Get the most out of your sales reporting
In Salesforce’s comprehensive and informative sales reporting blog last year, titled
“7 Steps to Creating a Sales Report Your Bosses Will Enjoy Reading”,
the usual metrics from daily call reporting to productivity reporting to the pipeline and sales forecasting are covered.
In a world where competitive and fast-moving markets require that companies’ sales teams be effective at consistently engaging customers and working towards winning deals from day one, there’s a glaring omission in their sales reporting: the ability to explicitly evaluate and identify productivity – and its gaps.
Before companies can make any kind of progress and enjoy elevated sales productivity, they first need to know if their reps are ready to sell. They need to understand, through hard data analysis, if their teams have learned the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that are required to not only be productive but also effective.
Sporadic reporting is not enough
The days are gone where a company can train their sales teams, and with a once-a-year sales meeting, update them with what they need to know about any new product or service offerings. Now sales teams need to continually stay on top of the ever-evolving product, service and competitive information, messaging, and updates. Thus, sales reporting which includes sales readiness needs to not only be added but then continuously monitored in any modern sales report alongside productivity and pipeline reports.
Shifting activity to productivity
Swaying your reps’ focus from demonstrating activity to productivity can be tricky, but it’s an important step when it comes to evaluating and understanding their progress and process. Your reps should not only be able to provide you with their short and long-term goals, but also with specific details on the logistics of their first appointments.
It’s important for you, as a manager, to see how many first appointments are being made throughout the weekly sales cycles – this allows you to predict potential deals and gauge turnaround times. First appointments are a surefire indicator of progress – both for outstanding members of your team and for those who need that extra push towards productivity.
Adding sales preparedness to traditional sales reports
Imagine if you could provide a sales report to leadership that showed how ready-to-sell the overall team was, and also demonstrated individual progress on skill development and critical information acquisition. Imagine how much more meaningful it would be to understand the teams’ progress on their ability to confidently objection handle, discuss the company’s differentiators or the competition or providing the latest, important product update.
Sales reports can, in fact, give you an opportunity to see how your reps are performing outside of specific sales conversations. For example, you can have a much broader overview of their progress if you encourage them to include:
- Specific proposals delivered to clients for their unique pain points
- Customer inquiries and product questions most received that week
- Any networking or industry events they’ve attended or have brought up in conversation
Minding the metrics
Finally, no sales reporting strategy – regardless of how thorough – is complete without a strategic, established way of sharing your team’s metrics. Between measuring, presenting, and digesting information, your team should be able to look to their sales reporting solution as a comprehensive and accessible space and tool.
Standardized metrics and reporting procedures will allow you to maintain structure across the board, and ultimately keep a better pulse on how your sales team is doing regardless of cycle, time, or quarter.