The Agile and Speedy Sales Leader

Agile sales.

This sounds like one of those marketing/business/sales buzzwords that high-level executives throw around when trying to overhaul the culture, leadership or processes of their sales teams. What does it actually mean when it comes to sales management?

Sales Benchmark Index recently argued that slow sales leaders won’t survive. They are unable to change outdated processes, adopt best practices, hold the sales team accountable or adapt with the changing market, and are preventing substantial growth from taking place, costing their company dearly.

On the other hand, agile sales leaders proactively focus on value-added activities and analysis. They are quick to diagnose problems within the team or sales process and are unafraid to embrace change when necessary. Most importantly, they understanding the value of measuring everything and are driven by predictive analytics, relying on the power of data analysis to support their decisions and stay a step ahead of the curve and the competition. In short, they are simply better at their jobs than slow, reactive sales leaders.

Speedy sales managers require cutting-edge information and sales reports at their fingertips. When sales data and information is properly collected and analyzed, they can confidently make swift decisions, knowing that the data supports their initiatives. Here are four important sales metrics that agile sales managers rely on to stay ahead.

Activity Conversion Ratios

Agile sales managers always stay on top of their teams and hold reps accountable. The best managers should never be taken surprise by a long-underperforming rep, especially if they are tracking employee activities and the conversion ratios of these tasks. [image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”32107″ align=”center” lightbox=”true” title=”Sales Management – Employee Activity Efficiency” alt=”Sales Management – Employee Activity Efficiency”  width=”430″ height=”228″ quality=”100″]

Agile managers are quick to coach struggling reps who might require additional training. By pointing to in-depth reports that accurately track all the activities that reps account for, managers can determine how efficiently reps are performing. The call to close ratio indicates to managers which of their reps need the most coaching in which specific areas.

 Opportunity pipeline

Since reps can only work on the opportunities available to them, it is critical that sales managers maintain a healthy opportunity pipeline at all times. Slow sales managers who don’t regularly monitor their opportunity pipelines might be shocked to discover that their best opportunities have stalled or picked up negative velocity, with reps putting in little effort on rescuing them. [image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”32109″ align=”center” lightbox=”true” title=”Sales Management – Opportunity Pipeline” alt=”Sales Management – Opportunity Pipeline”  width=”450″ height=”249″ quality=”100″]

Not agile sales managers. These guys are acutely aware of what opportunities need to be prioritized, with the help of the Pipeline Today report. With a keen eye kept on the momentum and effort of each opportunity, agile sales managers can guide reps toward the high-value ones who are likely to close with a little bit of extra effort.

Sales Cycle

Naturally, speed is a critical component of the sales cycle. Opportunities that slowly progress through the sales cycle, spending too much time in certain stages, are less likely to close than those that steadily and systematically advanced from one stage to the next. By speeding deals up and generally increasing velocity, managers could see their reps close more opportunities.  [image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”32110″ align=”center” lightbox=”true” title=”Sales Management – Sales Cycle” alt=”Sales Management – Sales Cycle”  width=”450″ height=”281″ quality=”100″]

The average sales cycles for each employee should remain fairly consistent, and companies should know the average number of days an opportunity stays in each stage in their sales cycle. If a rep is allowing his or her opportunities to drag, agile sales managers can look at their reports and prevent this from occurring before too much of the opportunity’s momentum has been lost.

Won/Lost Percentage Over Time

Above all, being an agile sales manager means spotting developing trends before they become serious issues and dealing with them appropriately. The historical won/lost report represents a powerful weapon in the agile sales manager’s repertoire. Keeping an eye on historical trends to determine how efficiently the sales team is closing their opportunities. [image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”32111″ align=”center” lightbox=”true” title=”Sales Management – Won/Lost %” alt=”Sales Management – Won/Lost %”  width=”450″ height=”272″ quality=”100″]

If the team’s won/lost percentage – and overall revenue – has been trending down for the last couple of months, agile sales managers will quickly be on top of this information and already be racking his brain to come up with solutions. Should they acquire more leads? Are there weaknesses in the demo stage of the sales funnel? Are reps not properly qualifying opportunities?

When it comes down it, the biggest difference between agile sales managers and slow ones is that agile managers proactively measure everything. Empowered by the information and findings from their data and sales analytics, they can proactively and confidently make decisions, instead of having to react to situations when it’s too late.

What tools do you rely on to help you become a more agile and speedy sales manager? Tell us in the comments section below.

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