The One Group Missing Out On The Benefits of Sales Data

Sales people are not leveraging the benefits of good sales data.

Don’e believe me?

Off the top of your head, can you tell me your exact close rate?  Can you tell me how much is in your pipeline right now?  How much is scheduled to close by month for the next 3 months? Can you tell me where you are to quota for the month, how about the quarter? Can you tell me where you are to quota for the year? How much more do you have to sell? What’s the gap?

What about your average sales cycle?  Do you know that? Do you know your average deal size? How much do you know about your personal selling stats? How do you use data to help you get to quota?

Here’s the deal. We’re sneaking up on 2016 planning, and if you’re like most salespeople, you don’t know them and you DO NOT include those numbers in your plans or reviews.

We are inundated by management’s request for data. Management is constantly asking us for numbers, they are constantly looking for the data, they use it every day, but for some reason, salespeople don’t.

I am baffled by how little salespeople know about their own stats, their own numbers.

Yes, most salespeople know their number to date, their quota and how much more they have to sell, but that’s where the data train stops for most sales people and that’s a problem.

When I was in H.S. I played football. I loved it. I was good enough to always start, sometimes just one way (defense) other times two ways (defense). Sometimes, I played “all-ways” and played on special teams too. I would never come off the field.

I was an unsophisticated kid. My dad didn’t play sports or know much about them. So, my frame of reference was pretty remedial. It was did I get to play, did I make touchdowns or interceptions. That’s about it. I didn’t understand the game. I didn’t know anything about YAC (yards after contact). I didn’t know much about yards per carry. I wasn’t aware of total rushing yards, or yards per game. I was cluless to the metrics and data around being a running back. The other running back on the team, Darren, was very well aware of them. I remember he had a 200-yard game (which at the time, I had no idea if that was good or not) and at the end mentioned he had a goal for that year to have a 200-yard game. Before he said anything, I had no idea that something like that mattered. I didn’t understand the game.

I was a good running back. Darren was injured one game and I played the entire game at running back. I had 149 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.  It was a good game. Unfortunately, at the time, that didn’t mean very much to me.  I just knew I scored two touchdowns.

During my H.S. football career, had I understood the data and how it all came together, I would have been even better. I could have focused on improving my yards per carry. I could have improved my YAC. Looking back, I would have killed to understand the power of that stat.  I could have elevated my game to a whole new level, because I would have had the data to help me improve. I wasn’t as good as I could have been.

Sales is the same way and as sales people, our ability to get better is steeped in our understanding of the data. The number and stats act as insight to where we are strong and where we need improvement. Like a dashboard in a car, it lets us know where to take action.

Sales people, don’t let management be the only ones who use data. Build your own dashboard and track your own metrics. Focus on your close rate, your average pipeline size per month, average times in pipeline, etc. Find your YAC, your yards per carry, etc. and work on improving them. Data can be your friend if you let be.

If you’re not sure what to track, I have a list of the 6 killer individual sales stats for salespeople to measure their success.  You can check them out here.

Whatever you do, don’t forgo the data. It can make a difference.