The most effective sales managers know that when it comes to analyzing and improving their team’s performance, not all metrics are created equal. Some are best tracked as KPIs on a dashboard while others make more sense converted to targets so reps can see their progress throughout the month. In some cases, sales metrics translate best as contests, complete with prizes and bragging rights for the winners.

That’s why the newest update in Zoho Motivator gives managers the freedom to organize their most important KPIs, scorecards, and leaderboards in a single, easy-to-navigate dashboard. Additionally, managers can showcase KPI performance from two different time periods or individuals in a single view for quick comparison.

We’ve also relocated the navigation bar to the top of the screen. Now, sales managers have more space for sales data, as well as a streamlined snapshot of their organization in a single layout similar to the look and feel of Zoho CRM.

But these features only help if you’re putting them to use by tracking the right metrics. So with the mountain of data your sales team creates every single day, how do you decide which metrics to track and place in your dashboard? And more importantly, which metrics accurately reveal the health of your sales team and inspire positive change for the future?

Embrace activity-based selling.

Of course, results metrics like revenue, growth, and profit are important to every company, but they can’t be your only measuring stick. The reality is that improving those numbers requires a shift in focus toward daily sales activities that stimulate desired outcomes.

By implementing activity-based selling, modern sales leaders can impact future outcomes, motivating and focusing their reps on controllable and repeatable actions that when compounded day in and day out produce results.

Think of a struggling basketball team that wants to improve its ranking in the league. The team won’t start winning just by focusing on scoring more points. They have to practice shooting free throws and jump shots. They have to run sprints and lift weights. These are the actions that lead to success on the court. 

And while sales is not basketball, the same idea applies. Tracking results metrics and focusing on lagging indictators doesn’t stimulate growth. You have to look elsewhere, at the metrics that are in your control. You need to track leading indicators.

Leading versus lagging indicators.

Simply put, leading indicators are the cause and lagging indicators are the effect of your sales efforts. And while it’s still important to measure lagging indicators to get a quick synopsis of the health of your organization, they tell the story of what has already happened—not what you can do to improve moving forward.

For our basketball team, total points per game and whether it won or lost is the direct result of how well the players shot the basketball or how conditioned they were. The team doesn’t benefit if the coach tells his or her players they need to score more points after a loss. That can only be fixed during practice, by tracking and working to improve metrics like shooting percentage and time of possession.

In order for businesses to experience real growth, sales leaders need to track KPIs based on leading indicators, so they know what’s happening and how their team is performing at any moment. For example, if you want to increase your revenue for this quarter, motivate your salespeople to make more calls, qualify more leads, or set more meetings every day.

After defining these critical sales activities, you can easily track them using Zoho Motivator. Create a KPI for calls made or meetings held and put it in your dashboard for easy viewing. Then convert that KPI into a scorecard for a specific rep, or turn it into a contest to take advantage of your team’s inherent competitive spirit.

Organize and view all of these metrics in your dashboard, or add multiple tiles in a single KPI to compare performance across two people or time periods, simultaneously. 

Find the best methods for your sales team and start tracking. 

For sales teams and sales leaders venturing into activity-based selling for the first time, remember that, like your business, your sales process is unique. What works for one company won’t necessarily translate and work for yours, so assess your sales organization’s structure.

Start by looking at how many managers, salespeople, or territories you have. This can greatly influence which metrics you should track. Then pick a few metrics or KPIs you think are the most important for your organization and track them for the next quarter.

Another strategy is to utilize your existing sales team. Talk with your managers or top sales performers and ask them what activities they think are crucial to winning more sales, based on his or her previous successes and failures. In many cases, your biggest assets are on your sales team already so don’t hesitate to get their perspective.

And remember, if you’re tracking every metric or every piece of data, you’re not tracking anything. Start with three or four activities you think reps should focus on, make them KPIs or targets on your dashboard, and watch your sales numbers grow.