You can tap into a great number of stand-alone solutions that help to manage and assess sales force performance (144 million Google search results!), but there is one thing that can make them irrelevant. That is, if you opt for customizing the CRM system you already have by adding the functionality in question or leveraging it from out-of-the-box features of your platform.
Why do this? There are common reasons such as to gain managerial control, to reward your team adequately, to know where your company is heading, etc. However, it is also about advanced metrics that go beyond purely quantitative data but can only be sourced within a CRM system, your one-stop depository of everything sales-related.
Now let’s take a look at the subtle yet critical impact of these advanced, qualitative metrics on sales reps’ professional growth and business development in general.
When performance assessment drives growth
In the ideal world, sales reps happily work independently, exceeding their quota on a regular basis with minimum supervision. In the flawed world of ours, sales teams highly depend on the transparency of managerial guidelines and continuous alignment with the department’s general course.
While you need ‘hard’ data like sales volume, calls, new accounts per sales rep etc. to report on overall performance and build sales incentive plans, going deeper into advanced performance indicators can positively influence the ‘wellbeing’ of your team, and here is how.
Performance diagnostics: looking into sales reps’ strengths, weaknesses, problems and successes in an aggregated form can contribute to their professional development, reveal bottlenecks where your sales force struggle the most and help in analyzing lost deals (including sources of leads, reasons, potential lost sales volumes) to identify weak links and step in to address them. For example, if your report shows that Alexa Roberts has lost 4 deals in November because of poor or missed follow-up events, you can intervene.
Best practices: monitoring top performers in action can help to identify approaches and repeated patterns that most of all result in positive outcomes. This way it’s possible to come up with a set of best practices to share with the rest of the department and to gear everyone’s efforts towards better, more aligned performance. For example, recognizing that on-site meetings with customers in Manufacturing result in higher win rates compared to virtual appointments can certainly tweak your team’s behavior.
Employee motivation: unlocking certain thresholds (for example, reaching the average of 7 working days between sales pipeline stages in a quarter) shouldn’t go unrecognized. When this happens, gamified workflows that award badges or qualify a sales rep for a giveaway can serve to drive employees’ engagement and boost their motivation to achieve more.
Hiring: if you know what to look for in your sales candidates, hiring gets more efficient with less turnover and higher performance results. Based on your in-depth historic data and sales best practices, you can define selection criteria for candidates (not only sales performance to quota, but also, for example, exceptional lead nurturing skills) and pick your new team members accordingly.
Customizing CRM to make this data work for you
To assess your sales team performance efficiently, detailed and meaningful data is key. It also includes analyzing non-quantifiable behavior beyond pure sales numbers.
This is where a properly customized CRM comes in to provide automated reporting at the cross-section of both data types. The good news is, it all can be customized from out-of-the-box features provided by most CRM platforms (including Microsoft Dynamics CRM). What you gain as a result is an aggregated view of both qualitative and quantitative data via custom sales rep performance dashboards.
Ah, data. Sourcing it from across the department can become your worst nightmare unless you call in your CRM system. Its capabilities are suitable for collecting non-quantifiable data via:
- automated workflows (like those illustrating sales pipeline movements by means of manual status updates)
- integration of communication channels (calls, emails, social media messages)
- options to update a customer’s CRM profile with relation-critical details through drop-down variants that are adequate to your business specifics (for example, a ticked-off box like ‘pending decision: customer considering other vendors’ can provide a deeper perspective on the sales rep’s subsequent actions to win the deal)
In this case, it’s all down to entering meaningful details there that don’t really go beyond sales reps’ daily routine. Making it a part of your professional culture and motivating the sales force to follow it can help to ensure adoption of such a new automated approach.
‘Good-to-know’ miscellanea of CRM-based reporting:
- all sales-related data in one place
- customizable cross-link dashboards that can pull measurements from multiple reports
- ability to analyze dynamics and compare historic data
- role-based reporting based on managerial rights
Reports differ, and it takes a deeper look by a sales manager to recognize the ones that can bring in a positive change to a sales department. With a well-tuned CRM system, it gets easier and more transparent with all the required data already stored there.
We’ve provided a brief overview of how looking beyond mere numbers at behavioral and other non-quantifiable metrics can drive better quota achievement, increased productivity and higher employee satisfaction. In a long-term prospect, it contributes to business development that results from reduced turnover and sustained sales.
by Darya Yafimava, ScienceSoft