Last week I was at the Sales Stack conference in San Francisco, and was chatting with Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven, about how salespeople today often struggle with both their own individual successes and being connected to a team. A key to changing that is identifying, tracking, and creating visibility around your most important sales KPI's.

It made me think more about my own experience as a salesperson and sales leader and how today's salesperson strives to be part of a larger team that includes an effective manager and a connected team working on clearly-defined, relevant connected goals.

A KPI-driven sales culture encourages and enables an entire team to improve their performance. All too often managers spend too much time with their top performers, while neglecting the traditional weakest link in the chain. This is the opposite of what the manager should be doing. By spending more time encouraging your middle performers, you're more likely to see measurable results. Here's another post on about this very topic.

Here are five key to fostering a successful KPI-driven sales culture:

  1. Collaborate: It's important to make the decision process collaborative. By explaining the added benefits and opportunities that come with a KPI-driven sales system, you get buy-in from the get-go.
  2. Know thy team: By keeping an open, two-way channel of communication open with your sales team, you're able to explain and get agreement on the added benefits and opportunities that come with a KPI-driven sales system. You have a valuable opportunity to talk to your top performers about the specific behaviors and activities that make them successful, and get guidance from them on what others should be doing. In many cases, your best performers might not even realize what makes them excel. By discussing it openly across your team, you're likely to uncover some secrets to their success. Additionally, by having middle performers share what they're doing and what they think they need to be better at, you have a solid opportunity for proactive course correction. Even having your bottom performers share their experiences provides insight and perspective that the whole team can learn from. This also helps increase buy-in on KPIs.
  3. Choose 3-4 KPIs and live, breathe and die by them. Keep it simple by focusing on a manageable list of KPIs. Too many will cause confusion, lack of focus and frustration. Breathe, eat and sleep your sales KPIs. Know them inside and out, and make sure they're the first item on any team meeting agenda or one-on-one discussion. With an emphasis on collective KPIs, tracking performance and coaching the team is easier, more focused and more effective.
  4. Be patient. Change is hard and does not happen overnight. Trust your new proactive system. Measure, track and collect data in the meantime.
  5. Adjust constantly. Frequently assess your sales team's numbers and retool your arsenal of sales KPIs if necessary. This can be done as often as on a weekly basis. If you're tapping into the right sales channel data, you can easily course correct in nearly real time.

A well-informed, connected sales manger reflects favorably on the entire team. By clearly defining and communicating KPIs you're able to guide the team in a way that will increase your ability to keep the entire team on track.

What are some other ways you keep your sales teams on track?