I started my career at the DuPont company a long, long, long time ago as a Technical Sales Representative. [My parents were so proud!] On the very first day of training, the national sales Director – Jim Thorn – welcomed our three-man training class to the company. To this day, I still remember his words, “I don’t care if you make only one sales call a week, just hit your sales goal!” True story.
And while it’s a bit of an extreme example, that philosophy still reigns supreme in the world of sales today. As a sales rep or seller-doer, exceeding your sales goal IS the goal! And that’s great… but it’s your selling activity that makes it happen. Send no emails, make no phone calls, send no proposals and – I guarantee – you won’t sell anything.
So, with all due respect to my old sales director… ‘Activity breeds results.’ The more activity you have as a sales rep, the more sales you’ll make. To be fair, I think Jim’s point really was, “Hit your sales goal and we won’t worry about your activity level… but if you don’t hit your goal, we’ll micromanage you and your selling activity.” And you know what? That’s fair!
And whether you’re a sales manager with a team of seller-doers or you’re an independent consultant, keeping an eye on sales activity is critical. But, it’s not just about the quantity of activity, it’s also about the quality of that activity within the framework of your sales process. Let’s imagine you have a simple sales process that looks like this…
Sending cold emails leads to zoom calls which lead to capabilities presentations which lead to RFPs which lead to new clients. [Don’t we wish it was that easy?!] And within each of those steps, more is certainly better.
Now, imagine that there are two seller-doers at your firm. You send 50 cold emails in a week… and so does your colleague. Your colleague schedules 10 zoom calls as a result of the emails… and you schedule just 2. It’s not just a quantity issue then, is it? This measurement would suggest that you need to improve your cold emailing activities (writing, targeting, subject lines, etc.)… and that’s the point of measurement. It can help you determine if and where you’re having trouble and narrow in on the issue so it can be addressed.
Even if you’re a solopreneur, tracking your sales activity is important. Imagine if 30% of your capability presentations resulted in an RFP. Not bad, huh? But, what if you spent extra time rehearsing and improving your presentation skills… and got that up to 35 or 40%? What would that mean to your practice?
Bottom line… as a sales rep or seller-doer, your primary objective is to exceed your sales goal. And the way you get there is via your ‘sales activity’ – lots of it and executed at the highest quality level.
OK, last one… imagine you are exceeding your sales goals AND measuring the quantity and quality of your sales activities. How much better can you become? How many more projects will you take on as a result? Sounds like a win-win to me!
Good luck and good selling!