Can you believe we’re almost in Q3? Right about now you’ll know how you’re tracking for sales goals, and what adjustments you need to make. The end of the year might seem far away, but you know it’s going to be here before you know it. Now’s the time to focus on those goals, bonuses (hopefully), and performance evaluations that are just over the horizon.
The good thing is if you’re employed right now you’ve probably been hitting your goals and have nothing to worry about. But even so…you never know, right? Lucky for you, your sales team manager wants you to hit your goal. They’re on your side, not least because their bonus is tied to you hitting your goals so they can hit theirs.
And we know which measures your boss looks at that you probably don’t think about.
Sales Measure: Closed-Won Rate
What is it? The percentage of your closed opportunities that resulted in sales.
It’s calculated by: (Closed-Won/Closed-Lost)x100.
Why your boss measures it. Sales is brutally results-focused, so as much nurturing and prospecting as you’re doing, none of it matters if you’re not also creating customers or clients. This conversion rate is meaningful in itself, but when it’s examined over time, a sales manager can see whether you’re winning more of the opportunities, whether you close more opportunities in a particular run of months, or if you are getting enough leads fed to you.
How you can boost it. Your options for improving this equation come down to one of two things: increase the number of opportunities you close as won, or reduce those you close as lost. It might be tempting in this second category to do a little creative accounting—pushing that dead opportunity into the next month so you don’t have to report it this month, but aside from creating problems for yourself down the line, you should know you’ll just be making a different measure worse. The best way to boost this number is to increase the number of leads you win,
Sales Measure: Sales Cycle / Time to Conversion
What is it? How long do your prospects spend in each stage of your sales cycle, in days.
Why your boss measures it. If you’re taking a couple of extra weeks to touch your prospects a couple more times in the hopes of increasing your close rate, your sales cycle is going to increase accordingly. And if you’re doing that as a strategy, you should let your sales manager know so they don’t worry when your sales cycle increases from 60 days to 70 days. If your sales manager can see you moving your opportunities smoothly through each stage of the process, you’ll probably stay off his or her radar. But if they notice your opportunities bunch up after you demo the product, or if you lose prospects after a demo, it might indicate to your manager that your demo skills or follow-up could use a little help.
How you can boost it. It’s not so much boosting it as keeping it moving, in this case. Having an outreach cadence tied to prospect behaviors and responses will help. For example, if your prospect isn’t ready to move on a purchase immediately following a demo, have some useful collateral lined up that addresses one of their remaining reservations, like how your product integrates with their existing technologies. Build on that in your next call by having something else to share with them. Being relentless is good; being relentlessly valuable is better.
Sales Measure: Time to first contact attempt / actual contact
What is it? How long it took for you to reach out after you received the lead, and how long it took for you to reach a human being.
Why your boss measures it. InsideSales.com reports that if you reach out to a prospect within five minutes of whatever action they took that created the opportunity, that lead is 9 times more likely to convert. That’s partly because up to half of all sales go to the first vendor that calls. Don’t get these statistics confused: being first to call doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the sale, and calling quickly doesn’t mean you’ll close on the first call. But you’re more likely to be the person they recall because you’ll have the advantage of primacy effect. Being first you get to provide the most new information to the customer, effectively setting the bar for every competitor’s sales calls that follow yours. You’ll also immediately create a positive feeling by responding to the lead at—or close to—the moment they’re thinking about their pain points.
All this matters to your sales manager because it might uncover opportunities where getting to the first call sooner might have helped win the business. Or it might reveal that leads are being allowed to cool before they even land in your inbox, which may have implications across other functions or technologies.
How you can boost it. Act immediately. Call that lead right away, even if you end up leaving a voicemail. Follow up with a short email. You might even send additional useful materials in the email. Call them back later that same day. Be persistent. If the lead came from a form-fill on your website, find out when that form was completed and call them back the next day at that time—there’s a good chance administrative tasks happen around the same time every day.
Ultimately, if you have processes in place that help you manage early outreach and repeated touches after that, along with useful content for your prospects to you’re providing something of value every time you talk with them, you’re going to be in good shape.
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