As a manager in sales, you are ultimately responsible for sales. What did we sell today or this month or this quarter or this year? That’s the ultimate scorecard. But if we're going to be effective at managing salespeople, we can't just be looking at results. Because unless you're in a one call close business where you literally walk out, meet a prospect, and close them, there's a lag time between the behaviors that we take and the results we see.
It’s not uncommon for me to coach someone who has a three, six, or twelve-month selling cycle. If we're, as a manager, doing some form of “what did you sell today”, and our focus is on what we sold this week or this month, for many of us that is the wrong end of the problem. It’s really hard to coach somebody if we say, “go sell more”. What we need to focus on are the behaviors that are going to lead to those sales.
It's different for everyone. It may be the number of new attempts. It might be the referrals that we ask for. It might be measuring FAE’s (first appointment ever). It could be something totally different in your business.
What are those key early indicators that you’re not tracking now that you ought to be encouraging in your salespeople? Those things that in your selling cycle, three, six, nine, twelve months down the road, will ultimately lead to sales. One of the best practices we see is a Sandler rule:
Focus on behavior, not results.
Don’t take that overly literally. Of course, results matter. But the thing we can impact from a sales management perspective through supervising, accountability and coaching are those early indicating behaviors.
For you, what are the early leading behaviors that you should be tracking?