By Mike Kunkle
Director of Product Development, Richardson
I was fortunate to see a preview of a developing CallidusCloud white paper on sales performance management recently, and it really made me think about ways that selection learning, analytics, sales coaching, and incentives can merge to support improvements in frontline sales performance. I’m all about integration and alignment, so I was especially impressed with their conclusion that:
Sales Performance Management touches upon all aspects of the sales organization, including hiring, training, sales coaching and compensation. But for too long, these separate components have operated in their own arenas, different jurisdictions with their own operational headaches. A cohesive system with a unified technology is central to improving the efficiency and growth of your business, in turn motivating and improving the very people crucial to the bottom line.
Cool, huh? I also enjoy reading stats on the impact of sales coaching, though, too, and this data caught my eye,:
- Sales people who receive at least 3 hours of coaching per month achieve 107% of quota
- Sales people who receive 2-3 hours of coaching per month achieve 92% of quota
- Sales people who receive fewer than 2 hours of coaching per month achieve 90% of quota
Sales Coaching through Analytics
Putting these thoughts together made me think about the way that I’ve approached sales analytics, during sales performer analysis, to find ways to help reps jump from one performance band to another. (I wrote more about this recently on our Richardson Sales Excellence Review™ blog in a post called Which Top Producers Should You Study to Develop Sales Training Programs?)
After determining which metrics to use, which is a blog post in itself, I break the sales team down into several bands, based on the selected metrics.
- Top 4%
- Rest of the Top 20% (remaining 16%)
- Middle 60%, divided into above average, average and below average
- Bottom 20%
Occasionally, I do this analysis multiple times, based on a series of individual metrics, which produces several different performer rankings, based on task (the best cross-sellers, for example).
In other cases, I create a weighted scoring system, blending results from various metrics to create just one set of rankings. This is a ton of work in Excel, but gets easier when you have an integrated analytics system.
The real fun (and real value) occurs when you gather data about what performers in each band are doing to get their results. I won’t kid you, there is some work involved here. But once you have this information, you can analyze it across bands to see what a given band is doing, compared to the band above it and below it. From that analysis, you can create what I call “Continue | Start | Stop” lists.
Imagine, as a sales manager, being able to see the similarities and differences between what your Average and Above Average performers are doing? If you could coach your Average performers and share what to continue doing, start doing, and stop doing, to get results like the Above Average group, what could that mean to your team’s overall performance? Yes, the results can be dramatic.
This work doesn’t just lead to best practices, which is usually a misnomer, or rely solely on industry benchmarks (although they are very helpful in determining gaps between your results and what world-class companies achieve, and what you might gain by closing those gaps). From this sort of analysis, you are getting something better… the true top-producer practices for reps in your company, and what each band should do to take their performance up a notch.
If you have a linked system, now you have data to improve selection, onboarding, training, coaching, development, incentives and performance management. The mind boggles at the potential, doesn’t it?
For clarity, I’m sure you realize that this is generalized or average data and is a great starting point, but still just a starting point. You certainly can publish it and discuss it generally, but to take it to the next level for coaching, you need to analyze reports, have dialogues, and observe the behaviors of individual performers, to determine what they are doing specifically in comparison to the band above them, and then coach them accordingly. Context matters; specifics reign.
Have you done anything like this? How did it work for you? Have you ever had an integrated system that would allow you tie selection, training, coaching, incentives and performance management together, based on what you learn? I’d enjoy hearing your struggles and successes in comments, if you care to share. I’ve also included some additional reading below.
If you’d like to discuss how a sales performance analysis can help your company, or share your effective practices, I always enjoy trading ideas with fellow practitioners. If you’re looking for the sort of integration I’ve mentioned in this post, to improve and support sales performance management, reach out to CallidusCloud and ask them to share what they do.
And in the meantime, thanks for reading and best of success with your sales enablement initiatives!
- Using Tailored Post-Program Sales Coaching to Get Results from Sales Training
- Are You Teaching Bad Habits With Your Sales Coaching KPIs?
- Improve Your Sales Coaching with Two Simple Steps
- What Questions Are You Asking Your People?
- Is Sales Coaching Really Necessary?
- Diagnose: The Desire to Understand
About Mike Kunkle
Mike is a training and organization effectiveness leader with special expertise in sales force transformation. He is currently responsible for product development at Richardson, a global sales training and strategy execution company that partners with leading organizations to increase their sales effectiveness and drive business results. Visit blogs.richardson.com or connect with Mike through LinkedIn or Twitter.