In professional sports, the ultimate goal of playing each game is to win. 

OK, simple enough. But when coaches work with their players, they don’t simply tell the players to “go out and win.” That would be obvious and, frankly, not very helpful. The most successful coaches collect data on their players’ attributes—such as rebounds and baskets—and identify which areas need work based on the quality of those attributes—such as rebound rate and shooting percentage.

And none of this is possible without our keyword: data. 

We could say the same thing about sales leadership. Yes, the goal is to create bookings or generate pipelines, but focusing too much on the outputs and neglecting the inputs needed to arrive at those outputs is not likely to result in a win.

Effective sales management begins with collecting the right data based on relevant sales metrics. More and more, amazing, data-driven sales leaders are utilizing sales management tools to set and track sales metrics, establish the right goals, accelerate onboarding time, deliver effective coaching, increase sales efficiency, and achieve an overall data-driven sales approach.

Set and Track the Right Goals 

In 2018, Entrepreneur reported that sales leadership experienced hesitancy to incorporate customer relationship management (CRM) into their daily operations because some sales reps spent nearly two thirds of their time on administrative tasks. Today’s sales management tools have sales engagement programs written into the CRM to automatically capture data, but they are still flexible enough to allow for manual data entry based on the specificity of your processes. 

Although sales management tools have become far more effective and efficient, the question you should ask yourself remains: “What am I trying to measure?” The last thing you want is data collected for sales metrics you don’t use. It’s a waste of time and internal resources. 

So start small. Tracking sales metrics is an ongoing process that sales leadership will refine over time. Start with the basic metrics based on the daily activity of your reps and expand from there.  

How does your team spend their time?

Understand what areas of the pipeline account executives (AEs) and sales development reps (SDRs) need to focus on. Depending on the role, the sales performance metric and length of time will vary. For example, you may want to measure the emails-to-meetings ratio for your AEs. In this example, here is what your measurements would look like:

  • Input = sent emails
  • Output = meetings created
  • Efficiency and quality = responsiveness rate

Sales management tools allow you to visualize this data with reports and dashboards so issues can be easily detected. 

Using the example above, the reports answer the questions: How many emails were sent? How many emails were responded to? How many meetings were created because of those emails? 

However, one view of these reports is not enough. This metric isn’t useful if it’s only reported every 90 days. Instead, use sales management software to display the trend both over a 90-day period and a weekly period. Using multiple report viewing features, you can establish goals around the key performance indicator (KPI) that ensure daily, weekly, and monthly progress.

Accelerate Onboarding and Ramp Time

One of the great benefits of data collection is the ability to compare the performance of sales reps over time. Doing so creates a high performance standard for sales efficiency.  

With your AEs, you can see how many deals they need to hit each month to meet quota, how much of the pipeline they need to carry, the number of meetings they should have a week, and more. With SDRs, you know the number of accounts they should be engaging with and the number of opps they should be creating. 

This process feeds into onboarding and ramp time for new reps. To understand where they need to be, look at a tenured rep and work backwards. By using a sales management tool, you can select ramping timeframes to understand how previous reps ramped and determine which KPIs are of most value to newly onboarded reps. Doing so helps your new reps onboard faster and make sales sooner.

Deliver Effective, Data-Driven Coaching

According to a McKinsey & Company report, outperformers in sales commit to 79 percent more coaching than slow growers, which goes to show that the top managers are also the top coaches. 

But coaching doesn’t mean much if it isn’t directly supported with evidence. Too often, agenda items become repetitive, despite the performance of your sales reps changing from week to week. With data leading the way, you can formulate an agenda that includes:

  • Agenda items
  • Questions to be answered
  • Supporting data 

That last note is key. Using data allows you to support why you feel your rep needs to improve their performance and increase overall sales efficiency. 

Take a Data-Driven Sales Approach 

Leadership is about providing the right direction, and there is no better way to do this than by backing it up with data. Atrium is a data-driven sales management software that helps sales managers, AE managers, SDR managers, and more take a data-driven sales approach to improve team performance. 

We know the last fifteen months have been difficult for all of us, and many of the trends we’ve seen—such as remote work policies—are here to stay. To help you and your sales team stay efficient, check out our webinar, “Legendary Data-Driven Sales Management,” to learn about the positive impact of data on management.