We never called them KPI’s, but instead our CSF’s – our Critical Success Factors – they were essential to me and my colleagues’ sales success. Working just as hard, but not necessarily harder, but knowing my ratios, I was able to work on the areas I needed to improve – my presentations to sales ratio and my average order value. By making slight changes in each, my sales increased by 130% the next year and 100% the year after that.
Although I took this ratio tracking for granted 20+ years ago, it is extremely rare to find a company doing it correctly if at all. With numerous CRM systems currently available, companies are spending thousands of pounds, if not millions, on software that does not do the most important thing – it doesn’t give your salespeople these Critical Success Factors showing them where to focus to improve.
Picture it, at the end of every month sales managers spend hours having to put figures together for the board to make corporate decisions, often tweaking them to show the best picture. What would be more useful would be if they tracked the four to five Critical Success Factors that each salesperson can use to improve their performance. Some example CSFs would be:
CSF’s do not lie if tracked correctly. No professional sportsperson in this day and age would accept not tracking their CSF’s so why has the sales world avoided it? One answer is because it can be time consuming if there’s no easy way to track it. Secondly, many sales leaders were promoted into the role because they themselves were top salespeople. It is often not in their nature to track other people’s stats. You can do this very easily by creating an excel spreadsheet that does the calculations. It can be time consuming but at least you will have a tool that shows how each salesperson can improve without just making more.
The main point of this sales message is that sales needs to stop being perceived as a black art and if you are not already doing it, start tracking your individuals’ sales ratios.