Pipeline conversion, target achievement, and forecast accuracy are common measures. The issue is that these are outcomes that have already occurred. Imagine driving a car by looking through your rear-view mirror. Not a great way to get where you want to go.
In the 80s and 90s, “analytics” meant reading a few financial graphs every month. Just under a decade ago, the marketing department introduced metrics to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Only recently did today’s culture of measurement truly enter the sales organization and quickly begin to dominate the modern sales organization.
But here’s the challenge with metrics such as CRM adoption and sales quota attainment — they’re lagging indicators, and therefore provide little to no ability to change behavior.
Thinking of Predictive Analytics as Verifiable Outcomes
It’s time to turn on the headlights with predictive analytics and drive the car with your eyes set on the road ahead of you. At Richardson Sales Performance, we call this critical set of analytics verifiable outcomes: those few tangible indicators that give sales leaders insight into the accuracy and quality of their teams’ forecasts.
The key idea: We can measure specific sales behaviors and correlate them to specific deals in the sales pipeline.
The key principle: What can be measured can be changed. By changing sales behaviors, we can change outcomes. And as a result, we can predict the direction of our sales.
Successful sales leaders use verifiable outcomes to track and strategically change sales behaviors. They achieve lasting and desired outcomes.
Four characteristics of a verifiable outcome
While each company has unique indicators embedded in the way it does business each day, best-in-class indicators across multiple industries meet four common criteria:
- They are leading, not lagging.
- They can be verified with documented or anecdotal evidence.
- They improve confidence that opportunities in the pipeline are winnable.
- They accurately capture customer reaction.
Of course, the sales shoe is not one-size-fits-all.