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Upon a Closer Look at the Numbers…

December 7, 2010












I am a statistics geek.

I have no idea how I became one, and it certainly would be a total shock to ANY of my high school math teachers.


Someone very early on in my sales career shared with me an important insight that has always stuck with me.


“If I can’t measure it, I can’t improve it, because I don’t know what “IT” is…”


That actually makes a lot of sense if you stop and think about it.  As a sales professional, if you’re not trying to get better every single day, you’re simply living and existing for the next deal, the next commission check, the next comp plan, and the next stop on your sales career.  Self-improvement and pushing to get better at what you do really is the litmus test that separates the lazy from the lofty, the satisfied from the hungry, and the extinct from the evolved.


I had a change to have an in depth sit down with the President of my company.  As he’s always operated from a biz dev point of view, he’s been an active part of our sales and development process while guiding strategy and vision from the top of the organization.  One of the things I really dig about him is his willingness (actually his persistent urging!) to be involved on sales calls – even the really minor trivial ones.


Being newer to the company, this was really my first chance to sit down and spend some time in-depth discussing our sales model, sales process, and barriers and challenges we’re currently facing.  He asked my the typical questions you’d expect, but then he threw some questions at me that I should have seen coming:

What’s your win percentage?  Average deal size?  Average closing time?

I’ve spent so much time so deeply immersed in deals, follow up, solution creation, and a separate project developing a new revenue stream for the company that I’ve forgotten some things that I know better than to forget.


Over that weekend I pulled all the Salesforce reports I could grab, and I figured out that this year is really the story of (2) years – Jan through June and then July to current.  This is my first year in my position, and while I came to the job with lots of experience and a pretty diverse background, online media and advertising was brand new.  The ramp up took some time, and account development is never easy from a cold start.


By crunching the numbers, I found that my activity was not being focused in the right areas:

  • While my account base breaks down into As, Bs, and Cs (you can guess the conventions as to the probable rationale), I was spending a disproportional amount of time with Bs and Cs, and not riding the As hard enough.
  • My average deal size was much increased from first half to second half of 2010.
  • My win rate was 12% higher in the 2nd half of the year – through natural selection I learned over time which prospects were worth pursuing, and which were best to “punt”.


My personal takeaways:

  • In order to make the numbers I want to make – I need to pitch 13-14 deals per month at my average deal size in order to build a pipeline sufficient to close the amount of revenue I need on a monthly/quarterly basis.
  • I need to also connect with no less than 8 clients per week, and four of those meetings should be centered around a new opportunity (brand new business, new winback business, or renewing a campaign that’s getting ready to wrap).

I also went back and applies these findings against what actually happened in October and November.  Somehow I was completely exactly on track for those months, but July August and September were nowhere close.  Given our time to close, I now know exactly when to expect the positive results that these efforts will yield.


It’s all so simple, and yet we often to apply these principles to our day-in/day-out workflow.  In many sales environments metrics and activity goals are closely monitored and managed.  I would content that those goals are usually good enough to make you profitable in the company’s eyes, but only you the individual have the complete control to surpass those metrics and hit higher targets.

  1. December 7, 2010 8:31 am

    THAT IS AWESOME!! Everyone on my team is getting this email and hardcopy!

    Without the ability to help improve yourself personally and professionally how can you get to the next level in anything you do.

    Thanks Brian!

  2. December 7, 2010 9:39 am

    Much appreciated Joe. Thanks again!

  3. December 16, 2010 8:50 am

    so here I am 2 months into a sales management position (new to me), I left my old sales manager a voicemail last week asking, “How the HELL did you put up with me?, because I would be driving me nuts!”

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