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Setting sales activity targets

    Setting sales activity targets

    As well as setting your salespeople targets for the number of sales you want them to make, you should set them activity targets. These are all the individual aspects of their day-to-day duties that your sales team will carry out as part of their jobs. These activities should ultimately lead to sales. The theory is that if enough of these activities are carried out, they will significantly improve the likelihood of sales being made.

    Activity targets might be:

    Completed phone calls – ask your sales staff to record the number of calls they make that are completed with potential customers.
    Face-to-face meetings – get staff to record the number of appointments they make with customers where they attempt a sale.
    Leads generated – measure how effective your staff are at extracting new leads and generating potential new contacts.
    Leads followed up – see how successful and fast your sales staff are at following up sales enquiries generated by your marketing activity.
    Qualified prospects – ask sales staff to let you have the qualified prospects that they have identified. These are people who have been picked out as needing the products or services that you offer and who are able to purchase, but who haven’t approached you – or been approached.
    This is an important area of the sales process, as continual efforts by your staff to generate new business leads may help keep sales figures steady or on the increase. So you may wish to monitor this area of their work just as closely as the actual sales figures.

    Measure the performance of your salespeople

    One method of measuring salespeople’s performance is to analyse a salesperson’s conversion rates. This is the number of visits, contacts or phone calls it takes to arrive at one sale to a customer. If, for instance, you calculate that it should take a salesperson 25 approaches per sale you have a good basis on which to gauge their progress. Likewise, if you employ several sales staff you can assess which of them is performing most effectively.

    Missed targets
    If you establish that sales targets are being missed you should investigate the reasons. You can’t just assume that it is because the salesperson is ineffective, although that may be the cause. It might just as easily be caused by one or more of these factors:

    the territory you have given the person to cover is too wide or too difficult
    there is a fundamental problem with the product or service they’re selling
    there is a broad slump right across the market
    you are not giving the person the right kind of marketing support
    Whatever proves to be the source of the problem, act quickly to remedy it. Where appropriate, let your sales staff know if their sales abilities are not the issue.

    Customer feedback
    From time to time, find out what impressions your salespeople are making. You could try conducting a survey of opinions across the customer base, or on a smaller scale calling individual customers to listen to what they have to say. You might also try accompanying salespeople on their site visits to see for yourself how well they’re connecting with customers.

    If you decide to call or visit customers, it is a good idea to tell your salespeople that you are doing so and even mention it in their contracts from the beginning. It should be made clear that this feedback is requested for the customers of all your salespeople to avoid them feeling that they are being singled out for attention.

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