The end of Q4 always seems to elicit a different mindset than the final days of Q1 through 3, and for obvious reason. It’s not just the close of another quarter — it’s the end of the year and a time to reflect on twelve months of performance before wiping the slate clean for a new year. For SDR’s and sales reps alike, an annual sales review is a formal opportunity for this reflection, a chance for both you and your manager (and the organization as a whole) to reflect on the strategies and results of the past year and determine whether or not any changes should be made upon return from holiday break.
However, without the right preparation and focus for these reviews, clear action steps and take aways can be elusive. The sheer volume of work done by an SDR or sales rep in a quarter makes it hard for you or your manager to dial in focus. Fortunately, if you’re part of a modern sales organization and you’ve been following this blog throughout the year, you’ve already put the solution in place: your sales metrics.
All year long you and your manager have been focusing on data-driven approaches to success, so why not use that approach with your annual sales review? Looking at a year’s performance comprehensively is really just a study of data based on your activities, wins/losses, and overall efficiency ratio. So, in order to crush your annual sales review, all you need to do is arm yourself with the right metrics and analytics that prove how much you’ve grown since your last review.
Arm Yourself With the Stats That Matter
The act of prioritizing the right sales metrics requires you to determine which metrics best quantify the effectiveness of your daily actions and activities. In many cases, these metrics will likely already be clear to you and your manager as they should be the KPIs your performance is evaluated on throughout the quarter. In the event that you must determine these metrics for yourself, they should tie into your core responsibilities. For example: that may mean total call volume for SDRs or closed pipeline for AEs. They represent your daily records and are the best indicator of your average performance over time.
If your manager has prepared for this review, they will bring all these metrics to the table themselves. However, showing your manager that you’ve been focusing on these repeatable and predictable behaviors, can go a long way toward proving your worth and potential forecasting for the new year. It also never hurts to have a second set of eyes on those numbers. Even sales managers have been known to make mistakes from time to time.
Prove Your Sales Efficiency Rating
Salesloft CEO, Kyle Porter, defines the number one metric in sales development as the sales efficiency rating. The idea here? Let’s say you and your fellow rep have both created 30 sales accepted leads a month. Each of these 30 appointments are equally qualified, and they’re equal pipeline opportunity. On the surface, both of you have given the organization an equal amount of value. However, these metrics don’t tell the whole story.
The number to focus on here isn’t the 30 qualified appointments, it’s the number of accounts you had to approach to get those 30 appointments. If it took you approaching 400 different accounts, while it took your fellow rep 3,000, then technically, you are performing at a more efficient rate.
Why does the number of accounts matter? The obvious reason is that you’re saving resources, cost, and time required to approach a high number of accounts. Second, you’re not scorching the earth as you goes through your prospecting activities (unlike the thousands of accounts being burned by your less-efficient counterpart). The most important aspect here, is when you’re prospecting — and touching people with more personality, more customization, more intentionality about converting that account — you’re not eating up all of the other prospects the other SDRs could be approaching.
The point of this efficiency rating system is to prove that you’re creating a modern sales environment that’s scalable, more predictable, more cost effective and efficient, and doesn’t cause harm to the organization in the long term. These are all very attractive things to bring up as both your manager and the organization as a whole are looking at budgeting for the new year.
Separate Your SMART Goals from Your OKRs
There’s a difference between the goals you’re expected hit and the lofty goals you hope to hit. Objectives and key results (OKRs) are the latter. OKRs are an example of high-quality, measurable goals to strive for throughout a quarter. But, the keyword here is strive.
Traditional sales goals are realistic — a set of metrics designed for success based on attainability. A common model for traditional goal-setting is SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound, according to a study by Leadership IQ. That same study found that only 15% of employees are motivated by these “attainable” goals, leading to a lack of confidence due to the confinement of the SMART model.
OKRs, on the other hand, empower modern sales professionals to set more aspirational, lofty goals. According to a similar study at BetterWorks, the progress set in motion by OKRs due to these more ambitious goals creates an environment built for achievement through measurable and time-bound key results.
Going into your annual sales review should be exciting — if you’re armed with metrics to prove your performance value over the past year, this is your time to shine. Sales metrics and analytics are in invaluable piece of the modern sales puzzle, and embracing them will only improve your skills year over year. Use these strategies going into your annual sales review, and into 2017, and be prepared to experience a scalable process for personal success.
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