From the PILYTIX Series: “Challenging Conventional Sales Wisdom”: Sales management using high call volume to ensure conversions
Smile and dial: Does more activity increase sales?
The mindset and philosophy driving most sales management teams is to mandate a set level of expected daily prospect calls.
50 calls a day? Great idea!
100? Even better!
And so goes the conventional wisdom of sales management in most sports organizations. Sports sales often drives the belief that “more activity equals more sales”. That is, if we ensure universally high call volume, we will ensure the highest levels of sales.
Obviously, there is nothing objectionable about encouraging salespeople to actually do their jobs. However, too many sports teams have overly simplified these metrics and overemphasized the role they play in their sales strategies.
Sales management by sales activity
The execution of these plans almost always morphs into management by numbers and results in unintended consequences:
The combination of the first two points ensures that the team’s CRM system is a swamp of bad data, making it more difficult to extract actionable intelligence from the CRM.
Sales management and understanding sales reps
The reality is, not all activities are the same for all reps. Certain reps are smooth as silk on the phone. Other reps are tongue-tied, nervous, and unable to articulate a clear message to prospects who answer the phone. Some reps write very compelling emails; others make you question whether their schools had any writing requirements to graduate. Similarly, certain reps are magicians when they are in front of prospects while others are better off hanging back at the office when prospect events are taking place.
Despite the obvious presence of inherent personality differences and relative strengths and weaknesses, every one of these rep tendencies can close a lot of business! Activity-based management strategies that fail to incorporate the nuances that define each individual rep prevent teams from maximizing the financial impact that each rep can have on the organization.
Using sales management strategies driven by data
Sports is finally beginning to break free from this “dial-until-your-fingers-bleed” management philosophy. Progressive sales leaders leverage their sales and marketing data to learn about the patterns of success and failure for each rep. The inherent strengths and weaknesses of the individuals influence these patterns of success. These defining characteristics often relate to specific communication behaviors – positioning managers to easily define more appropriate customized activity metrics.
The most cutting-edge leaders recognize that strict adherence to rigid activity metrics ultimately sacrifices quality for quantity. Sales leaders who understand their sales and marketing data understand that sales activity – important as it is – is only one component of sales success. In addition, buyer attributes, buyer behaviors, product attributes, price points, and other elements of the sales process are driving characteristics that cannot be excluded when defining a sales strategy. In addition to activity metrics, these factors should never be looked at in a silo. However, sales leaders who understand their teams’ patterns of success and failure are optimally positioned to align their organizations for greater sales success while minimizing costs.