CRM & Sales: Redefining Hustle

CRM & Sales: Redefining Hustle
by Erin Quigg – June 2015

Redefining “Hustle”

How do you measure a salesperson’s hustle? From an activity-based and CRM standpoint, is it the number of tracked phone calls, emails, and appointments in a week? What about LinkedIn InMail, Social Media, and text messaging? With the amount of different communication methods available now, does it matter what communication medium salespeople use as long as they are moving prospects through the pipeline and closing sales?

This past season we redesigned our Ticket Sales’ hustle metric by shifting the focus from activity-based performance to pipeline management. Our main objective was to let the reps sell the way that works best for them and their customers. To accomplish this objective, we wanted the reps to focus on advancing quality leads closer towards a sale, rather than hitting certain activity based quotas. Additionally, we wanted our reps to view and utilize CRM as a sales management tool and less like a simple correspondence tracking system.

Going from Quantity to Quality

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“Our new effectiveness metric has been transformational in refocusing sales reps on engaging high-quality customers and building out their pipeline rather than achieving phone call and other activity-based benchmarks.” – Jay Riola, Assistant Director of Business Strategy, Orlando Magic [/dropshadowbox]

Old Metrics:

  • Phone Calls
  • Completed Appointments
  • Referrals
  • Talk-time
  • Hand-written notes
    [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]There is a “direct correlation between effective pipeline management and strong revenue growth.” – Harvard Business Review, Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue[/dropshadowbox]

New Metrics:

  • Completed Appointments
  • Pipeline Growth through Personal Prospecting
  • Pipeline Advancement

How does it work?

  • Score – Each metric is weighted with a certain value. For example, a completed appointment is 25 points, a personally prospected sales opportunity is 2 extra points, and each positive movement through the pipeline is weighted by stage and product.
  • Competition – Weekly, the reps compete against one another to get the highest score. The reps are then ranked, top half are winners and bottom half are losers. Over a certain period of time, the reps keep a win-loss record and prizes are given for the top performers.

Conclusion

It’s been four months since we redesigned the hustle metric and already our sales reps are better at utilizing our CRM as a sales tool. They have even started asking for more data on how to streamline their sales efforts. The Ticket Sales management team has done a great job in assisting the sales team with pipeline management by leveraging our pipeline and appointment reports. Having leadership adopt and support this new philosophy has helped the implementation and success of the program measurements as a whole.

In the end, activities are still important because those interactions are how prospects are engaged, qualified, and moved through the sales funnel; but instead of being measured on how many calls a rep can make in a week, we measure our reps on how efficient they are in closing a sale and generating revenue, which is their main responsibility at the end of the day.

Three Steps to Creating an Effective Entry-Level Sales Contest

Three Steps to Creating an Effective Entry-Level Sales Contest
by Brian Norman – August 2013

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Think about a sales contest you have conducted (or participated in) that was missing something. Perhaps it did not have a specific purpose, was unorganized, anticlimactic, or even ineffective?  Rather than using a generic model, create a personalized strategy that will help your team accomplish its goals. 

Step 1: Set Specific Objectives

The first step in designing an effective sales contest is to determine the ultimate objective.  Goals for entry-level sales staffs can vary; therefore it’s imperative to set specific objectives for your sales contest.  Write down, in detail, what you hope to accomplish and how you will measure your success.

Questions that need to be answered include:

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Jake Reynolds
Jake Reynolds

“An effective sales contest, done the right way, can produce big results for your team.

The preparation leading up to it, the execution throughout and the post contest assessment are all vital in maximizing the results from your contest. In order to get the desired outcome when building the sales contest, it’s important that it’s designed to help accomplish a specific agenda, create a fun and competitive environment, engage your employees and drive big revenue.”wizards_alt_logo_hand [/dropshadowbox]Are you basing the contest solely on revenue production?

  • Are you trying to increase departmental revenue by 10%, 25%, 50%?
  • Is there a specific team revenue goal you’d like to reach?
  • Historically, what was produced during this period of the sales cycle?

Are you focused strictly on moving inventory – regardless of revenue?

  • Is there specific inventory you’re focused on selling (club seats, VIP seating, etc.)?

Are you also focusing on increased call volume, on-site appointments, or other “hustle” metrics?

