Everyone knows that successful sales managers lead their teams to close more deals. What is less obvious is exactly how they do this. Is it through superior motivation? Better sales instincts? Tireless work ethic?
All of these may contribute, but one of the most important traits of successful sales managers is their ability to use the right sales reports to track progress and identify strengths and weaknesses in their sales process. Today’s sales managers doesn’t simply follow his gut, he uses data to help him make the right decisions to hit his number.
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Here are four reports that great sales managers get from their analysts to win big each quarter:
How are sales doing thus far this month and this quarter? Successful sales managers need to know this to identify where they stand vs. goals and whether they are falling behind. If so, they can move quickly to fix it. Success in sales management is a function of being proactive and getting ahead of any issues – this report helps the manager see when they can coach the sales team to get over any hurdles.
What opportunities need my attention right now? This is a key area that successful sales managers want to understand. Therefore they constantly look at a report by pipeline by sales reps. They also drill down by how much level of effort is spent on the opportunity – this is measured by number of activities weighted by how much time is consumed for these activities. This helps get a leg up on competition because the report shows which opportunities are closing soon and thus need immediate attention. Additionally, this report clarifies which opportunities could be pulled forward and closed earlier. Lastly, this report can help figure out if the team is focused on the right size of opportunities at a critical time (near the end of the month or quarter).
Sales management is about coaching the sales team, and sales success is a function of sales effort. Successful managers want to measure and improve sales efforts by tracking activities of each direct report over time. They want to be able to quickly spot who needs assistance.
Successful sales managers ask their analysts to provide a report which not only shows activities but also shows who is executing these activities by account, by employee and by opportunity. Monitoring activities by opportunity is particularly useful to see how many activities are done for early stage opportunities and how many activities for late stage opportunities.
They also their sales analysts to report key activities vs. goals – this shows sales reps who may need real-time coaching to improve their execution.
Do we have any leads that have been ignored? Successful sales managers know that 40% – 50% of new leads are not worked for the first few days, which means that their probability of converting falls dramatically. Hence this is an area of potential upside and a report that shows lead aging for each sales rep allows successful sales managers to spot which rep should improve his or her follow-up process quickly, which will ultimately increase the conversion rate to opportunities.
If you are regularly looking at these 4 sales reports and especially now in the last stretch of Q4 then you are already making better decisions heading into 2013.