How can I get my salespeople to work more efficiently?

What metrics should I use to track them?


Almost every organization around the country faces the challenge of trying to get their salespeople to increase revenue. I often speak with newspapers about trying to find ways to get additional ad slots sold, both on the Web and in the newspaper.  The path to increasing revenue starts with two things – trackability and accountability.

I have always believed that "if it can be measured, it can be improved." Work with your sales staff to track their efforts. I encourage you to figure out the success metrics that are most applicable for your specific newspaper. Some suggestions of metrics to track are: number of appointments the salespeople go on per week, number of cold calls they make and average sales price. Work to find out what behaviors will allow you to reach your goals.  Track your efforts and be accountable for the results.

In my sales training seminars, I teach a three-step process which ensures that the salesperson is always working toward maximum efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Learn what it takes to be successful.
  2. Implement what you have learned.
  3. Analyze the results and then apply that analysis into new learning.(repeat)

When you are tracking metrics, be honest with the numbers. In my opinion, there is no problem with showing numbers that fall short of the goals.  However, there is definitely a problem if you aren't using those numbers to optimize for the future. For example, if a salesperson's goal is $100,000 in sales for a month, and they finish that month at $70,000, I don't necessarily see that as a problem as long as the sales manager works with the sales rep to identify why he missed the goal.

Was it because the decision makers were on vacation? Was it because of deficiencies in the product offering? Was it something personal?  As a sales manager, make sure that your sales rep takes responsibility for the shortfall. It is difficult for someone to improve if they are not accountable for their actions.  Once the limiting factors and past roadblocks have been identified, work together to build a plan which will overcome those challenges in the future.

Learn. Implement. Analyze. Repeat.  This process can be applied to any part of your business and will ensure that all of your departments are working as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.

He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.

He can be reached at or (703) 597-1033.


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