Many companies define sales success based on meeting targets of revenue, gross margin, and market share to name a few. Many times, these metrics are referred to as the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which define how well a company is implementing strategy. What some companies fail to realize is revenue, gross margin, and market share are not in themselves KPIs but instead the result of executing on well-defined and meaningful KPIs. As the acronym implies, “indicators” are the things if executed well that will result in performance.
In some sales organizations that are trying to develop more predictive KPIs, I’ve come across these more common ones:
- Number of sales calls within a defined period
- Number of new prospect sales calls
- Number of sales connections made with a customer’s organization
- Number of technical demos or hosted seminars/workshops
- Number of tradeshows attended
What these KPIs measure is solely activity and not the engagement level or experience of the customer. Even a highly technical sale has relational and trust components embedded in the sales decision. Successful sales organizations of the future will appreciate how they must more heavily weight their behaviors towards creating a “best practices” customer experience.
Over the past decade you can see the evolution in advertising toward a more engaging customer experience. No longer are companies advertising about a product’s features and strengths, they are showcasing the experience you can have while using it. Coke commercials don’t focus on the beverage’s taste or use words. Instead, Coca-Cola advertisements are visually designed to engage you emotionally by showing you the experience you too can have while drinking a Coke. The real-time customer experience in product marketing also plays out at the higher-end outdoor clothing retailers. These stores are installing freezers, so customers can experience just how warm that winter coat can keep them before deciding to purchase.
What experiences do your customers have when dealing with your sales organization? How are you measuring the customer experience? More meaningful sales KPIs that focus on understanding and building the customer experience may include:
- Time to respond to customers after they make contact (responsiveness)
- Number of the “right” follow-ups to secure a new customer (persistence)
- Number of joint calls so the customer has multiple points of contact within your company (collaboration)
- Number of business reviews to discuss performance (customer feedback)
- Number of exploratory or “design the alliance” meetings with customers (partnership)
- Strategic use of media platforms (LinkedIn and Facebook) to integrate and involve customers with the company and its sales team (engagement)
No one KPI is the silver bullet but tracking and rewarding the right collection of KPIs that are predictive of sales success will help ensure the team meets its goals. If you’d like help in designing measurable KPIs or developing specific actions that drive the customer experience, let’s have a conversation on how we can work together.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.