In baseball, people who love the technical parts of the sport obsess over numbers like on-base percentages, slugging percentages, batting average, strike out ratios, etc., and that’s just a few. Business owners and Chief Operating Officers, especially in companies with a lot of products and market segments find themselves slicing up the pie in many ways to look at what’s happening and they forget about the two in sales that make the most difference.

Have you ever played golf and had someone focus you on doing 3-4 things at once to improve your swing? It’s a good way to beat someone if you do that to them when playing.

The mind cannot focus on improving so many skills at once and kinda goes haywire trying.

Here’s another term you might have heard of as a sales or business leader – Key Performance Indicator (KPIs). In the original printing of The Game of Work, in 1984, Charles Coonradt wrote about KPIs and he said that each year only 1-2 really make a difference.

In high-activity selling, where the sales cycle in 90 days or less, increasing two numbers creates an enormous financial impact. If you increase these numbers, many other important metrics for the vendors you represent, other product categories, customers and for your salespeople go UP. These are:

Income per Rep
NPS (net promoter score)

So, here’s a short 7 question self-assessment to see if you have numbers paralysis for results that do not make a difference to your reps or to your customers. Please score yourself – yes or no.

  1. I know the income goal of each of my reps.
  2. I know the motivating “why” behind each of their goals.
  3. If their corresponding (income to) sales goals are under the quota or minimum requirement for a rep, I negotiate with them for a higher income (and sales) level.
  4. I track their income trending to their goal for the month, quarter and the year.
  5. When reps begin to trend lower than their income goals, I sit down with them to see if its attitude, strategy, skill or knowledge that needs to change. I work to help them change.
  6. I track customer and rep satisfaction through surveys.
  7. I work to remove customer and rep sacrifice to make sure both have great things to say about my company. I provide development and training for my sales leaders and salespeople to help them serve customers better, sell more and earn higher incomes.

(exception: 25% or less are motivated by competition/recognition and not income … If a rep has a higher motivation to win and compete for recognition rather than to reach an income goal, then I coach them to the competitive level they want.)

One quick tip. Income for a high-activity sales person is controlled by three things in this order of importance, so coach them according to their needs …

  • # of Opportunities (Are they getting in front of enough people to hit their sale and income targets?)
  • $ per sale (Do they sell value verses price and do they sell accessories, add-ons, and additional options which help the customer? What size sales do they make?)
  • Closing % (Do they close sales opportunities at an acceptable level in your industry.)

As you focus on getting incomes and the customer satisfaction higher and higher, you will find your language and strategies change. You will become more customer and rep centric and you will improve many other numbers for vendors and corporate bean counters. You will win as a sales leader when the people you serve win!

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