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Data: Your Key to Improvement

Posted by Scott Porter | May 4, 2018

Anyone that is serious about their progress, whether in their sales or personal life, knows that accountability is a necessary part of growth. In the sales world, accountability is built on principles of data-gathering and goal-setting. Data without goals is just numbers, and it doesn’t matter what it communicates because no actions or behaviors are changing.

On the other hand, blindly setting goals without having a clear view of one’s current performance is a waste of time. You can’t accurately set goals that will push you to your limits if you don’t know what those limits are based on your previous achievements and current situation.

We’ve built our service around the idea that everyone can reach their maximum potential, and self-analysis and adaptation are big parts of that. This article is intended to help you get started using your app to create significant self-improvement and see more success.

Start With the Basics

It all begins with effort— the best athletes are known for their obsessive work ethic, and sales is no different. It doesn’t matter how much you learn if you aren’t willing to get out of the car and put the time in.

So start measuring that effort. It’s easy. If you’re a door-to-door salesman, just start by tracking how many doors you knock per day. If you’re a field or B2B salesman, pick a different activity that receives most of your attention. You can focus on tracking demos or lead generation over a fixed time period.

Once you’ve got benchmark data on your performance, start looking for creative ways to increase productivity. It could be something as simple as jogging from door to door. You could start eating a better breakfast that naturally gives you more energy. You could also work on recognizing earlier on in the sales process how qualified your prospects are. That way, you can move on from people who are wasting your time, increase your number of conversations, and spend your effort with people who are genuinely interested.

Whatever approach you take, you should always be looking for ways to improve. That means you never stop measuring your performance, and you should never stop attentively searching for ways you can do more.

Start to Perfect the Process

Now that you’re working harder, you can start working smarter. Start using data collection to not only measure the amount of effort you’re putting in, but also the efficiency of that effort.

For example, it doesn’t matter how many doors you knock in an area if nobody is answering those doors. Too often, salespeople are concerned with simply working an area, but they can’t be efficient if they aren’t tracking their progress through that area.

Let’s say you spent the early afternoon knocking half of your area and had the majority of your doors go unanswered. Then, you started moving into the other half of the area during peak knocking time, and spoke with 75% of the homeowners there. If you or another rep were to return later to work that area, it would be a waste of time to spend peak knocking time on the same section both days. However, if you spend peak knocking time in the part of the area that originally had very few responses, you’ll have a greater return on your time.

But if you aren’t tracking the results of your efforts, you’re going to waste time on redundancies. This will slow your progress, no matter how hard you’re working.

This is just one example of how data collection turns you into a more efficient team. With the right information, you can start chasing the right deals with precision. For example, you could start cherry-picking areas that are more likely to have homeowners that fit your ideal buyer personas, thus raising the chances that they will purchase from you.

Master Your Craft

Now that you’re managing to get in front of as many of the right prospects as possible, you can use data to improve your skill at closing those prospects.

The best way to do this is to build a sales process. This may sound intimidating, but even tracking a simple process such as door > presentation > close will start to provide you the information you need to improve.

Say you and a friend are both working similar areas and are tracking your numbers for each step of that sales process. You might find that you have twice as many presentations as they do, but they have twice as many closes. What gives? Isn’t sales just a numbers game? That should mean that the number of closes you have is roughly proportional to the number of presentations you give, but this isn’t the case.

Since you’ve separated the process into separate steps, you’re now getting direct insight into your performance. You’ve obviously got to figure out how to be a better closer, and your friend needs to do a better job of getting into presentations.

If you’re tracking data on the same platform, you’ll be able to see each other’s performance. You can then reach out to your friend and learn from their ability to close while they learn from your ability to get in the door.

A team manager can also use this data to evaluate trends across his team. Maybe the entire team is struggling to get sales. Since he’s done his homework and collected accurate data, that manager will know that it’s because they all struggle at closing. He can solve the problem by directing training efforts towards that problem. A manager that wasn’t collecting data could assume the wrong problem and waste effort on trying to fix a non-issue.

Always Look for Opportunity

Of course, these are just general suggestions. Every company, team, and rep are unique, but everyone can benefit from collecting data on as many different traction points as possible. Start with the basics we’ve outlined here, but then you should constantly search for new, better ways to refine and expand your data library, whether you’re an executive, manager, or rep. Developing that habit is the fastest path to solid, continual improvement.

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