5 Steps to Crush Your Numbers as a Sales Leader

Sales Coaching | Managing Performance

Are you a sales leader looking to improve your sales team’s performance?

Most sales leaders would say yes – they are on a never-ending quest to improve the sales process, sharpen their team’s selling skills, and close more business.

The problem is, there are so many sales books, videos, and blogs out there promising quick results – if you just follow this proprietary technique or magic formula (which you typically have to pay to unlock or hire a consultant to implement).

But what if you didn't need to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel every quarter? 

What if the greatest chances of success for your sales team hinged more on your ability as a leader to manage incremental change and implement small adjustments and improvements over time?

The truth is, the most successful sales leaders have figured out ways to identify problems and issues in real-time and make minor adjustments to course-correct. They aren’t trying to re-engineer or transform the whole organization every quarter. They’re taking action to make a few things better at a time.

Your goal as a leader should be to figure out what levers you can pull to create the change you need.

Consider as a sales leader, what can you do to:

  • Add 10% more meetings per month (1-2 meetings)?
  • Improve win rates by 10%?
  • Grow average deal size by 10%?
  • Reduce discounting on 10% of your deals?

If everyone on your team made all of those improvements, you would absolutely crush your numbers. But even if you focus on one or two of those categories, you will see a huge increase in the performance of your sales team.

Here are five steps to help you improve team performance. 

Step 1: Pick one or two performance improvement areas to focus on

Based on your experience as a sales leader and sales professional, you probably have a pretty good idea of where you can make the biggest improvement on your team’s overall results. Once you identify a few areas, leverage available data and insights from the team to validate your assumptions and determine which priority to focus on first. Quantifying the impact of the performance gap can really help highlight the significance (how often does this happen, how much is it costing the business in terms of sales and profits?)

Step 2: Analyze the root cause of this problem and determine why it is happening

Before jumping into solutions, it’s important to determine why this gap in performance exists. For example, is it because there’s a skill gap on the team?  Is there a problem with the sales process? Is there a technology challenge that is hampering the sales team’s efforts? Being curious, and really understanding the why will help point to the right solution to put in place to address the issue.

Step 3: Provide training and coaching to improve the skills necessary to execute

Once the underlying causes have been addressed, ensure the team is trained on the new processes and has the fundamental selling skills to execute the tasks at hand.  Don’t assume the issue will be addressed overnight, but ensure adequate coaching and reinforcement are provided to facilitate lasting behavior change.

Step 4: Shine a spotlight on the metrics you’re using to track improvement

Once the improvement area has been identified and steps are taken to address the gap, highlight specific metrics that you’ll use to track progress. For example, if lack of pipeline is a challenging area, then monitoring new prospect meetings, and pipeline growth may be an appropriate leading indicator. If discounting pricing has been a problem, then focusing on deal margin and price concessions may be appropriate. Consider creating a simple dashboard to show progress in these specific areas. Monitor progress and make improvements visible to everyone

Step 5: Celebrate success when achieving an improvement in the metric you’re tracking

Be sure to highlight and celebrate success when the metrics improve, even if by a nominal amount. The goal is to make incremental improvements over time, which will ultimately affect your team’s performance.

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About Ray Makela

Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.