  • If so, do all of these metrics directly contribute to your ultimate goal?
  • Are these metrics readily accessible throughout the day to encourage/drive individuals?

Step 2: Design the Program

Establish each of these for every sales contest.

Team, Individual, or Both?

Recognize when it’s most effective to use a team-based contest versus an individual-based contest. 

  • A team contest will help drive departmental unity.  In theory, every member of your team will work together to accomplish the goal to receive some type of incentive.  In reality, be aware of free-loaders who don’t contribute and seek the same incentive as the rest of their team.  To address this, set personal “minimum qualifiers” to motivate everyone on the team to participate.
  • Is your sales group full of competitive, result-driven employees?  If so, an individual-based contest may be the best route for your team.   Create and facilitate a program that will bring out the competitive nature of your sales team as they compete against one another.
  • Sales contests can also tie in both team and individual aspects that will build team unity while rewarding top performers.  Focus on dynamics that will motivate the team as a whole, while also pushing individual performance within the contest.  An overall team incentive can be supplemented by smaller prizes throughout the contest to key performers. 

Theme

In order to keep your team engaged throughout your sales contest, it’s crucial to design your sales contest around an exciting and entertaining theme.  Whether you use current events (Olympic Games, March Madness, Draft Lottery), movies (Fight Club) or board games (Monopoly, Scrabble) to model the contest, it should be creative, fun, and most of all, engaging!

Time frame

The length of the sales contest is one of the most important pieces of the design.  If your contest is too short, it may not give your sales team the proper time to accomplish the set objectives.  If your contest is too long, your objective will lack urgency and it can grow stale.  Refer to previous sales/hustle metrics to determine the appropriate timeframe to accomplish your objectives.

Incentives

What will truly motivate your team to increase their performance?  Simply ask them!  By [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Eric Platte
Eric Platte

“After running plenty of sales contests that produced different results, the underlying factor that motivates everyone is free and simple: recognition.

For example, the 2013 Final Four was in Atlanta so we capitalized with a sales contest. The winning member received two tickets to the tournament, assorted gift cards, in addition to a trophy and picture that we sent to the NBA league office and our executive team. After the hundreds of dollars we spent on the prizes, the winner was most proud of the email we sent to the league and the executive team with his picture!”hawks_50t [/dropshadowbox]asking your sales team what incentives they desire most, you’re accomplishing two things:

First, and most obvious, you’re able to put together a list of incentives they desire.  Send out an email asking your team to present you with three items (under your set budget) that they would love to have.  Whether its cash, gift cards, concert tickets, autographed memorabilia, or other prizes, you’re sure to get authentic feedback.  (Best answer to date: C.R.E.A.M: Cash rules everything around me!)

Secondly, and just as important, you’re empowering your employees with the task of helping design their very own sales contest.  This leads to increased buy-in and appreciation from your team.  Further, you are presented with ideas you never would have thought of yourself.

Step 3: Review, Recap, Revise

What could have been done better?

  • Was the contest too long? Too short?
  • Was your sales team engaged? What could you have added to make it more engaging?
  • Did the original rules work throughout, or did you have to adjust them at some point? Why?
  • Did the incentives actually motivate your sales team, or were they simply a nice reward?
  • How close did you come to accomplishing your goals? Were the goals too easy? Too hard?

Analyzing Metrics

Simply put, did the contest accomplish your set objectives?  Compare your team’s performance during the contest against previous data to measure the true impact.  Record your results as they compare to historical metrics and save for future referral.

Finally, measure your team’s output over the weeks and months following your contest to gain additional insight into the contest’s level of effectiveness.

  • How much revenue was produced compared to last month?
  • How much revenue was produced compared to the same time in the selling cycle last year?
  • What percentage of sales was from the targeted inventory?
  • How does outbound call volume compare to the average call volume for the last week? Month?

Part 2: Managing the next generation of sellers

Part 2: Managing the next generation of sellers
by Murray Cohn – February 2013

Last month we began our discussion on how to manage the new generation (Gen-Y) of sellers. We now turn to some specific ideas I’ve gathered from managers on how they help motivate their young salespeople. Maybe offering the double-donut burger (above) as an incentive might work. Well, thankfully we have better ideas than that. I hope.

