Get insight and motivation with these three key numbers.
Weekly sales meetings. Monthly performance dashboards. Quarterly action plan reviews. Sometimes it can seem as if more time is spent developing reports than creating a new customer. If what you're measuring isn't changing behavior and performance, this may well be the case.
You've likely heard the saying, “You can't manage what you don't measure." That's true, especially when it comes to sales. Every good salesperson will tell you they know exactly where they stand regarding performance and opportunities, even though what is measured may vary from person to person.
The purpose of data in sales is twofold. First, it helps to gain clarity around past performance. Secondly, it provides insights into what activities need to be ramped up or what skills need to be improved to enhance outcomes.
Here are three important data points that can provide insight on past performance and motivate future activities:
1) 90-day pipeline. This is one of the most important indicators of future success. Anemic pipelines lead to poor sales performance and lagging revenue. Focusing on how much revenue is in play within a 90-day window ensures producers are laser-focused on meeting quarterly goals.
If a producer's annual revenue goal is $100,000, that means each quarter they will need to sell $25,000 in new business revenue. Based on the producers' closing ratio, you can determine how much revenue needs to be in the pipeline to meet the quarterly goal.
If the 90-day pipeline number is inadequate, producers must focus on prospecting activities, such as procuring, nurturing leads and piquing curiosity with effective messaging to drive more interest in a first meeting.
2) First appointments. The more first appointments, the greater the likelihood of meeting revenue targets. But how many first appointments a producer should strive to create depends on their closing ratio, as well as other factors, such as revenue per account and the characteristics of the opportunity—are they a good fit and does the producer have experience selling to the buyer's profile?
Assuming the producer is qualifying their leads effectively and targeting accounts appropriately, a simple rule of thumb is two new first appointments per week. Ideally, producers will meet with eight to 10 prospective accounts per month, eliminating those opportunities where the prospect is either not a good fit or not curious about engaging in a business relationship.
3) Closing ratio. While the number of at-bats is important, also key is a producer's ability to close opportunities. I am always surprised that few producers track their closing ratio. Closing ratios can easily be determined by dividing the number of closed opportunities by the number of prospects the producer has taken through a completed sales process.
A low closing ratio is an indicator the producer is not working efficiently or that they need to strengthen their sales skills.
As producers mature in their role and technical skills, gain clarity around the characteristics of their perfect client type and execute effective messaging campaigns, closing ratios should increase.
“Keep it simple" is a great motto when it comes to measuring performance. Select two to three key data points, then focus on activities that must be addressed in order to move the needle to superior performance. Don't fall into the trap of ignoring data and assuming performance will improve. The numbers don't lie.
Susan Toussaint is vice president, Growth Solutions, U.S. with ReSource Pro. For over a decade, Susan has been training, coaching and developing programs to help insurance professionals overcome barriers to organic growth. In 2006, she started Injury Management Partners, and in 2009, she co-founded Oceanus Partners with her partner, Frank Pennachio. Today, she is a full-time trainer and consultant focused on developing products and training that help clients attract, acquire and retain profitable, right-fit business.