While this highlights the importance of measurement, it should not be lost in the message that the “change” depends on the “what.” Without appropriately linking you metrics to the key drivers of your sales, you may be left chasing down the wrong changes to the wrong issues.
Common reasons for organizations to use data that aren’t fully aligned with their strategy include:
- Simply choosing the metrics that are easily available.
- Not thinking through what really drives sales.
- Diluting the appropriate metrics by emphasizing too many metrics.
- Accepting “standard” metrics as appropriate.
- Not reevaluating metrics as strategy changes.
When you are dealing with a Sales Performance Management dashboard or other means of reporting, the numbers should speak clearly about what is actually going on in your organization. If that message becomes confused by excess or doesn’t communicate what is really important, you aren’t being enabled to manage appropriately. In fact, it may serve as a red herring.
Also, remember that the metrics you work off of are not only there to help inform you, they also serve as an outward projection of your objectives. If a sales rep is held accountable for a metric, they will work towards fulfilling it. By emphasizing measurements that don’t align with objectives, management both sends out conflicting signals (measurement vs. strategy) and drives the behavior that may not be aligned with success.
Make sure that your strategy is driving the selection of your key metrics, so that the performance that is modified is truly linked to the success of your company. Don’t just accept the data that is available; find the data that is relevant.
Do the Sales Performance Management metrics you deal with help to clarify the true picture for you or are they casting a distorted reflection of reality that is leading you astray?