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Revenue Alignment Part 1: Sales Leadership by the Numbers

Roger Cunningham July 6, 2022
Revenue Alignment Part 1: Sales Leadership by the Numbers by Roger Cunningham, Fractional CRO at House of Revenue

Sales leadership is hard enough as it is, but without a definite plan in place, it's almost impossible. Setting measurable goals, KPIs with clear metrics, and standard workflows or chains of command will help give your team the structure they need to thrive — and for you to lead your team toward that success.

Many leaders already know the value of using data to measure performance, but what's less well-known is how it can help you manage all the different responsibilities that leaders have along their path to revenue alignment.

Coaching, for example, is much more meaningful when you have the raw data and the analyzed insights into where your individual sales reps are strong and where they need additional support. 

But, according to data from a recent HubSpot survey, "23% of sales managers spend less than 30 minutes individually coaching their direct reports each week. This amount of time spent coaching reps is associated with lower quota attainment."

Lack of coaching, misaligned coaching, and insufficient coaching all hurt your revenue goals, as well as everyone's professional development. See how you can use KPIs, conversion and sales data, and other numbers-based insights to create a sales program that generates revenue.

Control Your Controllables

Controllable factors are the independent variables of an experiment: you can change controllable factors, and good or bad outcomes are the result. Demanding salespeople to simply do better is unfair — and unhelpful. Focus on these two actionable elements to guide data-backed success.

Know Your Numbers

You need to know what actions your individual sales reps are taking and how often they're taking them before you can give them personalized training and coaching.

Some direct numbers that reflect a salesperson's activity and effort include:

  • The number of new contacts and prospects they're adding to the CRM each week
  • How many outreach emails and phone calls they're doing each week to reach prospects
  • The number of touchpoints the sales rep is actively generating between initial contact and a meeting

Some less direct (but still vital) numbers to know are:

  • Conversion rates for emails and phone calls
  • Email click-through rates
  • Conversion rates from discovery call to demo
  • Conversion rates from demo to proposal
  • Conversion rates from proposal to a won deal

As you pull together the data and review the numbers with each sales rep, focus on "controllable wins." External factors, such as economic downturns, a client's business being acquired, and other uncontrollable events happen.

But when you exclude these circumstances and focus on poor results driven by controllable variables, sales reps are more motivated to improve. The training also focuses on developing their skills and providing company resources so they can see real gains faster.

Iterate & Train on Each Number

With the direct numbers, you can easily spot gaps in effort. When sales reps simply aren't reaching out to enough people, there's a clear improvement plan you can put into place. But when the issue is low conversion rates or click-through rates, that's where more meaty coaching comes into play.

Suppose you have enough data to identify that the problem is converting from discovery call to demo, for example. In that case, you'd implement different training than for issues with converting from a proposal to a won deal. That sort of targeted training is far more valuable for everyone.

Stop Micromanaging & Start Offering Accountability

The last thing you want to do is micromanage. Like anyone, sales reps would rather ask for advice than have advice shoved down their throat. While sales leaders are responsible for guiding, training, and coaching sales reps, it's better to offer accountability and expectations — in tandem with an open door policy. 

Micromanaging can cause resentment to build, especially if sales reps feel like you're monitoring them too closely and without a good reason. By presenting the hard numbers on where they're doing well and where their wins are lacking, you're offering an objective assessment of their capabilities and performance. 

Remember — accountability isn't just about the bad news. Celebrate their wins and their improvements. 

Black & White, There Is No Gray

Tracking team-wide progress does more than create some friendly competition. It puts progress and lack of progress in stark, black and white numbers. When you focus on a culture of accountability for controllable factors, sales reps and leaders can't wave away failures, complain about unfairness, or argue with the objective results.

At House of Revenue, we create a Hold Yourself Accountable (HYA) leaderboard for each of our clients so you and your sales reps can see:

  • Everyone's progress toward their KPIs
  • Growth and progress (or lack of progress and growth) over time
  • How you and other leaders in the organization create, set, and measure progress

This organization-wide transparency helps build a culture of accountability. It also ensures everyone is on the same page. To further entrench your 'lead by the numbers' approach, schedule a one-on-one with each member of your team and create a Rules of Engagement document that details KPIs, how they're measured, and both your and the sales rep's expectations.

These ground rules should be objective, clear, and inarguable. They will allow for a more focused and actionable conversation when a sales rep falls short on their KPIs.

Improve Sales Leadership with House of Revenue

Being an effective leader requires you to have a lot of different qualities. You need empathy when your reps need support, the ability to drive motivation during coaching and training, and a commitment to data-backed assessments when measuring employee performance.

At House of Revenue, we believe that personalized training based on performance metrics is crucial to improving that performance and giving honest, respectful expectations. Contact us today to see how we can help you identify controllable wins for your team and create a culture of accountability!