Why More Sales Reports Don’t Boost Sales Performance

The sales data that we need is right at our fingertips. 

Salespeople have an abundance of CRMs (Customer Relationship Management), BRMs (Business Relationship Management) and PRM (Partner Relationship Management) tools that they can rely on. CEOs and executives can even get a weekly overview of the performance and progress of each team through hundreds of metrics. 

When it’s time to generate annual reports, sales leaders review a thick file filled with numbers. The more data you have, the more control you possess over your sales force, right? 

Lack of control 

In Jason Jordan’s book titled, Cracking the Sales Management Code, he believes that having an overview of a sales team’s performance does not mean that you are in complete control. 

To explain, he shares what happened once he left his 18-month old daughter with a babysitter.

After he returned home, he was terrified at the sight of his daughter standing upright next to steep stairs. At the same time, the babysitter did nothing and calmly watched the situation unfold. 

The sitter assured him, 

“Don’t worry. I am right here. I can see everything she’s doing.”

He replied, 

“Watching my daughter fall to her death is not the same thing as preventing her from falling to her death.”

Likewise, an organization’s executives could watch sales numbers change though they are only mere spectators. 

They may be familiar with the accounts, but they’re not the ones assessing deals and meeting competitors. When they experience a sales decline, they may solve it by expanding their geographic reach and telling employees to “do more”. 

Without a manager’s input, they won’t understand why customers aren’t getting their products off the shelves. If the product is unique or complex, then reps may cite the need for brochures and videos they could show customers.

There are a lot of factors that the numbers don’t show so executives never really have complete control over their sales force. 

Tools not utilized to their fullest potential

Don’t get us wrong. There are advantages to having sales tools that can translate data. After all, executives need to know the rise and fall of profits, monitor money spent on performance and hours allocated for activities. 

…but the data doesn’t always show the full picture. 

Executives and team leaders need to communicate with managers to learn the situation on the ground. 

Again, there is so much data available though it doesn’t translate to more control. 

Despite the data’s limitations, companies ruthlessly invest millions on expensive software that boosts reporting capabilities. Some tools are bought for their user-friendly interface, others are considered for their automation or ability to generate sales reports.

However, organizations have fancy tools but their solutions are limited to the phrase, “Do more.” Their band-aid solution is to attract more customers, work more hours and get new hires. While there are so many metrics, the solutions are very basic. 

The bottom line is: tools are not utilized to their fullest potential.  

Do more ≠ better performance

There are a lot of ways you can improve the performance of sales teams. 

Smart teams analyze opportunities and allocate manpower based on the potential money generated from the account. In contrast, a few would be left to handle startups and smaller businesses. 

However, you won’t be able to formulate creative strategies when solutions are hinged on doing “more.”

According to Jason Jordan, organizations lack the ability to use sophisticated data to modify their strategies. With more numbers at their fingertips, they should have more options available. 

Hence, Jason Jordan writes, 

“We are missing the operating instructions for a sales force.”

How do you get more leads interested? What should be your next steps based on the annual sales report? Does X metric impact Y and Z? Metrics should function like levers and pulleys that managers and executives can modify to control outcomes. 

The problem is we were never taught how these numbers work. 

If we’re not reaching a sales target, then do we increase Share of Wallet? If we want to get more revenue, should we look towards existing or new customers? 

Management is limited to the “Do more” mantra. Everyone works hard, but no one works smart. 

Understand the metrics 

CRM gives organizations the power to get every data possible. However, it’s never utilized to its fullest potential. 

There are so many numbers. Yet, we can’t control outcomes. A good sales report should give executives a clear overview of their future direction and many still lack direction. 

As Jason Jordan says, we cracked the programming code before we cracked the sales management code.

This blog post was inspired by the book “Cracking the Sales Management Code” by Jason Jordan. We understand that sales managers and executives have a busy schedule so we’ve summarized his main in our mini e-book.

If you enjoyed the article and want to learn about how to make a successful business transformation, here’s the next step:
How to build a roadmap for business transformation in the sales industry

By Frie Pétré