Sales Goals: There is no way you can consistently improve your performance if you don’t know how well you’re doing right now. That’s a fact in all walks of life, not just in sales. For instance, studies have shown that people who track how many calories they eat per day have far fewer weight issues on average than those who don’t. And families that keep exact records of where and how much money they spend are much less likely to struggle with debt.
If you’re not keeping track of any of your activities right now, start with the basics – the aforementioned number of cold calls, your total number of appointments, and your total number of sales. These three metrics will allow you to track your pipeline and to know exactly what percentage of leads you’re turning into customers.
Understanding your pipeline percentages is vital to meeting your goals. Let’s say, for example, that your sales goal is to make fifty sales a month. Because you’ve been tracking your cold call, appointment and closing metrics, you know that on average you are closing 5% of your leads. So, if you want to make fifty sales, you know that you will need about 1,000 cold calls per month (approximately 48 cold calls per day) to meet your sales goal. If you didn’t have that information, you would have no idea how much cold calling activity you’d need to do to get to your sales goal.
It’s possible that the idea of making almost 50 cold calls every day is horrifying to you. In that case you might want to look at ways to improve your closing percentage. Let’s say you look at your average number of appointments and see that you usually only convert about 15% of your cold calls to appointments. That means that you are closing one out of three appointments (which is pretty good) but you are only getting appointments on about one of every seven cold calls. Now you know that you need to brush up on your cold calling technique and improve the percentage of appointments you’re getting… and once you’ve done so, you won’t need to make so many cold calls to reach your sales goal.
Keeping track of these three metrics – number of cold calls, number of appointments and number of closed sales – is the minimum. Once you get into the habit, there are other metrics you can watch as well:
- Sales cycle time (the length of time from your first contact with a lead to the moment you close the sale)
- Number of referrals received and number of referrals closed
- Amount of email and/or direct mail sent to prospects
- Number of times you contact each prospect before you close the sale
- Amount of time spent on non-sales activities (writing reports, attending meetings, etc.)
- Up-sell attempts and the percentage of successes
- Number of business cards handed out
… and so on! The exact metrics that you track will vary depending on your sales activities, but as a rule, the more aware you are of your activities and their success rate, the more control you’ll have over how much you sell.