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 A Summer 2014 Series

performance-metrics-and-skill-development

Many sales organizations manage only to “lagging” performance metrics, such as quota achievement. And yes, we all know and agree that quota achievement is very important. However, in terms of improving a Seller’s performance, it is a “rear-view” metric representing the end result of a combination of good and/or bad selling behaviors.  Consequently, it typically masks where real skill deficiencies exist. Therefore, it does not provide management with the ability to easily identify and manage the improvement of discrete selling difficulties that ultimately inhibit sales and may even make it impossible for a Seller to achieve quota.

On the other hand, a “leading” metric allows a Sales Manager to precisely identify and measure a selling difficulty. The Sales Manager can then proactively help that Seller to improve his or her ability in the relevant skill. Over the years we have found that this results in dramatic improvement in applying that skill and, ultimately, in the achievement of quota.

Surgical Performance Metrics are leading metrics that measure the ability of a Seller to execute every key skill. Using Surgical Performance Metrics, Sales Managers should analyze a Seller’s actual performance compared with goal. Where deficiencies exist, Sales Managers should then put in place the appropriate skill development plans. Then, typically over the course of a quarter of a year, the Sales Manager can measure the Seller’s performance improvement in that skill. Metric-based performance improvement with the skill in question should also be reflected in the compensation plan for that Seller.

Over the course of the summer we will look at every skill a manager would want to help a seller with and identify the metric(s) that s/he should use to measure performance in that skill.  Those skills include:

  • Account planning,
  • Opportunity identification,
  • Prospecting,
  • Account penetration,
  • Solution development,
  • Sales call qualification,
  • Sell cycle control,
  • Sell cycle qualification,
  • Negotiating, and
  • Closing.

In the meantime, provided below are some references that you may find beneficial:

Stay tuned!