Run Your Sales Team More Like Your Manufacturing Line

by | Mar 20, 2021 | Sales & Marketing

If you had a manufacturing issue on your line, would you keep running it the same way? Chances are you would halt everything and fix the issue, right? So why aren’t you running your sales department the same way?

Measuring Is Key

When it comes to your manufacturing line, you measure everything from material to cycle time to throughput. You wouldn’t just measure the final product without looking at anything else, would you? So why are you only measuring your sales team by their final results?

By looking at The Big Three, you can determine the underlying cause of a salesperson’s underperformance. Why is it down? Are they getting enough at “bats?” Are they converting the opportunities they find? Are the opportunities big enough to hit their goals?

Do They Have Enough Opportunities?

Stop and think about the events or milestones in your sales process that you know typically leads to sales, such as discovery calls or meetings, new “qualified” opportunities, demonstrations (demos) of your product or service, site visits out to your company, etc. Pick one (or two) that you feel are the best leading indicators. This is often the most challenging part.

If a salesperson cannot generate enough opportunities, they will struggle to reach their goal.

Do You Know Their Close Rate?

Do you know your close rate? Is it accurate? Or are you just guessing? Many companies have a “gut feel” for what it is, and maybe that is where you need to start. In short, what percentage of the leading indicator that you picked before should convert into a closed deal? That is your close rate.

Now that you’ve defined how you will measure close rate, establish a goal for that as well. There is no universal standard. The goal is to start and improve the trend over time.

Even if the salesperson is very active and sees many opportunities, they must have the ability to move them through the pipeline and eventually close them.

What’s Your Average Deal/Account Size?

Are you tracking this today? Does your team know what it is? Average size does depend on your type of company; some companies may look at average order, sales opportunity (deal),  or project size.

However, other companies with recurring revenue models might look at average revenue per client, monthly recurring revenue, or yearly recurring revenue. In some cases, a company will look at how many units per order people have, or even gross profit per order or account.

Even if a salesperson finds enough opportunities and closes them at a decent rate, they will struggle to hit a target if all the deals or accounts are too small.

Now that you know those three numbers, you should see the areas that need to be improved.
Now That You know

You’ll want to sit down periodically, we recommend weekly or bi-weekly to review the salesperson’s leading indicators, make a plan, help define targets, track progress, and adjust quickly when you need to. Once you know your team’s Big Three, you’ll make sure your sales team is running as smoothly as your manufacturing line.

Mike Braun is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors: A sales execution firm dedicated to building the best sales organizations on the planet. Over the past 30 years, Mike has had the opportunity to provide hundreds of organizations with methods and strategies to achieve consistent sales growth.

Reach out to Mike Braun at (952) 226-3375 or