With more data available and greater sales analytics capabilities than ever before, millions of businesses are embracing new metrics across all areas of their operations. But what effects are they having? And what can newcomers to the world learn from the early adopters of these sales tools?
In my quest to learn more about real-world application of modern sales metrics, I had the opportunity to talk to Paul Garner of tier-one mobile aggregation company, Dialogue, about his experiences managing his sales team. Here’s what he had to share:
When I first arrived at the company there was no dedicated CRM system in use. The way sales were managed was completely outdated. People couldn’t properly share information on prospects, it was nearly impossible to identify which prospects were ready to buy, and salespeople that left often took months of work with them.
Metrics, business intelligence, and dashboards have now completely transformed that. We don’t just have better visibility of sales performance, pipelines, and progress towards targets—we’re also able to identify key internal and market trends and course-correct appropriately.
The biggest changes we’ve applied have been in account segmentation. We’re now recording much more data about our prospects, and using different formulas and weightings to gain a clear picture of which ones are truly worth pursuing in the first place. We can then compare those credentials to compare prospects against existing customers, and determine who’s the most likely to buy from us and become a valuable account.
Unfortunately prospect data can be quite difficult to come by in our industry, so we really only look at some top-line things such as revenue, employee numbers, and industry type, just to ensure that they are as close as possible to our most valuable existing customers.
Historically, the issue we had was that the only transparent metric of that kind was gross margin, and depending on the region and market conditions, it wasn’t always truly indicative of performance.
Now we’re using a leaderboard based on the uptake of modern methodologies. We are measuring a number of different criteria and KPIs, and the winners receive a bonus. By using this system, we can incentivise our transition to modern sales practices, and easily see who needs some extra help.
I think you have to be very careful. You have to make sure that anything you put out there that’s going to make some people feel good and others feel bad, is done so only in situations where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.
He’s always asking how the forecasts are looking, what the volumes are like, and where the margins are going to end up by the end of the month—it’s the more strategic stuff that he’s worried about.
But, where he once relied on me to relay important sales and trend data, Salesforce will give him the figures he needs directly through his dashboard. That in turn is going to free him up to ask deeper questions, such as how we can increase projected figures—the nature of our discussions will fundamentally change.
Because of the relentless nature of the business we’re in, the ones I find myself tracking the most are the traffic and margin trends.
Traffic metrics don’t just show the revenue we are currently generating, they help us identify clients with declining traffic usage, and help us to step in and ask questions to help save that account and restore it to the level it was at previously.
I think that metrics are very important to the success of modern businesses. By showing the impacts of various actions and activities through metrics, you make them real to people. For example, we’ve recently experienced some platform issues that were taking a while to resolve. But, when we showed the tech teams the impact that was having on our performance, they realised just how important it was and were motivated to find a solution faster.
Excellent Paul, I’m glad to hear that metrics are helping you get ahead and adapt to the modern sales environment. Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me.
You can delve deeper in to utilising sales metrics to increase your company performance and get more insights from Paul Garner and other UK & Ireland sales leaders by downloading The Sales Metrics That Matter eBook.