When sales just aren’t clicking along, it can be difficult to pinpoint a culprit. A slump may just be a fleeting performance dip, but it could also be indicative of a larger issue. Either way, there are any number of factors that could be the reason for underperforming sales. More likely, it’s a conflation of several different contributing causes. However, identifying the root determinant of lackluster sales is imperative to combating it effectively. As the saying goes: “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Sales effectiveness metrics can help organizations gain more useful insight into the factors that could be contributing to poor performance. With data and patterns on their side, organizations can move to correct inefficiencies, and even prevent them before they occur.
Sales effectiveness metrics help isolate the variables
There are many facets of a sales approach that could be impeding an operation’s progress. A recent survey by CSO Insights asked more than 1,200 companies to identify the factors that had a negative impact on business-to-business sales potential. The lack of qualified leads was the most common inhibitor to sales effectiveness, with 46.2 percent of survey respondents identifying it as a barrier. However, the wide variety of other obstructions to sales performance indicates that companies are facing a lot of challenges, and often several competing issues simultaneously. Among the other most common barriers to sales effectiveness:
- Competitive differentiation (36.7 percent of respondents)
- Overly lengthy sell cycles (27 percent)
- Close rates were not high enough (27 percent)
- Ineffective sales approach (19.2 percent)
- Lack of a common sales approach (19 percent)
- Hard to establish sales ROI (18.8 percent)
- Lack or alignment between sales and marketing (17.7 percent)
These are just some of the factors that prove perennially problematic for sales professionals. With sales effectiveness metrics, companies can delineate the different aspects of their sales process and isolate these variables. With the help of sales personnel, who can chart their own activity and identify issues along the chain, companies have a much clearer idea of the challenges that have the most significant effect on their organization.
How to program prevention
Ultimately, the most viable use of sales effectiveness metrics is in eliminating the barriers to sales productivity and profitability. Organizations can use metrics and analytics to help achieve this goal by communicating with employees about the aspects of the process that need to change and implementing any new techniques in a way that meshes immediately with current approaches.