This question was foremost on my mind for a number of years as a sales & business manager.
Sales teams are the growth engine for many businesses and from my experience measuring sales capability is not as easy as it might seem.
As a sales manager the answer I cam up with was a series of field visits with my team, spending time with customers seeing my team in action. It took me a while to get used to ‘sales coaching’ and not ‘joining in’ on the customer meetings and conversations with my team. It wasn’t until I learned how to step back, listen and observe that I was able to truly ‘coach’ my team.
Even during those coaching visits I found my views were distorted by my own experiences and personal views on how sales calls should be conducted. My preferences were impacting my objectivity. With practice I was able to develop a less biased coaching style, supporting and helping my team to find their own way to build confidence, improve performance and results. There was often a time lag between my coaching discussions, the sales teams acceptance of the need to change and the action they took to make those changes.
My own sales experience has been mixed, during my first 2 years in sales I had no training on how to sell to customers. I was taught the company product range, the catalogue, pricing and was given the 11 yellow pages for my territory (yes that really was how we did it back then). I had a hard time figuring out how to engage customers, how I should be pitching the products, identifying buying signals and closing sales. It didn’t even occur to me that I should be asking questions about their business to make myself more relevant! It took my nearly 3 years in sales before I truly understood the value of question and listening.
Later on in my career, I was fortunate that I worked for a large company and we had resources available to support sales team growth and development and for me personally and for the sales teams I led it made a significant impact. I saw my sales manager role as a performance coach, helping my team to fine tune their approach to sales.
When I finally left the corporate world and founded Focus4growth I started working with sales teams to implement principles, models and tools I’d developed during my 25 years of sales, business development and leadership positions. I started each programme with a series of interviews with the sales teams from the businesses I was working with, asking key questions about performance, sales process, strengths, development areas and gaps to be filled. Over the course of 3 years (and hundreds of interviews) there were a number of themes that kept reoccurring. I kept thinking to myself “there must be a better way to measure sales effectiveness than 1:1 interviews”.
In 2019, I started documenting the key areas for sales effectiveness and development and I ended up with 5 key areas; Growth Mindset, Preparing for Success, Customer Focus, Sales Process & Managing relationships. From these 5 key areas I was able to create assessment statements for each and a 5 point scale for ranking. Once I had the compete list I sense-checked them with a number of my clients who were able to validate them and made excellent suggestions for additional statements, which I included. I then found a hosting platform that could manage the statements in a ‘scorecard’ format. I tested again with a number of clients and the response was very positive, once they shared with their teams they were able to see clearly which were the primary areas for development across a sales team.
At the same time I was also writing the book Inspire, Influence, Sell – master the psychology skills and systems of the world’s best sales teams (shameless plug – you can buy it on Amazon here 😊 ) and of course running transformational sales training programmes with my clients. “Where did you find the time?” I hear you ask….. I often ask myself the same thing. But seriously, that’s a question for another article…. Coming soon.
So, I managed to create direct alignment between the scorecard assessment, the Inspire, Influence, Sell book, the Inspire Sales Academy Training & Coaching programme and our Sales Toolkit which clients use for implementation, adoption and team coaching. All made possible with the support and feedback of my amazing clients and their teams. Today it’s a seamless solution that creates a simply brilliant experience for sales teams. The starting point in the process…. measuring sales effectiveness with the Sales Acceleration Scorecard.
If you’d like to make a start and measure yours or your teams sales effectiveness you can use the scorecard free of charge, yes…. free of charge and so can your team.
We hear time and again that it’s one of the best ways to create awareness of performance strengths and opportunities within sales teams. So much so that we’ve had more than 2,500 sales professionals use the scorecard. If you’d like to put it (and yourself) to the test, here’s the link:
Feel free to share it with your colleagues and teams and if you’re brave enough challenge them to share their scores and you share yours. The caveat….. be honest when you’re completing it.
When we work with clients and their teams we have an additional tools that helps us collate their scores against the average benchmark scores of everyone who has completed the scorecard to date.
Here are the average scores of all participants so far, you can use these as a comparison for yourself and your team:
Overall Score – 66%
Growth Mindset – 72%
Customer Focus – 66%
Preparing for Success – 66%
Connecting with People – 64%
Sales Process – 64%
So there you have it, there is at least one way to measure sales effectiveness and in the experience I’ve had with my clients and their teams, it’s a great way to create awareness and kick start growth for your team.
I’d love to hear your feedback and your scores. Feel free to get in touch.
You can learn the in-depth principles of the INSPIRe method in the best-selling books ‘Inspire, Influence, Sell’. If you’re in a leadership role you will find ‘Coaching Leaders’ equally valuable. If you prefer a more hands on approach to learning, you can enrol on the Inspire Sales Academy course here. If you’d like to contact Justin directly his email is [email protected].
You can connect with Justin and access some of the Focus4growth resources here:
Wishing you every success with your growth in 2023.
Whether you’re new to sales, an experienced sales professional or a leader looking to improve the consistency and performance of your sales organisation, you’ll gain immense value from these articles, the scorecard and the INSPIRE, INFLUENCE, SELL book. Our systems map out a memorable sales process over several steps and also include mastery content for each stage of the system, which will give you deeper insight and expertise. The combination of foundational and specialist material ensures that no matter where you’re starting from, you can become a skilled salesperson.
You might want to work through these articles at the foundational level and return to the Sales Mastery sections once you get to grips with the overall system and have developed your skills. Each article starts with an experience story in which I share relevant, valuable anecdotes. If you prefer to dive straight into the sales system, you can skip that content. These articles are designed to be accessible and flexible, so that you get the most out of them.
As you work through each stage, I suggest you make notes in a journal or notebook. This will help you learn and adopt the content.