One of the most severe oversights a salesperson can make is to go without activity. Even the smallest periods of time without activity end up causing major problems in producing results later, especially since the activities we do don’t line-up nicely with the results that we produce.
As much as salespeople may want to resist activity goals and metrics, they are necessary. And as much as you as a sales manager may not want to measure or enforce activity goals, it is necessary that you do so—even when you are achieving your goals.
Imagine a professional Football player at the top of their game. They are unstoppable and everything they do goes for them. Now imagine that instead of continuing their fitness, practice and mental conditioning they start to skip sessions and take time off. They spend more time on the internet and other diversions. They may not suffer those decisions immediately, but deterioration in performance is bound to happen.
Most professions are similar and the sales world definitely is. Without prospecting for even relatively short periods of time your performance (pipeline) will start to look a little light. Without appointments your performance (pipeline) looks even weaker. Without learning and continually training your technique deals start to stall and you miss your quarterly goals.
Keeping your good habits requires that you set your own standards and understand your sales ratio’s. These are the activity goals and metrics that dictate your future sales results – the fitness levels and training regime our imaginary footballer would work to.
Without activity goals and metrics, it easy to underperform and miss your numbers.
Points of Note
Sales managers can be vigilant and unforgiving when it comes to activity metrics and goals. In fact, their drive for activity-at- all-costs gets them reports that are full of exaggerated opportunity and full of activity with prospects that should easily be disqualified.
I like the idea of a model week, not every week will work out that way but it is something to aspire to – a standard.
Activities like prospecting and first sales calls are good indicators, but some weeks are easier to produce results. It just works that way.
I recently read this summary of Goals & Metrics, which I felt, is another good analogy:
“This is the case for activity goals and metrics. Selling is one of those endeavors where it is very difficult to make up for lost time. You plant in the spring, and you harvest in the fall. You can plant like crazy in fall if you want to, but you are certain to produce nothing but a sense of frustration and panic. Activity goals and metrics are what keep you deliberately planting; it is always springtime in sales.”
Pause for thought:
Why are activity goals and metrics important to you?
What are the activity habits you need to take now in order to produce the future results you need?
How long can you go without certain activities before your results start to suffer?
When do you feel the lack of activity in the way of poor results? How long does it take before you pay the price?