How Sales KPIs Can Ruin Your Sales
Managing a team of Field Based Sales Reps can throw up many different challenges as we endeavor to hit those ever increasing sales targets. Most sales managers will have a mixture of Sales KPIs they are working with, which will no doubt include some activity based targets. A critical success factor in Inside Sales, for example, would be the number of dials made, and the equivalent for Field Based Sales Reps would be the number of visits, or face to face meetings they have. Indeed we always tell our clients there are no prospects or customers in their offices, so get out and start the sales conversations. Unfortunately like most things in sales what seems perfectly simple and sensible, can actually be very bad for business and here’s why.
KPIs drive sales activity, so when we set KPIs such as the number of face to face appointments inside sales people need to arrange, they usually do their best to hit those numbers. However what must also be factored in is the Quality of those meetings, which is just as important as the Quantity of meetings achieved. Equally the actual number of face to face meetings that Field Based Sales Reps attend is important, however the end results achieved, will be decided by the Quality of the meetings.
In order to achieve the correct balance, both Inside and Outside Sales Reps need to agree on what constitutes a Qualified Sales Lead. What qualification criteria should be applied to the sales leads, and what if any would be the exceptions to those criteria. Simple methods such as BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs and Timing) could be applied at a high level, however they will not always work if, for example, prospects are caught early on in their Buying process and have not yet applied internally for Budgets. If Inside Sales manage to secure an hour long meeting with the CEO of a very large account of Strategic importance, most sales people are happy to take the meeting unqualified. There will always be exceptions to the Qualification rules when working on Lead Generation, however given the high cost to the business of Field Based Sales Reps we must stop pushing for sales appointments and instead push to qualify our appointments. Pushing for sales appointments makes us look desperate, unprofessional and damages both our personal brand and our company brand.
Next time you try to make a sales appointment with a prospect try inviting them to visit you at your own place of work and offer to show them around your facility and meet your team. Prospects who are willing to invest the time to visit a vendor are self qualifying themselves. This won’t work for everyone, however our clients have had some amazing success using this simple approach.
Sales KPIs are great at driving sales behaviors however they can also drive the wrong sales behaviors. Hence finding the balance between Quality and Quantity is essential for long term success, as lots of poorly qualified sales appointments will only waste every ones time and money.
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