In Management by Metrics: Part 1 I talked about the path to a metrics based management environment and outlined the first couple of steps.
To recap, these are the steps I’ve used successfully to build a culture of management by metrics:
Now you’ve looked in detail at some activity numbers, and you’ve taken a step back to see these numbers over time. You might have some suspicions, but what does it all mean? Is it a good thing, or is it a bad thing? Here’s where you need to have averages to make heads or tails of things. Figure out the average across your team for that metric. Look across the other sales teams at your company to get averages for them as well.
At this point, you’ve got a very powerful tool. You can use averages to give a sales team member feedback in terms of where they stand compared to their team and the org.
The key to diagnosing is having as much information as possible. Managers love to jump the gun and diagnose a problem too quickly. This often leads to lots of coaching efforts being placed at the wrong step in the process and both the manager and sales person loose time.
Use your observations / feedback from the sales person / sales activity numbers / trends / averages to pin-point the issue.
Selling the Diagnosis
It’s not enough that you as the manager are convinced you’ve identified the issue. The sales person in question needs to be convinced. Like any good sale, practice your pitch and run the diagnosis by your fellow sales managers or top performers. Then ask your team member what they think about the topic, and see whether the could believe your diagnosis before handing it down from on high.
If they don’t believe the diagnosis, then you’re going to have to do some selling. Most likely you’ll have to step them through some of the observations and metrics you’ve used to come to the same conclusion.
Now that you have identified the problem, you can start to think about the solution that you will prescribe. This will become it’s own series of posts because its a huge topic, but keep in mind a few key factors:
- there are often multiple solutions to any one problem
- the solution needs to be skill-level appropriate
- the solution needs to be something that sales people with a wide range of skills can re-product
- the solution needs to be easy enough to measure and observe so that everyone involved can recognize the win (if it happens).