article | September 25, 2012
The Critical Metric Sales SVPs Must Know
It’s the most important thing I can tell you. It lets you know what to work on. It tells you where you can have the greatest impact. It helps you figure out your professional priorities.
It’s how you compare.
Since we were kids, you’ve instinctively looked for this information. Whether it was sports, grades, or even who started shaving first, human nature drives us to measure ourselves against others.
Now you’re the top sales executive in the company. Now it’s called “Benchmarking.” But nothing has changed, right? Actually, now there is one enormous difference: knowing how you compare to “World Class” can make you a bunch of money.
The simplest and easiest way to start is to click HERE and register for our Make The Number research tour. We’ll give you many examples of what World Class sales organizations are doing to prepare for 2013. You’ll be able to determine how successfully you are allocating people, money, and time versus the rest of the world. As of today, there are only 14 weeks left in this fiscal year. The time to act on this is right now.
Here’s a simple example to challenge the conventional wisdom: if I told you I was growing my company at an annual rate of 100%, would you think that was good? In reality, you would have no idea if it was or not. The only way to determine if I was a leader or a laggard would be to know how fast my peers in the industry were growing. Whether it’s growth, turnover, expenses, whatever – most executives spend WAY too much time measuring themselves against how they did last year. That information is nice to know, but its use is limited.
Contrast this example with another: what if I told you that you were spending $3600 per year, per sales rep in your company on your Lead Management efforts? Good, or not? Except this time, as you can see below, I provide you with the same information for the companies in your peer group. Suddenly, you have actionable data to investigate. Maybe there’s a great reason you are spending so much more per rep. Or maybe you have some work to do. Either way, you are no longer reviewing numbers in an information vacuum.
If you think you’re already doing this because you know everything about your competitors – stop kidding yourself. How do you know how good your peer group is without looking outside it? Maybe you’re the best of the worst. Benchmarking outside of industry for ideas and best practice is what the best sales leaders are doing.
Wondering how you can get that kind of data? Drop us a note. As a full service sales force effectiveness consultancy, we have access to Benchmarking data from over 11,000 different companies. We will help you select the right companies, measure both descriptive and inferential statistics, and norm the data so it provides true reference points.
Let’s examine a few reasons some sales leaders are hesitant to look at consultants:
Obviously, you know your company better than anyone. In reality though, the CEO wants outstanding results, period. Our experienced sales-focused perspective, plus exposure to others’ best practices, puts us in a powerful position to help.
This is the Number One “sin” of consulting. Our clients sometimes tell us they experienced this result with other firms. Checkpoints, transparency, and outstanding communication between the firm and the client can prevent this.
You don’t sit in the top spot on the Sales org chart without understanding the level of risk inherent in change. The only way to minimize it is to talk to the firm’s current and past clients. Dig in. You will need to use your business acumen to select someone you trust.
This is true of many consulting firms. SBI is unique. Every Principal has not only “carried the bag” in the field, they’ve also served as Sales VPs in large organizations. No “academics” here. Instead, you align yourself with battle-tested executives who now practice thought leadership.
We’re back to point #1 above. Your CEO wants outstanding results. It’s just common sense to give yourself every advantage. Old editions of the Wall Street Journal are littered with companies that tried. It might make sense to be sure you have a trusted advisor’s number in your phone.
Call To Action:
How do companies begin the process of engaging a sales consultant? At SBI, we frequently begin by conducting a Sales Productivity Benchmark. The process usually takes about 8 weeks. It’s not complicated. The output helps you re-examine every aspect of how your Sales organization works. It also provides suggestions on how to “sequence” improvements to get results in a hurry.
If you don’t know how to frame the question, you’ll never answer it successfully. Benchmarking frames the questions you must answer to unlock your organization’s potential. Innovation is valued now more than ever. Push yourself outside your industry. Benchmark against “World Class.” Leave your competitors fighting over scraps.