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Measures, Activities and Customer Conversations

On a current project I’ve been asked for help with how to measure the success of a sales initiative. The objective is to move from the safe haven of existing relationships to capitalise on wider opportunities in accounts.

This is pretty much word-for-word what I came up with on the first draft.

The two ultimate measures of success are increases in Revenue and Margin.

Working backwards from these two, the measures are:

  • Pipeline – NB this may initially dip as some opportunities are qualified out; and
  • Pipeline quality – can be measured by accuracy of close date, value/margin when closed v when entered in pipeline, average opportunity age in pipeline, opportunities lost, do nothing opportunities and close ratio

Then you’d look at measuring the activities that create opportunities:

  • Number of conversations with customers where new opportunities are on the agenda
  • Number of conversations with customers that include executive sponsors relating to future plans
  • Number of new proposals (plus value and margin in these)

Then the activities that generate those conversations and proposals:

  • Number of internal conversations with Solution Architects, Consulting, Support, Customer Success and other sources of leads
  • Number of account plans produced
  • Number of organisation maps produced
  • Number of account reviews (see internal conversations above). Personally, I think this is one of the most important measures because it shows salespeople are working collaboratively and not trying to crack this on their own.
So what’s the point I’m making?

What stood out for me is the importance of measuring the right things. Not the end goals but the activities that generate opportunities for customer conversations.

Bored of standard sales training? Recognise it doesn’t deliver change? If you’d like to see my whiteboard on influencing behaviour, email me with “Ooh yes please” in the subject.