12 Jan 2019

Why measuring sales activities is key to sales success?

Sales analytics is gaining popularity and most large companies with field force sales are realizing the importance of it. The definition of the sales analytics is

Sales analytics is the process used to identify, model, understand and predict sales trends and sales results while helping in the understanding of these trends and finding improvement points. It is used to determine the success of a previous sales drive and forecast as well as determine how future ones will fare.


But not many organizations are using the sales analytics in the way it is required. How many sales managers in your organization have ready answers to questions as below,

  • What efforts of the sales team to be analyzed to acquire new customers? (Are the new customers increasing or decreasing month on month?)
  • What time is spent by sales people to sell new products or meet new customers?
  • Where is the maximum effort the sales team spending? (Is the effort direction, right? Are they spending on known low value customers or downtrend products?)
  • What competency required to achieve the results? Do the team members have the right Product knowledge, Customer knowledge, Selling skills?
  • How to measure sales call effectiveness? (What is that they are talking to customers? How long is the conversation time? How good the visit was? How clearly managers can define and measure the outcomes of the meeting?)
  • Where is the “sales funnel” breaking down? (What are the biggest “holes in the sales process” that need to be fixed?)

Frankly, the answers to the above questions are not available easily. They cannot be answered using weekly/monthly sales numbers. And in spite of promises from CRM, Salesforce automation companies, some metrics cannot be captured or measured easily.

But if the sales manager lacks answers to the above questions, he cannot guide the salesperson on the field.

But if sales managers are ready to look beyond the results numbers and start analyzing what contributes results, then they are in a better position to guide the team to success to focus on right customers and right products

Why sales revenue numbers are not right metrics to drive sales field force?

In most organizations, the existing culture prevents people to spend time to measure activities data. Most sales teams culture across organizations is to focus on setting targets and measuring the achieved vs target numbers.

Incentives which are primary motivators for sales reps are linked to sales results which makes sales team give more importance to sales results over sales activities.

For examples, most of targets are set such as,

  • Grow product X revenue from 2 Cr to 2.5 Cr in next 3 months
  • Increase market share from 3% to 5% by end of FY 19.
  • Close 15 loan accounts by this quarter

Ones these targets are defined, in every sales meeting, sales call, sales managers and sales rep talk only about these targets and compare how well they are doing against the targets. But there are many other sales activities and sales effort related data parameters which never gets discussed.

By only focusing on results, the conversation will generally revolve around what has happened, but doesn’t give any insights into what needs to be done moving forward to improve.

The issue about discussing on only the results is, it is a past data.

The conversation will revolve around post mortem of why things happened but won’t provide insights to what caused the results. Because of this lack of insights, most sales conversations end up in a similar note of pep talk on motivating for additional efforts or revising targets or blaming external conditions.

There is fundamental difference between measuring only results vs. measuring activities which cause those results.

Instead what is required is, to develop a culture to measure activities that leads to these results.

For example, if the sales are going to come from adding new customers than what activities will give us new customers, spending on adding new customers becomes a critical factor?

What is seen is, too often sales forces are not discriminating enough when choosing which customers to focus on and spend their effort on easy and leas buying power customers:

Power of Sales Analytics, Zoltners & Sinha

Hence this calls for sales managers to develop a minimum analytical skill of knowing what to measure for various activities they have of new product launch, acquiring new customers, entering new market etc.

7-step framework for data driven approach to sales force success

This is where the new technology such as Salesforce automation or Sales CRM comes in to play. With these technology sales managers can have a dashboard measuring the activities and map against the results.

But a caution, most companies still not cracked the code of how to use the CRM or Sales Force Automation software to analyze sales activities and derive actionable insights.

Read more on this here why-using-sfadoesnot-guarantee-increase-in-sales-productivity-for-organization/


In today’s competitive industry where each sales reps must meet many customers and sell many different types of products, the organizations cannot afford to not invest on sales analytics.

Sales force success is a combination of many factors, it is important to identify actions which gives maximum results and use data to measure the driving factors for sales force success.

There is an urgent need at the organization level as well as at sales managers level to know where the field force is spending their effort and how to help them meet the high potential customers.

The very understanding that, one must focus on what drives sales force success will make sales managers start focus on activities and help sales team succeed.

To download our article on how you can transform sales force teams to become more data driven, click here