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Measure What Matters In Sales

Sep 12, 2022

What measures are important to achieve sales success?

Have you ever heard the saying, "What gets measured is what gets done?" There is a lot of truth to that saying.

Spoiler Alert: There are 3 sets of measures that are critical to sales success:

  1. Matching sales candidates to the sales effort
  2. Growing and empowering salespeople
  3. Sales efforts and results

Hiring right and equipping for sales success

Let's start with numbers 1 & 2 above. It may seem strange to start with matching sales candidates to the sales position, but with the available assessments today, hiring right is a huge step in the right direction to getting increases sales success. The one thing you can measure and have the greatest predictability of success...EQ. EQ is 2-4x more predictive of success than IQ.

Having used the tools of psychology in business for more than 30 years, I still found something important missing. Personality (which is what most sales assessments are based on) is not a primary predictor of success. I wanted something that could measure how someone was connecting and building trust to increase their influence and close more sales. I looked everywhere...this assessment simply did not exist. SO...I created it myself. But not just from my opinions. I studied 30 top sales trainers and gurus around the world. From that came the "Success Factors" built into the sales assessment I created, the EQFIT® Sales Profile. A real time measure of how someone is "showing up" to influence others. How does it work...more on that in my next blog post. This sales profile is based on the highly validated and most widely utilized EQ assessment in the world, the SEI assessment from Six Seconds. Here is a quick look at a sample report:

Just by looking at this, you can probably see a number of ways to use this information to benefit the sales effort. Again, more on this in my next blog. Just a closing thought on hiring and developing salespeople...and right in line with what we are focused on today. Salespeople need clear expectations and measures to produce their best results. This is just as important in equipping salespeople to be successful as in measuring the success of their sales effort. Now to number 3 on the list...


I was on the front end of a consulting engagement with an organization where sales success was minimal. They had invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into sales training, a new CRM, and marketing. The results...the same as before all of this investment. As I was asking questions of the sales team and leaders in the organization (in individual interviews), I asked, "What measures do you use to see if you are successful in your efforts?" These are the responses I received:

  • "We measure dollars received from a client." (Sales Manager)
  • "We measure profit." (CEO/Owner)
  • "We measure conversion ratio from lead to sale." (Top Salesperson)
  • "We measure how many emails go out to prospects." (Below Average Sales Performer)
  • "We measure how many prospects in our pipeline." (Average Sales Performer)

Let me ask you...what is the problem here? If you are like me, I am thinking that nobody has the same measure. That means that there is no alignment on what measures are important. It has been left up to the individual to decide what is important. How can you achieve a strategic goal this way? You can't.

Measures need to be consistent and based on what is truly important.

Even if the measures used are not exactly right, if they are consistent and the primary focus by all stakeholders, you have a better chance to achieve success. Taking the time to think through what good measures are is important, and the first step in increasing sales performance.

Good measures and metrics should have the following elements:

  1. They must be truly important to achieve the desired expectations.
  2. They must be absolutely clear to all parties.
  3. They must be achievable (but not too easy to achieve, having some stretch built in is good).
  4. People must understand what the measure is, what it means, and how to reach it.
  5. People must be equipped, trained, and supported to accomplish the measures and metrics.
  6. The measures and metrics should be accessible to everyone who is responsible to achieve them (visual management).

There may be other things you would add to this list, but this is a good place to start.

Measures need to be set in the right time frame.

Notice that most of the answers I received from my client's team members were lag indicators (looking backwards). These can be important measures, but can't be changed. Some examples:

  • Annual or quarterly sales numbers
  • This year's sales compared to last year's sales
  • Profit numbers

"The right activity will lead to the right productivity." Steve Goodner

 There I go quoting myself again. I am sure I developed this out of several sales gurus I have studied over the years. In my experience, this statement has proven true far more often than not. The key is the word "right"!

Story (next chapter)

Back to our story. After working with this client through a discovery process, I was able to present a report to them on how to increase sales. It started with a simple breakdown of what it currently took to make a sale. The numbers below are averages across the entire sales team.

  • 3 leads to get a successful phone call
  • 3 phone calls to get an appointment
  • 11.5 appointments to get a sale
  • Average sale $57,000

This began an objective discussion on which of these activities could be enhanced to gain better sales results. This also became the foundation to set expectations with the salespeople. The next steps became an alignment of what is important to measure, clearly communicating expectations to everyone, and even an incentive process to drive the "right" activities.

Important note: The first 3 numbers above are lead indicators (measures that can be adjusted moving forward). If we only focus on lag indicators, we are always behind when it comes to changing behavior and performance.

Connecting the dots.

If we determine the most important measures for sales success...the measures that really matter, we can then create a culture of accountability where people can achieve their best results. To do this, we need to consider:

  • What are important measures for hiring the right salespeople.
  • What measures can we use as developmental goals for salespeople.
  • What measures are the most important to achieve sales success.

 For more on the EQFIT® Sales Profile and approach, check these out: (ask me if you have any questions about which links to use below)

Use ESP for Sales Success podcast

ALL NEW EQFIT® Smart Selling Course

Free download on Hot Cognition in Sales

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