This article provides specific and practical techniques for measuring the performance of your company’s sales managers.
Perhaps no position in the sales organization has less accountability than the sales manager position—in part because many companies don’t know how to measure sales manager performance.
For example, the primary (and sometimes only) metric most companies use to measure sales managers is “team sales results.” But that’s a mistake. Why? Because when a sales team misses its quarterly number, the focus invariably shifts to one or more salespeople that missed their individual sales forecasts. And so the accountability for poor team results shifts away from the sales manager toward specific underperforming salespeople.
I believe the #1 priority of a sales manager is a daily commitment to improving the team so that consistent double-digit sales growth can be achieved. You see, most salespeople these days want a sales manager to be a coach, not a critic. Someone who identifies where the salesperson is now, communicates what the rep needs to do to improve, and then coaches the salesperson to get better faster.
With that in mind, what measurements can you use to see how well a sales manager is doing at their #1 priority? Here are five ideas:
To determine if you have a problem, examine the online calendars last week for selected sales managers at your company.
What you are looking for is how many appointments the sales manager has hard-wired in their calendar each week for coaching their salespeople.
I can save you the effort and tell you the answer: zero!
Most sales managers take a random approach to sales coaching: they will coach a salesperson when the rep asks for it. Or, when month-end is approaching, the manager will “parachute” in to try and close a deal for the rep. In both instances, a lack of consistent and proactive sales coaching is revealed. Your sales manager has no plan for getting his/her salespeople to their next level. As sales managers get more serious about committing to effective coaching, you will see the number of coaching appointments increase.
Measure the number of individual salespeople at or above their sales quota
If a sales manager has eight salespeople on the team and only two of those reps are at quota, that is not a very healthy sales team. It will be just a matter of time before sales reps quit or get fired. And then the manager has to take over the open sales territory, start interviewing for a replacement and then slowly ramp-up the new hire. It’s a vicious, time-consuming cycle that can burn out your sales managers.
By defining a metric of “# of your reps at or above quota,” you send the message that “team health” is important to your company. And that will result in a higher quantity of sales coaching provided by managers to everybody on their sales teams.
Measure each manager’s win rate on the team’s forecasted sales opportunities
The best sales managers have a plan for coaching the biggest sales opportunities, not just at the end of the sales cycle but throughout the sales process. A metric that compares forecasted to closed deals indicates you expect your sales managers to coach the earlier phases of a buying cycle so they can help ensure that their salespeople have the complete set of selling skills needed to achieve breakthrough sales performance.
Measure the average number of months before a new salesperson achieves monthly quota for the first time.
New salespeople need hands-on coaching and teaching from their sales manager. A slow ramp-up period reveals one of two things: either the sales manager made a bad hiring decision or the sales manager provided lousy coaching to the new-hire.
Take a look at the last five new-hires that your company brought on. How many months did it take before each salesperson achieved his/her monthly quota? Establish a goal going forward, and communicate that goal to your sales managers.
Take our FREE sales coaching assessment
To help jump-start your efforts, take our new 3-minute sales coaching assessment here. After you complete the survey and get your score, we’ll send you a free report to help you interpret the results. That way, you’ll be able to target specific areas of improvement for your sales managers.
Kevin F. Davis is the author of “The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness” and the president of TopLine Leadership. Kevin works with client companies to implement a sales coaching culture that is so essential for achieving consistent double-digit sales growth. Contact Kevin through his website at www.toplineleadership.com