Investing in building a new tech stack does not always save you time or money.
But there’s a modern sales strategy that does: activity-based selling. This methodology tells us that sales is a cascading chain of controllable behaviors that lead to a defined outcome. Every sales rep has a defined set of actions that lead to their desired results.
Before your field sales rep closes her enterprise deal, she uncovers a business opportunity, identifies key players in the buying process, provides a value proposition, hosts demo and discovery sessions, negotiates a contract and then finally closes the deal.
Your sales development rep identifies leads, calls them, qualifies them and sets up appointments with sales reps.
It’s critical to guide those activities that lead to sales. Sales activity management automates your activity-based selling strategy and conserves two of your most valuable assets: time and money. Here’s how.
What Sales Leaders Get From Managing Activities
1) Higher revenue per sales employee.
Managing teams around a common set of activity metrics increases revenue. When reps know which activities to spend their time on and how much of each activity they need to succeed, they spend less time guessing what to do next.
Sales activity management provides reps with a recipe for success, increasing the number of times they close a deal and decreasing the amount of potential revenue loss.
2) Real-time course correction.
Don’t you wish you could avoid that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at your sales report at the end of the month?
Sales activity management allows you to monitor performance daily, signaling when you fall behind pace. Your reps have individual activity goals, and you have composite data that shows how your team is doing. When reps haven’t made enough phone calls to hit quota, you can use competition or incentives to rally them around that key metric.
3) Consistent onboarding and coaching processes.
Onboarding and coaching are two of your most important responsibilities. Research from DePaul University revealed that sales organizations struggle with sales rep turnover and that the average cost per turnover is $97,690. Almost $100,000 for one person!
With sales activity management, you onboard salespeople against a common set of metrics. Reps get ramped up thoroughly because they know where they’re expected to be performance-wise.
Sales activity management also provides objective data to guide your weekly one-on-ones and coaching sessions. When the metrics tell you where individual salespeople fall behind, you know exactly where they need help.
The best part is that you’re not just saving money, but getting more of it. But you can’t do any of this without a robust activity-based selling strategy.
3 Steps to Start With Activity-Based Selling
In his book Cracking the Sales Management Code, Jason Jordan explains that “Sales activities drive sales objectives, which in turn drive business results.” For example, if you increase call plan usage, you increase the number of new accounts, which should, in turn, lead to greater market penetration.
Once you know the business results your team has to deliver (usually handed down to you by executive management) you can begin to work your way up from activities to affect those business results. Let’s look at how you can get started with activity-based selling.
1) Define metrics.
Define your sales organization’s structure and develop your own hypothesis of the right activity metrics for sales reps. Interview reps, managers and executives to see what they think are the right metrics. Taking their feedback into account, determine what metrics best create your sales process and then ensure you are able to track them in your outbound sales platform and CRM.
2) Align sales team.
When you’ve determined your metrics, review them with sales managers and reps for buy-in. Explain how you came up with them and why it helps manage the sales process. Develop personalized scorecards for team members to track their metrics. Display performance metrics publicly and review them daily to review progress toward goals.
3) Calibrate sales process.
Inspire team collaboration via accessible stack rankings, and use contests or incentives to rally the team when needed to lift a metric or for a special initiative. Ensure managers monitor metrics daily to course correct when falling behind and celebrate success. Run consistent one-on-ones and coaching sessions using objective metric data as your guide. Assess sales team data monthly or quarterly to identify any goal misalignment, and adjust as needed.
These three steps will get you started with activity based selling. Once you have them in place, you’ll be able to accelerate your activity-based selling strategy by making your key selling behaviors happen more often. Then you’ll have a modern, activity-driven sales organization.