Fly’s Friday Five: Hiring – Do You Have the Right Sales KPIs?

Written by: Gary Fly
Flys Friday Five

We’re hearing a lot about metrics, measures, commissions, and targets. It’s a natural topic that bubbles up every year around this time, but we’re hearing a little more about it than usual. Specifically, we’re hearing about the appropriateness of the measures or the targets that sellers are being held accountable for.   

So, what do you do when the seller comes to you with pushback around their targets? Is it a single seller who is pushing you because they’re missing their quota or target? Or are you starting to hear a drumbeat across the organization around it? If it’s a drumbeat across the organization, then you probably need to take some action, or at least dive in a little bit deeper. In our IMPACT Selling® training, we teach the idea of going three-deep in your questions. So, I am going to use that as the baseline for a lot of suggestions I’m going to make.  

  1. If you are hearing this across the organization, I think you need to ask yourself, “Am I missing something?” Today, Michelle Richardson put our latest The Missing Sales Link Newsletter on LinkedIn, and in it, she had a Harvard Business Review article on listening. One of the challenges from that article was to ask yourself, “Am I missing something?” So, I think you need to start with that mindset and some curiosity.  
  2. With that idea of “Am I missing something?” in mind, it’s important to do a postmortem on closed won and closed lost deals. We recently went through an exercise where we looked at deals that we lost (and why we lost them) and deals that we won (and why we won them). Now we’re going to use that to inform our marketing and the targets that we’re going after.  
  3. Number three is talk. Talk with your sellers, understand what they’re hearing in the marketplace, understand what their challenges and frustrations are, just really understand what’s going on in their world. Talk to your clients. Again, I think the biggest thing you can do is understand how you’re solving their problems and what challenges they are faced with. Now that we’re halfway through 2022, I think it’s an appropriate time to start talking to them about their strategic initiatives for 2023 and how you might be able to solve for that. The third part of talking, if you have the opportunity, is talk with competitors. We’re part of a great association, the ISA, and in that I have the opportunity to regularly meet with our competitors. We have very open, candid conversations, and I find it to be hugely helpful to understand the attitude and atmosphere of the marketplace in our industry right now.  
  4. Do some competitor research! What are your competitors doing? What are they saying in the marketplace? What are they promoting on their websites? Are they hosting events? Are they participating in industry events? You can glean a lot of information between websites, press releases, and just public information. So, I would encourage you to do some competitor research. It may inform your positioning in the marketplace and may highlight some gaps in what you’re doing – or it might show you where you’re really strong.  
  5. Audit your funnel. Start at the very top – what’s working in terms of lead generation? Is it outbound activity from your sellers? Is it some messaging on your website? Is it industry events? What is it? What’s attracting people at the very top of the funnel? Once you understand that, work your way through the funnel, and see if there are breakdowns in the sales process (you do have a process, right?) so you understand what’s happening in each segment. We’re huge believers in a sales process. You have to have a process that you can coach back to so you can understand what’s happening. So, audit your funnel and map it back to your process. This will allow you to promote the things that are working, refine the things that are not working, create marketing and collateral that supports it, and to help your sellers if they’re stuck in one phase or having challenges moving deals through the pipeline. 

Again, the challenge that we’re hearing is that organizations are really struggling with the appropriateness of their KPIs and targets, and I really wanted to lay out a way to audit those. I’d be happy to debate it, happy to discuss it, and happy to provide more information. My email is gfly@thebrooksgroup.com

Written By

Gary Fly

Gary Fly is the President & CEO at The Brooks Group, where he brings 25+ years of senior management experience. In his role as President of The Brooks Group, Gary is applying his keen business insights and energetic management style while extending the success and legacy established by William T. Brooks and his sons, Jeb and Will, honed during the company’s rich, 40-plus-year legacy.
Written By

Gary Fly

Gary Fly is the President & CEO at The Brooks Group, where he brings 25+ years of senior management experience. In his role as President of The Brooks Group, Gary is applying his keen business insights and energetic management style while extending the success and legacy established by William T. Brooks and his sons, Jeb and Will, honed during the company’s rich, 40-plus-year legacy.

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