Sales Management: How Do You Stack Up?
Use this handy scorecard to gauge your sales effort at year end.
- By Ken Thoreson
- December 01, 2006
Every December, I write down my personal and business goals for the new
year. I also review my goals from the previous year and grade my performance
in meeting them. I've saved these sheets for the past two decades and
found that reviewing them is a telling experience.
At the beginning of this year, I challenged my readers to take a similar
approach to evaluating their companies and targeting overall areas for
improvement (see "How Do You Rate?" January 2006). If you took
the initial quiz, spend a few minutes repeating the exercise to gauge
your progress. If you didn't, consider taking it now to get a big-picture
view of where your organization stands today. Either way, you'll quickly
see where you're doing well and where you still need work. (Look for the
quiz at RCPmag.com, using this FindIT code: HowDoURate.)
Meanwhile, evaluating your current status in 10 specific sales-management
areas is a great way to leap into the new year. Grade your organization
on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. As in the earlier
evaluation, a five rating indicates that you feel you've done everything
possible to excel in that area. A rating of three indicates that you're
making progress in that category. A rating of one means that you know
you're in trouble! Take a moment now to compile your ratings.
Obviously, the results not only indicate how your sales organization
is doing overall, but also identify specific areas you can target for
improvement in the coming year. These areas are all critical for building
high-performance sales teams and increasing revenue predictability-issues
that ultimately affect your entire company.
For that reason, sales executives and business owners alike should know
a few basic numbers-for example, the ratio of potential revenues in the
pipeline to both the defined quotas and the sales actually attained each
month. From tracking this information over six to nine months, you'll
determine your closing ratios-that is, the dollar value of your forecasts
as compared with the actual sales achieved-and the value of the sales
opportunities that you need at the start of each month to attain your
sales quotas. Other critical numbers to know are your win/loss ratio (number
of proposals versus the number
of wins) and the accuracy of each salesperson's monthly forecasts.
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Regardless of how well you scored in which areas, stay tuned to this
column in 2007. I'll touch on many of these topics and on related areas
throughout the coming year. Meanwhile, if you've got sales-related questions
or subjects that you'd like me to address, feel free to e-mail me your
ideas at email@example.com; be sure to put "RCP Selling MS"
in the subject line.
One other New Year's tip:
Make a resolution to avoid the "out of
sight, out of mind" problem in the coming year. Each month, for each
major sales opportunity in your pipeline, create a written plan of tactics
for closing the account. Keep those action plans prominently on display
on your desk or whiteboard. Doing so will help ensure that you're aware
of your important customers and prospects all year long.
Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.