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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Leadership Development Through the Eyes of Mark Twain

Leadership_Development_through_the_eyes_of_Mark_TwainFacts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable,” Mark Twain. An interesting quote I chose to reinforce the importance of metrics and accountability. It made me laugh because of some of the funny math I have seen sales managers use over the years. You know what I’m talking about!  Facts are stubborn and that’s a good thing for all of us. As you look ahead to the coming year, be sure you are clear on what is most important to measure and then avoid the practice of funny math. 

This is the third in a series of four blogs designed to help you prepare for the new year. This entire series is built around our Performance Prism. Just as a prism breaks a light beam into the component colors, the Performance Prism breaks down your sales operation into the various components, so you can focus on each one separately.

The four components of the Performance Prism are:  

3. Metrics & Accountability
4. Talent & Skill

I have already written about Goals & Values and Structure & Process. If you have not read those, I suggest you do that now because each one in this series builds on the previous one. We are focused here on Metrics & Accountability. Selecting the right metrics for your sales dashboard is a critical strategic decision, because what you measure determines what you get. Once you have the right measures in place, make sure you have accountability systems in place to ensure everyone on your team is meeting expectations. You may have heard it said that you communicate your expectations to the team based on the lowest level of performance you tolerate in any individual. Ouch!

Here are some prompts to help you with Metrics.   

1. Make sure your sales performance dashboard has both performance measures as well as leading indicators.
2. What are the most important performance measures? Force yourself to choose 3-5.
3. What are the most telling leading indicators? Keep this in the 3-5 range as well.
4. How will you use performance tracking measures and leading indicators on a regular basis?

Wrestle with these issues as you think about Accountability.

1. How are your salespeople compensated? Are the incentives in the right place for what you need to get done next year?
2. Do you have some type of pipeline management tool to track the number of prospects each seller has and how they are progressing with each of those accounts?
3. What are the standards of performance? Have you removed anyone from the team in the last year who did not meet the standards?
4. Is there some type of system to ensure that sellers are regularly doing those things you believe are leading indicators? What happens if they are not?

Take the time to get very clear on the metrics and accountability for the coming year. You will not get the full impact of the decisions you make with respect to goals & values and structure & process unless you carry all that through to the metrics & accountability. 

Download and study our Sales Performance Dashboard to help you make the right decisions here.


sales performance dashboard download