The ability for modern sales leaders to manage their team’s performance has never been greater.

While old school sales leaders obsessed over managing their teams around revenue, modern sales leaders realize that revenue is a result of sales activities. They understand that to achieve specific business results, they must have reps perform specific activities.

This cause-and-effect relationship is the premise of activity-based selling: a sales methodology where leaders manage and motivate their reps around the activities that lead to closing business.

Activity-based selling is gaining momentum fast. And it’s easy to see why. Here are three major pains for sales leaders and how to use activity-based selling to solve them.

1. Your key sales metrics aren’t clearly defined.

Define the structure of your sales organisation. Map out where each role fits. Develop a hypothesis for what you think are the most important activities for your sales process. This will be unique to every sales team. For some, those might be calls, conversations and meetings scheduled. Others might feel that VP-level conversations, ROI discussion and proposals sent are the critical parts of their process. These will become your leading indicators. 

Next, interview your sales reps and managers. Ask what they think are the most critical activities to closing business. Identify alignment between your hypothesis and their suggestions. (If you aren’t fully aligned yet, don’t worry! That’s all part of this process.) Decide what 3-4 activities you want to use as your core operating metrics for each role. The key activities for a sales development rep will be different than those for an account manager. Remember that an industry best practice is to use 3 leading indicators and 1 lagging indicator for each role.

2. Your sales organisation is not aligned.

Once you choose your core operating metrics, review them with sales managers to create buy-in. You’ll need them on the frontlines reinforcing these metrics daily with your reps. Develop personalised sales scorecards so reps can track their activity metrics. Share the metrics with your sales team, along with the reasoning behind each. Taking the time to explain why you’re putting these metrics into place will facilitate buy-in from the whole team.

Display your metrics publicly, and review your progress to goal frequently. These metrics can be used as the foundation for both coaching and weekly one-on-one sessions with reps. You can also use these metrics to show the executives at your company what the sales team is doing each day. 

3. Your sales leaders don’t manage performance.

With your operating metrics, you can create accessible stack rankings for reps to view how they stand against their peers. This inspires both collaboration and friendly competition. Top-performing reps can share best practices with team members who are struggling. Any team member can create an individual or team-based sales contest to liven things up.

Since you’re reviewing metrics daily, you’ll know when to rally the team or celebrate success. When performance lags, you can quickly rally the team around a specific metric with a quick inexpensive incentive or spiff.

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