As a sales manager you have a pretty good idea of the tools and techniques it takes to be a successful seller.
Often you can see the behaviours that your top sellers are doing, mostly out of habit, that you’d love to see in your mid and lower range sellers.
These behaviours could be the big obvious macro-behaviours – like getting out of the office, picking up the phone and making calls, but they might also be micro-behaviours, those smaller tips and tweaks that over 100 calls would make an incremental difference.
Examples of micro-behaviours might be:
- tweeting on social media once a day,
- keeping track of customer birthdays,
- checking the industry movers and shakers news,
- exchanging news with a colleague or
- doing extra call preparation.
The micro-behaviours might only result in small improvements for each individual– an extra sale here or there – but as a sales manager, you know that if everyone on the team did them, that would all add up to a sizeable difference.
But, if micro-behaviours are worth considering you still have the problem of how to incentivise them!
After all, most of your sales staff only get out of bed when there’s money to be earned, it’s the nature of the sales function and decades of conditioning from sales motivation programs based on financial rewards.
What you’ll find is that the big behaviours are already heavily incentivised: finding opportunities, making calls and closing deals are all covered within your formal sales incentive scheme. It’s formal because this scheme is compulsory – every seller is measured by it and the commissions they earn are the key reason they come to work.
You may have other mandatory sales motivation programs on top of the commission structure too – for example, I’ve seen many managers circulate a sales leaderboard to encourage competition between sellers and win an additional, local, prize.
But micro-behaviours aren’t valuable enough in themselves to be worth incentivising with cash. So how do you do it and sustainably?
One approach is to run a success tracking program.
In a success tracking program, you help a seller improve professionally by giving good, digital feedback.
To do so, you track, for each seller, the micro-behaviours that you’ve seen work – for example, if you’ve seen digital selling on Twitter make a difference then you can offer to count for each seller how many tweets they did each day.
You can save them the trouble of tracking and reporting the number of tweets themselves.
The exact micro-behaviours you identify will be according to your context and business. Your job as a sales manager is to identify them, make a list and then encourage the rest of the team to apply them.
Don’t forget, you need to offer your team your success tracking service on an optional basis. Don’t position the program as yet another sales incentive scheme or management and monitoring scheme, instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling. By getting better at the micro-behaviours of selling they can be sure that this will improve their results on the macro-behaviours where they are formally rewarded.
instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling.
Another way to look at this is, to think about “lead” and “lag” indicators.
Typically sales remuneration is focused on “lag” indicators – opportunities closed for example. These indicators track how you sellers did in the past but they are difficult for sellers to improve themselves – they can’t magic up sales opportunities to close.
Lead indicators are the KPIs that track behaviours that lead to successful sales (and closed opportunities) – filling the top of your sales pipeline with prospects for example. That’s a surefire way (if not the only way) to increase the number of closed deals that come out the other end.
A good success tracking program focuses on the lead indicators that bring success.
So, how do you go about designing your success tracking program?
You can test success tracking very easily today. These are the steps:
- Decide what do you want to track = what metrics matter? How do you weight them or assign points? You might want to ask your team.
- Who do you want to track? Are you tracking teams or individuals?
- How will you collect the data? Can you automate data collection or will some steps need manual intervention?
- How will you distribute the score to opted-in sellers?
- How will you track your own success in running the program? Has it contributed to a positive change in behaviour among your sellers?
I recommend heading over to Success Tracking University where I present a couple of courses you can take to learn more about Success Tracking.