized process around input KPI’s you would know and measure key metrics like how many follow up calls you need with existing clients or existing referral networks to bring on 10 new clients, how many leads does a sales team member need to have in their sales pipeline etc. The key is to understand what actions by the sales team are critical in reaching a buying decision for the prospect and then being able to measure them accurately in order to establish a predictable sales forecast
Q: How important is it for companies to have metrics to understand the performance of their teams?
It is critical to have metrics, but you need to measure the right inputs as well as outputs. As a sales manager you can’t just look at sales results without understanding how your team got to the results to identify where any issues may be and where specific training/coaching may be required.
With 50% of sales people globally missing sales targets each month, sales managers need to understand what to coach each team member on. For some this could be around finding more leads, others may need support with closing. This is why you need to measure inputs to find each person’s individual issues and then you can tailor your coaching to this.
Q: Is technology becoming more accepted as a way for Sales Managers to understand their team performance.
Yes it is – there is a lot of reporting systems and automated technology which is all beneficial for sales managers and financial controllers. The issues with just focusing on these though is it is easy to become inward looking and forget about the customer. An example is a sales team I’ve worked with recently was in such a rush to get to the next sale they forgot to build rapport with the client. Based on metrics the company could see they were getting the sales quota but this was not necessarily in the best interest of the client, which had an impact on referrals and testimonials and therefore became very transactional.
So the key is not to track metrics just to hold people accountable, but to look at how this data and improvements on metrics can be used to help your customers and sales people through an educational buying process and ensure it is an enjoyable experience for them both.