What’s the Problem in Sales Performance?
In the business world, wisdom says that nothing happens until someone sells something. Sales are crucial to the sustainability of a company. However, many organizations do not manage their sales function to ensure success. They accept a hit and miss approach to forecasting and closing deals. Some managers fall into the trap of becoming too focused on an individual, or team quota and the need to “make that number”. They lose track of vital lead performance metrics that would enhance sales conversion. Reps also need insight into which stages in the sales cycle they are falling behind. This knowledge can motivate them to take action so they can achieve their primary goal, a closed deal.
What’s the Fix?
In real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. In sales, the key to success is the visibility of rep activities and results. This is achieved with a leaderboard. This is especially when the leaderboard is displayed on an office TV. When you display information for the individual, the team, and the office to see, a rep cannot hide their performance. Enabling reps to see their progress against activity on the TV is good for company business transparency. Reps will have immediate feedback on where their pipeline is lacking and what they need to do to fix this situation. It’s far better to allow reps to see their performance gaps and self-correct. It is more difficult to rely on managers to intervene at exactly the right time to effect behavior change and fix the issue. This transparency means they are more likely to do the work required to improve their score and ranking for that activity. Leaderboards encourage remarkably consistent patterns of behavior. leaderboards are more effective change levers than incentives which may only change behavior for a short time. The concept behind leaderboards is to turn short-term habits into long-term behaviors. Companies thrive when there is a predictable certainty around sales performance.
Eight Tools to Help
The public display of performance information on a leaderboard motivates productivity and achievement of business outcomes. There are eight components of leaderboards that need to be present to ensure performance uplift.
- Focus on people. “People buy from people” is a sales idiom. Reps have interactions with customers. These discussions can result in changes in reps pipeline activities. Displaying these updates on a TV means all stakeholders in the office can see these changes. The rep can also be highlighted for their great work, as they progress towards their target. This visibility allows a wider circle of feedback or ideas to the team to help them be successful.
- Progress bar. It’s not enough to see just a raw score on sales rep performance. The better measure is to know how this raw score relates to the target as a percentage of total performance required for success. A progress bar allows all stakeholders to view the leaderboard and be aware of the point-in-time score and how the rep is progressing against the total target set for that activity.
- Time to target. When you add a time component to the progress bar then you introduce a sense of urgency to the behavior of the rep. For the observer, a better understanding of performance comes with time. “80% of target and 6 months to go” is a different performance level than if the target is due to complete tomorrow.
- Clean Up. Don’t just focus on sales. Make sure the team is completing tasks that make them better sales reps. Reward them for best practice sales behaviours and cleaning up all overdue tasks. They will want to eliminate any negative scores against their name by completing these tasks.
- Celebrate. Recognition is a basic human need. Salespeople thrive on seeing themselves on top of the leaderboard. When they hit the number one position recognise them with a favorite song, their face on the “big screen” and lots of accolades from the team and the office.
- Notifications and Alerts. Leaderboards should be displayed in real-time. As people move up the ladder, as they get closer to their target viewers of the leaderboard should see a notification of the change. Staff can be alerted to company announcements as well as leaderboard screens transition between different activities that are being measured. All stakeholders are fully informed as business results are made more visible and changes in position are notified to everyone.
- Points Badges Levels. These are the common elements of gamification. As reps earn points or badges for their work the leaderboard reflects these updates. These points add a healthy level of competition as reps strive to be at the top of their game. Badges are awarded to reps for outstanding work effort and as expected in a gamified environment reps can level. They might move from Apprentice to Master in their chosen profession. Points, Badges and Levels are easily displayed on the leaderboard alongside performance details on an individual rep.
- Observe without being seen. There are times when a manager wants to observe his team from a distance. Leaderboards on a TV with visibility from 20 feet or more allows this to happen. Managers can then decide a course of action in intervening with a rep for performance uplift.
Leaderboards allow you to engage all stakeholders in understanding the key drivers of your business. They motivate performance and give you many options for celebrating a job well done. By pulling activity data from the information apps you love and use the setup is easy and fast. transparency is enhanced by seeing data on the office TV, web, and mobile devices. Everyone is informed and engaged, no matter where they are. High fives all around!