Analytics, or the interpretation and communication of data, plays an important role in every organization, from professional sports to your sales force. In sales, your company’s CRM Is a vital instrument to track the performance of your team. Analyzing KPI data from your CRM and other applications such as auto dialers, sales and marketing automation tools, and other measurable data from your CRM, provide an essential overview of your team’s performance. These invaluable resources brought us out of the dark days of spreadsheets and sales reps’ notes that were as tedious as they were time consuming and unorganized. But hard data often doesn’t tell the whole story, and sales managers should consider looking beyond factors that can be easily tracked via algorithms and performance dashboards. Here are a few things sales managers need to remember when it comes to leading their sales staff:
Sales coaching is vitally important, however, like data, it’s a piece of a larger picture. Sales managers should take the time to listen to recordings with clients, join their reps on live calls, and debrief sales calls they can’t join. Being able to observe, debrief, provide feedback, and coach your sales reps on real opportunities is invaluable. Sales managers should observe with an open mind and acknowledge situations that are handled well, even if the rep deviates from the normal playbook. Areas that require improvement should be dissected, explained, and practiced through role-playing, either during one-on-one sessions or through group activities. While your CRM can compute various key performance indicators, it rarely provides you with the context behind lackluster conversion rates or below-average deal sizes.
Personal attitude is another factor that is difficult to measure by simply analyzing data. While both positive and negative attitudes can loosely be tracked through leading data indicators, such as number of phone calls made or showing up for work on time, it doesn’t give you the holistic picture. Good sales managers make it a habit to know their staff members and understand what drives their motivation and attitudes.
Another intangible that won’t appear in your CRM dashboards is which team members have a growth mindset. While many sales professionals master the skills needed to effectively prospect, manage accounts, or engage in sales negotiations, do they look past their routines to find innovative ways of accomplishing their personal goals? There’s comfort in routine. We adhere to what we’ve always done because we can anticipate the result. Encourage team members to be creative problem solvers for clients and always look for ways to grow their overall skillset.
Supporting other team members is a trait that can’t be measured. While healthy (and friendly) competition is a great motivator for many sales teams, an equally important motivator is a tight-knit team that is willing to help each other. Sales managers should embrace the importance of collaboration, sharing of new ideas, and creative thinking. What didn’t work for one client can be the solution that solves a problem for another and achieves success for the individual rep as well as the team so be sure to promote cross-pollination of ideas across the team.
Empathy is especially important in today’s sales environment. After the upheaval and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown, this trait is more essential than ever. As clients emerge from this uncertain time, they want sales reps who understand and can relate to their unique situations. The ability to express empathy is a vital skill that can be mastered through practice and coaching. Work with your reps to discover the experiences that create empathy and help them bond with clients in ways that can’t be quantified.
Used correctly, the data recorded in your CRM plays in an invaluable role in reporting and forecasting. However, as with a basketball player or sales rep, there’s no way to objectively measure the effect of a positive attitude, having a growth mindset, being a team player, or the ability to express empathy. These are essential for the success of any organization. That’s why sales managers must engage in real-time coaching of current deals and study and share the CRM data they record, but they must also look past the data to form a complete picture of what’s working for the success of their team.