The concept of Sabermetrics was popularized by the book/movie Moneyball. If you read/watched either, you were likely blown away by the idea that statistical models can more effectively build a baseball team than gut and experience. Well, the same is true in managing a sales team. So often sales managers, VPs of sales, and company presidents leave sales management to their gut and intuition, when, in fact, they should be focusing almost entirely on the data. Here are three keys to becoming an effective Moneyball Sales Manager:
- Know Your Metrics: Managing a sales team really isn’t that complicated. It comes down to measuring a few important metrics. These metrics are different for every company, but some examples of key metrics to watch on a sales team are: the number of out-bound prospecting calls, the number or referrals asked for, the number of networking events attended, the number of sales meetings set, the number of meetings conducted, the number of sales closed, the average sale size, etc… From this list, pick between 5 and 10 metrics to focus on and obsess over them in every sales meeting.
- Manage to Behaviors: When a team has the right training, success comes down to output. Is a sales person making enough phone calls, asking for enough introductions, giving enough speeches, and ultimately setting enough meetings to fill his pipeline? It will become evident if the sales person is not hitting his sales goals. Be sure to spend more time measuring output than sales results at first. Greater output will lead to greater sales revenues.
- Keep Accurate Pipelines: 90% of what’s in most sales people’s pipelines is total crap. It’s true—and you know it. When I work with client companies, I will have individual sales people defend their future sales pipeline. If they said that this $50K deal is 60% likely to close, then they have to defend why that’s the case. What always happens is that we end up shrinking most sales people’s pipelines to at least half of what they initially claimed. Keep a close eye on pipeline and get your sales people in the habit of defending them. This will lead to them doing a better job of selling in the future.
By focusing more on these three keys, you can become the Billy Beane of sales management. Don’t let your feelings and informal conversations influence your sales management. Instead, focus on the hard data.
Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and a sales keynote speaker.
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