How To Make Your Salespeople Better: Don’t Be “That Guy”

Everyone loves a solid pipeline but how accurate are your sales forecasts? As salespeople, odds are, you have to make 50 dials and 3 hours of talk time and by doing so, increase revenue and market share, grow your client base, and exceed the goals set for you at the beginning of the year. Sales leaders clearly aim for and manage to results; however, activity based management…the dreaded call stats, are a necessary evil. Without them, it would be impossible for sales leaders and management to keep a pulse on the effectiveness of their sales teams and accurately identify their top guns and their weak links. That being said, it is CRITICAL for management to not lose sight of the results. Don’t be a slave to the call stats, don’t be that guy. Rather, focus on training your teams to identify quality opportunities and move the sales needle with intentional, value-added touches. So how do we ensure our people are working hard without blindly following stats, especially for our more advanced team members, who take a more consultative approach? The Problem with Call Stats The ugly truth about call stats is that they measure for quantity, not quality. Uglier still, it’s that it’s usually the worst type of employee who learns to manipulate and game the system. Let’s say that the minimum expectation for your inside sales team is 50 dials and 3 hours of talk time. Given your employees are putting in a mandatory 8 hour day, this should be a non-issue. Regardless, I’m sure you’ve heard countless stories or seen first hand, that one guy who’s been calling the same disconnected number all week and this other chick who talked to her boyfriend about happy hour plans for that last hour on Friday afternoon. The saddest part about it is that last week’s call stat report shows those two on the leaderboard! Pipeline + Activity Tracking & Updates Now, I know you know better than to read that report as it seems because, at the same time, you’re also keeping a close eye on your team’s pipelines. How can we make your job and the jobs of your team members easier AND provide a simple, repeatable process that will help new employees ramp faster? Institute and monitor a Salesforce (or other CRM) opportunity conversion process! Lindsey Barlow, a Certified Salesforce Administrator at Newfangled, wrote an excellent article to help get you started. Take the time to customize the Opportunity Stage field to each step in your specific sales process, for example: Opp Qualification, Initial Call, Web Demo, Contract Out, Closing, Closed Won, Closed Lost, Closed No Decision. Train your employees to live and die by logging their opportunities, and watch your sales soar.  Sales reps and management alike can pull reports or run consoles to build your daily call lists and evaluate your sales team. Measure With A Sliding Scale Salespeople are like snowflakes – there are no two that are completely alike. It’s not uncommon to have a rockstar rep, who slings your product and can close quota crushing deals, but they rarely make 30 calls a day, let alone the minimum of 50. Does that mean they deserve to get the ax? Should employees be punished for working smarter, not harder? If a member of your team carves out an hour each day to plan their work and then work their plan, should they get a slap on the wrist for that call-less hour? NO! If there is a hard and fast bar set, it should be quota-based, not activity-based. If someone blasts out 100 emails each morning and then spends their phone time giving 5 hour-long demos, common sense dictates, they shouldn’t have to stay until 9 PM just to hit their 50 dials. Rather, measure activity based on a sliding scale – here’s an example:

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 Don’t lose sight of the big, the important picture. Call stats absolutely serve a purpose but to what end? Don’t forget to measure the end as well!


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.