Sales Metrics and the Burden of Proof

We recently spoke to a roomful of business owners and sales executives about how to fix what ails their efforts to grow revenue. This was one of our questions:

“Have you ever hired a new salesperson, then got a sense within the first week or two that something was seriously off? Maybe you saw something or overheard something that seemed to contradict everything you’d come to believe about the candidate during the hiring process. Or maybe you discovered a huge disconnect between how they described their approach to the job, and how they actually started approaching the job once you hired them.”

After a few sheepish sideways glances, nearly every hand went up.

“Leave your hand up if that person eventually surprised you and became an important producer for you.”

Loud laughter, as every hand came down.

“Now for the hard part. Raise your hand if that person was still with you four months later.”

It was hard to tell definitively, but there seemed to be as many hands raised as in response to the first question.

“Keep them up if they were still employed after six months.”

A few hands came down, but only a few.

“Nine months?”

A few more.

“A year?”

No exaggeration: At least half of the executives kept their hands in the air, meaning their problem salespeople, who had announced they would be problems within days of being hired, held onto their jobs for at least a full year without evolving into a productive team member.

You can’t make this stuff up. The same thing happens whenever we speak on improving sales. And nothing has changed since we started asking that question in 1999.


Stop Wanting It Too Much.

The problem is companies don’t know how to use metrics to keep them from throwing good money after awful.

Depending on your industry, it may be unrealistic to expect newly hired producers to make an immediate dent on your sales leaderboard. But in the absence of meaningful statistics that indicate progress – counts of observable, measurable behaviors that every new salesperson should be practicing – your realistic patience with a new employee can dig an expensive money pit.

And if you’re vulnerable to their plausible sounding explanations – if you want it too much – that money pit can quickly become a sinkhole.

Coaching for Profit builds sales metrics specific to your business that empower you to keep score on the progress of any new sales hire.

Does that mean you cut loose anyone who falls short? Maybe not. But it it does shift the burden of proof within that decision. It forces you to build a case for why someone should be kept on board despite falling behind on achievable metrics appropriate for someone at their level of development.

When managers say they want to improve performance, what they really want is to improve results.

But you can’t manage a result.

You can only manage what people do, the behavior that creates results.

Coaching for Profit customizes metrics designed to help you do just that. And they arrive in real time, while you can still influence the outcome of the race. Not at the end of the month, or the end of the quarter, when it’s too late to do anything but keep score.

Coaching for Profit. Our metrics are different. Our results are different.

Call us to experience the difference.