Should I be surprised about how often I am asked this question? I will let you be the judge. Suffice to say, the high frequency suggests to me that this emotional topic is still well placed on the radar of many a B2B sales system.
My typical response answers the question with my own question. “What do you measure your Sales Execs on?” Too often the answer is all around revenue or margin compared to budget or target. The problem here is that virtually every Sales Exec in every industry has only limited control over performance on financial outcomes. So many other factors can play a big influence on that performance……..factors that are beyond the control of the “accountable and measurable” Sales Exec.
Best practice sales system scoreboard design should feature a small number of metrics at three levels …….
- Financial outcomes (as mentioned above)
- Process outputs (eg number of prospects converted to new customers; number of existing clients converting your company to preferred supplier status)
- Activity inputs (eg visit activity rate, visit targeting rate, customer coverage rate)
If your Sales team does not benefit from this type of scoreboard, then that development is your first priority. Then figure out (albeit subjectively) what is the level of control over their performance of metrics at each level. As a starting point, begin with (and argue against)……
- Financial outcomes = 25%
- Process outputs = 60%
- Activity inputs = 90%
Then use your debated outcomes as your guide to apportion the best amount of incentive plan dollar to the designated metrics for your sales system incentives.