Posted by: drewdice | April 1, 2011

You get what you measure, but…..

….are you getting the outcomes you desire?

In talking with a client the other day, the conversation turned to an all too familiar topic. She said – “I don’t understand why I keep having these same challenges”. The challenges to which she referred?

– high turnover in sales people – they just don’t seem to be able to, in her words, “hire the right people who can be consistently successful”
– sales people not hitting quota
– a culture on the team that lacked collaboration and connection
– people were working long hours without producing desired results

What was really confusing to her was that she had set up all kinds of dashboards, metrics, policies and guardrails to ensure sales success, such as:

– dashboards so sales people, sales managers and company executives could track and measure progress towards sales revenue goals, appointment goals, and new lead goals
– formulas that unpacked how to get to sales quota – i.e. Average deal size, number of deals needed, sales cycle time, opportunity conversion ratios
– measurement of number of appointments scheduled and meetings held each week

You get it – she and her team were clear on how the sales people were measured, and the visibility was there to provide timely information. So, why wasn’t her team and organization (and people) getting the sales results they desired?

It goes like this – while you may get what you measure, are you measuring the right things? Quota attainment is a lagging indicator. Sales revenue generated is a lagging indicator. Should they be measured? Absolutely. Should they be the primary focus of measurement and the single barometer of a sales person’s success? No way. This, in my opinion, is where many companies, including the client I refer to in this post, fall down. What is worse is that I don’t know that it is her fault – she is a by-product of systems and cultures in which she was raised – where sales people are defined by their numbers. What other options are there, you might ask?

So, I won’t give you all the answers (what fun would that be?), but, to start you thinking, consider this:

There are ways to stop the failure cycle on your sales teams – to reduce the variability in success among regions and reps – I promise you it can happen for you. Start by asking yourself, and your key team members, this question:

– Other than quota attainment, what are the true outcomes of value that a sales person in your company should produce?

Let me know what you come up with – we’ll continue the discussion here, but if would want to take the conversation “offline”, send me a note.


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