Posted by Danielle LaVigne ● Mon, Sep 19, 2011 @ 08:09 AM

Focus on Sales Activity

describe the imageI enjoyed reading another great post by Anthony Iannarino last week, The Case for Activity Goals and Metrics.  If you're not subscribing to his RSS feed you're really missing some great sales and sales management insight.  In this article he makes the case for maintaining momentum by always staying focused on sales activity.  His advice is similar to what we often tell our sales force development clients -- if you decide to take a day off from prospecting and business development today, you're also deciding to take a day off from closing new business in x weeks where x = your typical sales cycle.

I agree with everything Anthony Iannarino says in this article and would add the following thoughts:
  1. Narrow your focus - pick just two (2), maybe three (3) key metrics to track and focus on.
  2. Stick with it - once you identify 2-3 key metrics to track, stick with them for at least 90 days so you can see trends.
  3. Proactively plan each week and each day - the 2-3 key metrics should be central to planning your daily and weekly goals.  If you don't put your sales activity focus on your calendar it won't happen as you'll fill your time with other activities.
  4. Change your focus when needed - it's ok to change what you track from time to time. For example:
  • If you're a new sales person or in a new territory you're probably focused on things like "conversations with decision makers" and "first appointments."  As you begin to fill your calendar, knowing the number of "conversations with decision makers" may not be as important (but having tracked it for at least 90 days you'll have a sense of how many dials it takes to have a conversation and how many conversations you need to have to book an appointment), so maybe you track "first appointments" and "qualified proposals."
  • If you're in an established territory and have a solid book of business, you may track things like "year-over-year revenue growth" or "number of referrals" or "cross sales opportunities."
For sales managers keeping a narrow focus on the 2 (maybe 3) metrics that matter will make your life a lot easier.  It keeps the messaging for the team very clear and allows you to focus on different metrics for each sales person (depending on where they are in their account, territory or career development). 

What are your two (2) to three (3) key sales metrics right now?  Are they the right ones?  Will they help you reach your goals this quarter?  This year?  Do you need to refocus and recommit to them?  Why not start right now, today?

Topics: pipeline, Listening Skills, sales process, Sales Management, goal setting, sales manager, strategy, time management