Create a management-in-training program

Many NBA teams such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington have created a program that allows sellers who achieve sales goals to receive hands-on management training. The programs provide opportunities to be the Manager-on-Duty  for game nights, night calls, or entry level sales staff.[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-bottom-right” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Jake Reynolds
Jake Reynolds

“Every person is motivated by different incentives. The key is to understand the motives of each one and then manage  toward reaching their specific goals. For some it’s money, some it’s responsibility, and others it’s career advancement. Superstars seem to value the mentoring and career advancement more than money.  By finding what drives our sellers, we can create platforms of additional responsibility and continued learning to develop skills beyond just their current roles.” [/dropshadowbox]

These programs have three key benefits:

  1. The recognition and achievement is a tremendous motivator for goal-directed top sellers.
  2. Teams develop a management bench.
  3. The training program allows some sellers to look behind the curtain to learn sales management is not for them, but selling and making money is.

Develop more tiers of advancement

Our survey clearly shows (see last month) promotions and advancement matters.  The Orlando Magic,  Sacramento Kings, New York Mets and others created tiers within their sales departments. New employees can advance from ticket sales representative, senior ticket sales rep, account executive, and senior account executive. Each level takes on more responsibility, rewards and higher sales goals.

Set Clear Expectations

From the first interview managers need to communicate a clear vision to the candidate of what is expected of them. I love what Dr. Bill Sutton and Dr. Dick Irwin create in their Sports Sales Combines to give candidates a real life experience of selling. On an academic level, schools like Baylor, Mt. Union and other universities partner with teams on class sales projects where students gain real experience making 100’s of calls just like they will in their first inside sales job.

Have candidates meet with your top sales people. It always sounds cool to candidates to work for their favorite teams. But spending a little time with your successful salespeople (during the interview as well as after hiring) will help them truly understand what’s expected and will allow you to hire better people and alleviate turnover.

Create shorter sales contests and incentives: Make it fun!

Stop setting an all or nothing bonus on the end-of-year result. Use time off as a potential prize.

The Minnesota Timberwolves set goals and incentives for five eight-game blocks. The Washington Wizards did a  fantastic weekly contest, with “minute-to-win-it” weekly competitions. How many do-nut holes can you get in your mouth?  That sets the rep’s winning prize amount.  The Columbus Blue Jackets do Tour De Columbus with a daily winner getting to wear the first place Yellow Jersey.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”curled” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Contests should:

  1. Be visual,
  2. Have a scoreboard, and
  3. Have the prizes sales reps want–not what the managers want.[/dropshadowbox]

Embrace technology

Many managers see reps abusing internet privileges and shut down usage. This is a mistake.

Set clear, acceptable usage rates such as 30 minutes of prospecting time per day on LinkedIn or Facebook.  Going to check fantasy football 20 plus times a day is not OK. These behaviors need to be monitored, not because you’re the internet police, but because these are symptoms or signs of poor motivation and future performance. You want to coach and motivate reps to focus and enjoy their work–and the work best enjoyed is work done efficiently and effectively.

[dropshadowbox align=”left” effect=”lifted-bottom-left” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Tim Salier
Tim Salier

“As we continue the transition to a new generation of sellers, embracing technology has been critical for the continued development of our sales and sales leadership staff. Over the last several years, our tracking metrics, key performance indicators and sales training modules have evolved to include and actually encourage the use of new technology such as LinkedIn, texting and Facebook. The key for SS&E has been to establish clarity in terms of prospecting and activity expectations while embracing alternative outreach methods. “[/dropshadowbox]

Expecting these new age reps to make 100 calls a day is also a mistake. Include things like texts and e-mails into an overall hustle board that includes points for face-to-face meetings, number of phone calls and talk time duration. You can assign point values based on what you feel will drive the greatest number of sales.

This generation is hi-tech and hi-touch. Provide your sellers with iPads and encourage more face-to-face, in-game and event selling using technology to show seats, make impactful presentations and close more deals.

What do you think?

Doing these things to engage this new generation of sellers will help energize your team, retain your rising stars and generate more sales. I’d like to hear about your challenges and your solutions to sales management in today’s environment. You may comment below or join our S3 Report group on LinkedIn and start a discussion!

Skip to toolbar