Sales Management by Metrics: Part 1

We live in a world of in a world filled with data.  This over abundance of metrics puts exra burden on managers to both understand the math behind whats going on, as well as the people that they need to be managed.  This is a tall order.

To integrate metrics into your style of management, as well as get sales people bought into the use of metrics in their day to day, I’ve found the following steps to be helpful.

It may seem basic, but getting the foundation right is important.  Sales reps don’t always see how the metrics tie back to them, or how they can help them (after all, they rarely have time to do much more than sell).  A strong manager can help paint this picture.

How to set the foundation for the use of metrics on your team:

  • Be curious
  • Observe
  • Dig into the numbers
  • Look at the trend
  • Understand averages
  • Diagnosis
  • Selling the diagnosis
  • Prescription / Solution

The Details:

Be Curious

It all starts with curiosity, an initial question that a sales leader wants to the know about.  How many phone calls does it really take to get a new prospect on the phone?  Who’s really the decision maker in these orgs we are calling?  Why do so many of our clients not show up for their meetings / demos?  How do inbound clients find out about us?


I know it’s obvious, but the first place you should be looking for the answers is your team.  Look up from your computer and take a look at what they are doing in regards to the question you’ve asked.  Headset them to figure out what people are doing on the phones.  Spend time with them as the prep their call sessions or prospect for leads.  This is the only way to learn whats going on.

Go one step further and ask the sales people on your team what they think the answer is.  You’d be surprised how often they know more than their managers.

Look at the activity numbers

Even the perfect manager can not see 100% of what’s happen on their team through observation alone.  Using activity numbers will give you a different perspective into the observations you’ve been making as a manager.

Ex. If you suspect someone is calling the same clients too often, simply look at the numbers in your CRM to confirm this suspicion, don’t just act without the confirmation.

Look at the trend

Even the perfect manager who knows each of his/her team members activity numbers by heart can’t get the full picture of what’s going on.  You need to look at those metrics over a longer time span to get the context on what those numbers mean.  Look at those numbers by day, by week, by month, by quarter.  They may tell a different tale, or they’ll confirm the suspicion.