Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Identify and Train SuperStar Salespeople

Determining which of your salespeople are top performers is simple, right?  Add up their sales and the highest consistent earners are your stars.

But how do you gauge the productivity of new reps?  How do you account for the inevitable ramp up with hires who are still learning the ropes?  At best they're marginally productive during their probationary period.   How long do you allow them to struggle before pulling the plug?

And what about a struggling salesperson making minimal progress that you believe is going to break through any minute?  How can you be certain you're right, that you aren't just throwing away good money after bad?  And how do you assess and assist long time employees who have started to slip?  Is their drop in volume the beginning of a trend?  Or are they just going through a slump?  How do you help them?

What are Metrics?

The answer lies in formulating and applying metrics.  These are performance measurement statistics that identify skill levels for various tasks for each salesperson.  Highlighting areas of strength and weakness, I  have seen very few companies use metrics to their fullest potential.

That's a waste because properly applied metrics make the job of a sales manager much easier.  If sales management has a silver bullet, it’s knowing how to create and apply metrics.  Correctly applied, metrics provide:

✔    An objective scorecard of performance
✔    Areas of individual strength and weakness
✔    Transparency of the sales process

Metrics can also provide a mechanism for deadly accurate sales forecasting, something we’ll discuss in a future column.

Here is how you can use metrics in your company to supercharge productivity:

•    Develop individual, not team performance measurements
•    Share your reps' stats to empower them to own their progress
•    Provide individual training for weak areas and disregard all others

Assess Manager Performance using Metrics

In larger organizations, upper management can compare departmental and regional metrics to determine specialties and deficiencies of the managers.  A properly applied program of metrics can be a huge reporting and training benefit to a sales organization.

Consult Expert Help in Devising Metrics

To learn more, consult Alexander's Making the Number. Although the concept of metrics may seem simple, developing appropriate metrics for your company is an involved and specialized discipline. To achieve the best results, you need an expert in your corner. Feel free to contact us to help you develop high performance-based measurements for your company.

In the next article in this series, we'll derive a set of metrics for a hypothetical company.  Then we’ll use these to illustrate how you can improve the skill level of each of your reps to vault your department’s sales productivity.  Until then,

profitable business All! 

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