A guest post by eSpatial‘s Heather McLean.
How do you really know who your ‘best’ reps are?
Every sales manager knows that they have a responsibility to keep an eye on the performances of their various sales reps. Your strong, experienced guidance is necessary to your (and their) efforts to pursue revenue and strengthen the company’s financial bottom line.
Making these kinds of assessments requires you to look at factors that can be measured with objective numbers, like the raw dollar value of reps’ sales efforts or the number of deals closed in a given period of time. You also need to consider factors that aren’t as easily counted with stats, such as reps’ strengths and weaknesses at different points along the sales funnel. Additionally, it’ll be critical to use all resources at your disposal to help reps be better sellers, including the cutting-edge territory management tools of eSpatial.
Revenue is a big KPI, but it’s not necessarily the KPI
It’s no big secret why revenue is the most common key performance indicator used to measure a sales rep’s performance: You’d be hard-pressed to find an easily accessible number that reasonably summarizes success in such a job. So you couldn’t be blamed for looking at rep KPIs, seeing the seller who brought in the most revenue last quarter and concluding, at least at first, that you’ve identified your No. 1 rep.
But there are some problems with this approach. For one, your other reps could reasonably argue that there were some extenuating circumstances. Perhaps one team member says, “Well, that person’s territory was better than everyone else’s â of course they had more revenue!” Or maybe: “I spent X more hours on the road than other reps so no wonder my revenue is less!”
You get the idea. The thing is, those other two reps aren’t wrong. Neither are you, really. But what’s equally impossible to deny is that revenue can’t be the be-all, end-all KPI when evaluating reps working in enterprise or field sales. Something like percentage over quota might be better if you have a handful of reps who always exceed quota but most of the team just barely hits their numbers.
Along similar lines, if someone has a lower quarterly number by raw revenue but did so by making the most out of a less-than-promising territory, the latter fact is more indicative of their quality than the former.
Look at the “intangibles”
Dollar figures and other stats are valuable, but you also have to look at the steps taken by your reps to get to those numbers, as well as the personality and attitude that reps demonstrate in the course of their jobs.
According to SurveyMonkey, you must analyze every stage of the sales funnel: Maybe one rep is pleasant during initial contact with a prospect and the identification of their needs, but struggles when encountering pushback during the final closing and only gets the sale by effectively bullying the client.
Well, maybe not literal bullying, but anyone who’s been on a sales call with a difficult client knows what we mean. The rep earns the immediate revenue, but word of mouth goes around about how that rep treats customers. Not a good look.
By contrast, another rep is responsive, personable and extremely knowledgeable all the way down the funnel, modifying their pitch in the moment based on the client, as recommended by Inc. An unforeseen budget issue prevents closure of the deal. There’s no immediate revenue there…but the prospect remembers that rep. Somewhere down the line, they return to make a purchase, and then become a steady customer.
If you weren’t watching all of that closely and just saw the numbers in the short term, you’d have a misleading perception of each rep in the short term. You need to evaluate your reps from as many different perspectives as possible.
Maximize reps’ abilities with equitable territories
The best way to set your reps up for meaningful success â and better ensure your assessments of their performance are accurate and well-rounded â is to establish a level playing field for everyone on the team. Territories created using the cutting-edge mapping tools in eSpatial help you do just that.
The vast majority of sales-related data has some geographical component to it, so it’s only logical to map it. Using eSpatial, you plot out territories in bold, easy-to-use visualizations based on metrics like drive time, proximity of reps to customers, surges or declines in sales and many others. The platform’s territory management module uses complex but time-tested algorithms to help you leverage your data into equitable territories. Furthermore, reps can optimize their routes to ensure that factors like distance and traffic have as little negative impact on their sales efforts as possible.
Don’t just take our word for it: Sign up for a free trial of eSpatial!
Interview with Ken Kramer of eSpatial