I recently spoke to a large CEO group, and I asked a very simple question: “What do you do to track your salespeople?” A lot of them didn’t have an answer, but one man, who owns a manufacturing company, raised his hand and said, “We track the number of quotes that they send out on a monthly basis.
Sales reps have a minimum of 20 quotes a month., he said. “We know that if each one of them puts out 20 quotes, they’ll typically get six back with interest, they’ll negotiate and usually close two of them.”
I said, “OK. How much time are they spending on the other 18 that they don’t close?” He said, “What do you mean? They don’t spend any time on them.”
“Who does their quotes?”
“Who puts them together?”
“Who sends that out or presents them to the clients?”
“Who follows up?”
“Have you tracked the amount of time they’re spending on the ones they don’t close? And two out of 20 is 10 percent, and so if you think a 10 percent closing ratio is a good idea, I would make sure you are hiring very, very inexpensive sales reps, and just get them to throw enough quotes out there. You certainly don’t need professional salespeople, because you’re not looking at professionalism when you do it that way.”
This is such a common occurrence when I talk to leaders of sales organizations. So many of them don’t have any tracking at all. They tell me, “I hire professionals, and they get out there, and if they don’t meet their revenue number, I get rid of them.”
I tell them, “OK, that’s one way of going about it; but you’re supplying no tools—no coaching, no mentoring, no leading—and that’s not the right thing to do. You take a big chance there.”
• Track activities they do, not just the proposals.
• Track the process they use to close the sale, not the close alone.
This allows you to coach to improve their future appointments. Your job is to coach, not just watch the money.
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell.” For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” or email sales questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.