Are you focussing on one dimensional activity targets?

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Welcome to our third article in this series of 7. We are taking a look at some of the most common sales-related challenges faced by SME leaders last year.

In each article we take one key issue and offer some practical steps to help you to safely navigate through them.

If you are just joining us, you may also want to read:

Challenge #1 – Lack of visibility
Challenge #2 – Measuring the wrong thing

The challenge: Focusing on one-dimensional activity targets which do not translate to revenue or cash

There is no getting away from it – activity is the lifeblood of any sales pipeline. No matter how much sales personnel might protest otherwise. The main pitfall we observe is that the targets set are often arbitrary – “make 50 phone calls a week”, “meet 15 clients a month”.

But this is approach doesn’t make sense. Not only is it demoralising and unsustainable, but it doesn’t align the ‘target holder’ to the sales position (let alone the P&L or cash). Anyone can pick up the phone 50 times or send the same email 200 times, but the quality of the activity will be low and as long as the target is met, there is no ability to challenge any underperformance in the sales results.

How can this be resolved?

Our approach completely flips this on its head. It empowers your sales personnel to play to their strengths, whilst at the same time encouraging them to take ownership of their plan.

Working back from the result you are seeking. Challenge your sales target holders to…

  • Identify the time period in which there is a shortfall in the sales pipeline
  • Quantify the financial size of the gap
  • Describe the opportunities they will seek to generate to addresses the gap
  • Calculate the volume, value and conversion % they will need to meet if they are to achieve the sales target

This means that different personnel can adopt different approaches according to their own selling style as well as the types of opportunities they have a history of winning.

John Joe
Target £900k £900k
Usual sale value £100k  £45k
Historical conversion percentage  50% 40%
Volume of opportunities required 18 50

In the example above, John’s ‘hitting zone’ is for higher value deals, and therefore he needs less of them. Joe however achieves his target by finding more opportunities and converting a greater proportion.

Neither approach is wrong and as you can see, both of these examples yield the same result. It is the ability to empower your staff to set their own targets according to their strengths and selling style that is key if your team are to take ownership.

Look out for our next article – not giving key opportunities due care until it’s too late

Next time, we will explore why the dangers of neglecting strategically important opportunities until it’s too late. Also, we will discuss how opportunity managers can implement a formal assessment to determine the importance of each opportunity.

To receive the rest of our key challenges facing SME leaders in 2018 (along with other helpful sales-related tips) directly to your inbox, subscribe to our Members List.

Do you have the tools you need for 2019?

BMC has provided sales performance services to business leaders and stakeholders for over 15 years. We quickly get clarity over your businesses real position, then focus on the areas which will have the most immediate impact on sales performance.

Contact our team today to learn more about how you can achieve better visibility of your business’s sales pipeline and lead your team to success in 2019.

About the Author

Sales_Specialist

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