The Discipline of Sales Activity Metrics

By Elay Cohen
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Many CEOs, CROs, and VP Sales are telling me that they’re not seeing the discipline of sales activity metrics in their businesses. Our salespeople aren’t doing enough of the right sales activities and their attainment data and calendars are proof. For many companies today, sales activities are not the driving force of their team culture and cadence. Why is this the case? I believe we haven’t done a great job explicitly communicating the right sales activity metrics and explaining why they’re important to the business. We can share our frustrations with our teams or we can hold ourselves accountable and take action.

Ask yourself: What have you done to define, document, communicate, coach, measure, and celebrate the most important sales activity metrics that are proven to close more deals in your business?

It’s amazing to me how many sales leaders don’t have the answers to foundational questions like: How many calls are my teams making a week? How many discovery meetings are happening each week? How many executive presentations are we doing each month?

Sales Leadership Best Practice

Inspired by Nick Sarles, our Vice President Sales at SalesHood, I decided to share some observations on the discipline of sales activity metrics. Nick instituted a more disciplined way to execute our sales pursuits. Nick looked at our historical data and mapped our sales activity metrics Our executive team spent time together discussing and debating our own sales activity metrics and key performance indicators. We then presented our sales activity metrics to the entire company. We codified what we do to win and how we win. Tools, assets, and coaching were created and shared to reinforce the activities.

Nick records a weekly video broadcast available to the entire company tallying up the weekly activities reinforcing our repeatable sales playbook. Nick’s video drives up the competitive spirit too. Everyone watches the videos and appreciates the visibility to the health of the business. You can get to know Nick a bit by watching this interview we did together when he first started at SalesHood. Click to watch interview.

If you don’t have your own sales activities documented and communicated, I encourage you to invest the time getting your list done. It’ll give you more predictability and forecast accuracy. You’ll also quickly know who is doing what on your teams. Data doesn’t lie and when you measure daily, weekly, and monthly activities, everything is open and transparent.

Sample Sales Activity Metrics

All too often, folks create a sales process and they forget to get really specific about sales activity metrics. For example, we see discovery as a step or a box on a sales process map. What we don’t often see is what is the evidence we can look at to verify that a discovery call was completed. A good activity to track would be “Discovery Call Summaries” that are written and shared with customers. These can easily be documented and tracked using any sales system.

Here are a few more examples:

  1. Number of demonstrations
  2. Number of meetings with executive sponsors and decision makers
  3. Number of proposals submitted
  4. Number of mutual plans shared
  5. Number of order forms submitted.

When you create your own list, look for proven activities that can be verified with evidence.

Build Your Activities List

Here are some suggested steps to help build sales activity metrics discipline inside of your organization.

Define Activities: Look at the data and come up with a short list of sales activities that represent best practices. These are the activities that need to happen to win.

Document Activities and Expectations: Write down the sales activity metrics and include expectations around the number of activities per deal, per day, per week, and per month.

Communicate: Don’t wait. Tell your team sooner than later. Communicate often.

Coach Your Team: Make sure your team understands the activities and know the steps to complete each one. Create tools and templates to keep your people focused on execution.

Measure Activity: Track accomplishments using whatever tool makes the most sense to you. Share leaderboards.

Celebrate Successes: As the activity increases, share stories and wins. Have teams highlight accomplishments referencing the benefits of the sales activities executed.

Iterate Activities: Learn from the progress you’re seeing (and not seeing) and makes changes to the activities and expectations. Base decisions and updates on what’s working and what’s not working

We can’t expect our teams to have the right quality and quantity of sales activities unless we invest the time to define, document, communicate, coach, measure and celebrate a proven list of sales activities.

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