Collecting Sales Performance Data: Best Practices for Going from Good to Great
Have you recently asked yourself how to identify and select high performers for your sales team? Or whether there are specific competencies that are critical for optimizing your team’s sales performance? Then, you may have also realized that there is a great benefit to collecting and tracking relevant performance metrics, hire rates, time to ramp, perceived potential, etc. Gathering good data makes it possible to explore and answer the many questions you have about your team and their sales performance.
At GrowthPlay, we utilize a number of tools to help our clients get the most out of their data and help them answer their sales talent assessment questions. We first look at which competencies within our library correlate with our client’s sales performance data, focusing on ones that are the most statistically significant of the group. We then take what our team has learned through qualitative work, such as job analysis/subject matter expert discussions and a thorough review of job descriptions, to further refine our list of competencies, eliminating ones that may have strong correlations but don’t make sense for the role. From there, we work with our clients to ensure that the selected competencies resonate with them and what their business goals are, and look at how their team compares to the new profile.
The key to all of this work being successful lies in the time and effort put in to ensuring that we utilize high quality data, listening and understanding what our client is asking for, and employing the appropriate solution to fit their needs.
To learn more about the science behind predictive assessments read our blog on validity
One of the more frequent hurdles we face is getting high quality sales performance data. The data is incomplete, it’s difficult to access, quotas aren’t realistic or equitably set, subjective ratings are overinflated and factor into compensation, or there is no consideration for differences in geography or territory size.
To help GrowthPlay clients, we have collected our list of tips and tricks for tracking down good data, while avoiding the bad.
- Sales performance data should be meaningful – We are frequently asked for recommendations on what data to collect, how managers should measure sales performance. And our response is, it depends. It depends on what is important to you and your sales organization. Maybe you are focused on bringing in as many dollars as possible, then go for straight revenue numbers. Or, if you have different salespeople in different types/sizes of territories, you might use percent of quota to make comparing your sales force easier. Whatever data you collect needs to mean something to you and would, ideally, include both quantitative and qualitative measures, as we all know that the numbers don’t always tell the full story.
- Data in moderation – Sometimes more is better. But with sales performance data, we find that relying on too many metrics results is a whole lot of average. No one, it doesn’t matter who they are, is going to be great in every way; even your worst performer is going to excel in something. We all know the salesperson who consistently exceeds their revenue numbers quarter after quarter, but they don’t work well with others, frustrate their managers and support team, and just generally don’t play well with others. It can help to focus in on one or two quantitative measures and another more subjective metric; those pieces of data that you go back to time and again to see who is getting the job done and who isn’t.
- Consistent sales performance over time holds value – We often find that this quarter’s top performer was only average, at best, last year. Looking at your team’s performance over time helps clarify who your top tier sellers really are, who gets the job done quarter after quarter, year after year; who you can rely on to get the job done. For shorter sales cycles, maybe it comes from looking at a single metric for several consecutive quarters; for longer sales cycles, annual or bi-annual sales performance for two or more straight years can provide insight.
- Measure the person doing the job – Many organizations measure sales performance for the seat someone is filling. Whoever is in that seat, reaps the benefits. But that also means that person might also be punished for what their predecessor did (or didn’t do). We know it isn’t always possible to change the system, attributing performance to the person not the seat. Combining data points, such as hire date with quota data or sales closed, and pairing them with more subjective measures can help mitigate this effect.
If you can harness the power of meaningful sales performance data, you then position yourself to answer the higher level questions and help your team go from good to great.
Read our blog Three Tools to Gauge Sales Talent Gaps for additional tips to take your sales team from good to great!