Do You Want to Coach a Winning Sales Team? Focus on Activities.
Updated: Jun 25
What if you were a player on a basketball team, trailing big at half time, and in the locker room the coach gathers the players together and says, "Here's our strategy for the second half, I want you to score more points than you did in the first half.” As a player I'm pretty sure you're not thinking, "Of course, it was so obvious, why didn't we think of that!"
Yet, that is so often exactly what we do in sales.
Go Close More Deals
When evaluating the performance of your sales team our tendency is to look at the "scoreboard," or in this case, the sales pipeline. Is there enough in the pipeline to ensure that we reach our goal? And if there's not, what do we typically do? We sit down with sales reps and we tell them to go generate more pipeline – essentially saying, “Go score more points.”
In order to truly coach sales teams effectively, we need to understand how that pipeline is generated. We need to examine and coach to the activities of a sales rep that lead to the generation of pipeline.
Let's take a closer look at why we should manage activity and not results.
The Benefits of Managing Sales Activity
1. Activities are controllable - A sales rep can't control pipeline generation, that's a result of activity. What they can control are the actions that they take that are responsible for generating the pipeline. Calls, meetings, demos, etc.
2. Managing activities gives managers the data they need to coach - Effective sales leaders inspect sales rep activity, not to micromanage, but to know where to coach for improvement.
3. You can course correct early - Realizing you have insufficient pipeline two months away from the end of the sales year when you have a 3-month sales cycle is like being 20 points behind in a basketball game with two minutes left - it's too late to do anything to change the outcome.
The activities to generate pipeline need to be completed earlier. Sales reps must have a clear view and a good understanding of whether their activity levels are on track…
Am I completing the right activities?
Am I doing enough activities?
Am I doing them well enough?
Knowing the answers to these questions leads us to our next benefit.
4. You can build a plan focused on activities - By reverse engineering your sales process using inputs like average deal size, close rates, and activity conversion rates, you can construct a plan that tells you how many activities you need to do and with what level of conversion. Having a plan helps you predict success and builds confidence. Without one, it's really just guess-work.
5. You can replicate top sales rep performance - Seeing a top rep’s sales numbers is great, but what you really want to understand is how they got there. What did they do to generate the pipeline that led to all that closed business? If you can see your activity levels and conversion rates and compare those to top performers, the steps necessary to become a top-performer are revealed.
6. Build your ideal "training plan" or activity recipe - Just as elite athletes have specified training plans, sales reps need personalized daily plans to become top performers. Many reps may be doing things that simply aren't very effective and possibly ignoring other activities that are tremendously effective. Being able to see, across a sales team, the activities that are producing results lets you build a plan that works.
By aligning your selling activities to your sales goals, reps will know exactly what to do every day to reach and exceed their quota. The Performulus platform can help by automating this process. Teams using Performulus transform the way they work, perform, and live by setting goals, driving positive habits, easily identifying areas for improvement, and staying motivated – driving dramatic new levels of success.
Learn more about Performulus for Sales Teams.