A fundamental element of a sales leadership role is metrics that demonstrate results have been achieved. Revenue and profit contributions are prime examples of these very important measures. To gain a holistic view of your metrics you need to examine the side of the metric scale that is seldom evaluated. The other side of metrics includes those measures that indicate the progress towards meeting those goals such as successful sales calls, design and planning meetings, implementation strategy calls and the like are some examples.
Successful sales leaders understand that the key difference that separates a great sales leader from a good one is to create a balance between backward-looking or lagging indicators and forward-looking or leading indicators.
The best time to tell the difference is during an economic downturn such as the one we are recovering from. When times are good sales come more easily even to those sales executives who are not a good fit for your sales organization. It is easier to keep focused on the leading indicators because sales are flowing like Niagara Falls. The need to look at the lagging indicators simply doesn’t exist or is minimal at best.
When times are bad, however, the lagging indicators become far more important. If there is an absence of design or strategy calls it becomes clear why there is no progress towards the revenue and profit goals. In the absence of design or strategy calls the sales executive isn’t getting far enough in the sales process to even start to close the deal. I’m not even sure how the sales executive is capable of forecasting the probability to close beyond 30 percent.
Whether in good times or bad, start developing your sense of balance in backward and forward leading indicators. The sooner you develop of habit of reviewing both and holding your sales executives to those standards the quicker you start down your path of being a successful sales leader.
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