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Leaders cannot manage what they don’t measure. Therefore sales metrics and sales management are interconnected. For this reasons, it is imperative that sales managers and leaders clearly understand the metrics that matter.


Sales Activities are the most highly manageable of the three categories of metrics, while Sales Objectives are indirectly manageable, and Business Results are highly unmanageable without the management of Sales Activities and Sales Objectives.

Research reveals that Sales Activities fall into one of five sales processes:

  • Call Management
  • Opportunity Management
  • Account Management
  • Territory Management
  • Sales Force Enablement

Call Management Process

The Call Management process is intended to help salespeople plan for specific customer interactions, whether face-to-face or by phone. Call Management can assist salespeople in planning their desired call outcomes, questions they might ask, objections they might expect, products they might propose, etc.

Sample Call Management metrics include:

  1. % of Reps Complying with the Process
  2. % of Successful Call Outcomes

Opportunity Management Process

If we string together a series of calls in pursuit of a single sale, then you have an opportunity. An Opportunity Management process helps salespeople plan and execute thoughtful approaches to long, complex sales. Often confused with pipeline management, this process is not an analytic exercise to pinpoint failures in a collection of ongoing opportunities; it is an assessment and planning effort to deliberately win an individual sales pursuit.

Sample Opportunity Management metrics include:

  1. % of Reps Complying with the Process
  2. % of Reps Using Supporting Tools
  3. % of Objectives Met

Account Management Process

If there are multiple opportunities over time with a single customer, then we have an account. An Account Management process helps a salesperson assess their position within a key customer and coordinate among internal and external resources to grow the long-term value of that account.

Sample Account Management metrics include:

  1. % of Reps Complying with the Process
  2. % of Reps Using Supporting Tools
  3. % of Objectives Met

Territory Management Process

If a salesperson is assigned a group of accounts or prospects, then they have a territory. Note that a territory does not necessarily have to be geographically defined. A salesperson could be assigned accounts that are chosen in many ways (industry, customer segment, etc.). Regardless, a Territory Management process helps salespeople and their managers decide how to allocate their time across a large group of customers.

Sample Territory Management metrics include:

  1. # of Accounts per Rep
  2. % Prospects vs. Active Customers

Sales Force Enablement Process

Finally, there is a Sales Force Enablement process. This process has the largest scope of all the processes and is very diverse by nature. Sales enablement activities include recruiting, selecting, training, motivating, coaching, rewarding, and providing tools that enable the sales force’s performance. This process is typically shared across several people and departments, including sales, HR, and finance.

Sample Sales Force Enablement metrics include:

  1. % of Time Spent Coaching
  2. Hour of Training per Full-Time Employee
  3. $ on IT Systems per Full-Time Employee
  4. Span of Control

So Which Sales Processes Do You Need?

Now that we have five crisply defined processes and the associated metrics, how do you know which processes you should implement? It is important to remember that not every sales process is applicable to every sales force.

We first suspected that company demographics should inform which processes are important for a particular sales force. For instance, if a company’s profits are highly concentrated in a handful of accounts, then that company must need account management processes.

However, we concluded that sales processes should never be selected at a company-wide level. The need for a specific sales process is determined by the nature of each distinctive selling role. That is, companies don’t need Account Management processes – only those salespeople who manage accounts need them.

Sales process selection is, therefore, not a decision to be made by examining the enterprise; it is a decision best made by examining the role. Below we provide rule-of-thumb guidelines for when a particular process is appropriate for a particular selling role.

Call Management processes when:

The salesperson has a low to moderate volume of highly varied customer interactions

Opportunity Management processes when:

The salesperson is targeting customers with complex buying processes (numerous buying stages and/or multiple buyers with different buying needs)

Account Management processes when:

The salesperson is pursuing opportunities over time with the same customer
There is an economic justification for the added layer of effort

Territory Management processes when:

The salesperson makes proactive customer contact and cannot service all potential customers.

The salesperson or manager needs to prioritize the selling effort and allocate it across different types of customers

Sales Force Enablement processes when:

The manager has authority to influence or direct decisions in the hiring, training, measuring, coaching, motivating, rewarding, and enabling of the sales force

Note that it is not the title of the role that indicates which processes are important. For example, just because a salesperson has the title “Sales Manger” does not mean that they require a Sales Management process. Nor does a salesperson whose business card reads “Account Manager” necessarily require an Account Management process. You must examine the nature of their selling activities to determine which processes are applicable, or even critical, to the execution, measurement, and management of that selling role.


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About the author

Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan is a partner of Vantage Point Performance, the leading sales management training…

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